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Case study: Award-winning engineering for Chicago office towers

Iconic Chicago offices - The Franklin - cuts annual energy use by 3 million kWh

Award-winning Panoramic Power project identified energy saving opportunities in the 2.5m sq. ft. complex - with fault fixing cutting its annual energy bill by 7%, and ROI of just six months.

Million kilowatts of annual energy savings
Energy savings
Months payback on original investment

Using Panoramic Power sensors and communication bridges, Sieben Energy Associates discovered The Franklin was unnecessarily heating the property during unoccupied hours, while year-round heating tendencies led to simultaneous heating and cooling in the summer.

Delivering monitoring-based energy efficiency

The Franklin’s management and engineering team was searching for new ways to uncover energy efficiency opportunities. Critical areas included heating energy at the property’s hundreds of fan-powered boxes, scattered throughout its tenant-occupied floors.

Establishing energy monitoring dashboards

Developed in two phases in 1989 and 1992, The Franklin is a 2.48 million square foot, two-building, multi-tenant office property and home to some of Chicago’s most prestigious businesses.

When building owner, Tishman Speyer, engaged Sieben Energy Associates to perform monitoring-based commissioning services, the property’s annual energy use exceeded 40 million kWh.

After establishing HVAC data integration protocols, The Franklin’s engineering personnel were alerted to operating anomalies that could lead to excessive wasted energy. The Centrica Business Solutions PowerRadar mobile application enabled the site engineering team to view the same daily and weekly performance data available to Sieben Energy Associates.

Panoramic Power sensors and communication bridges monitor power draw to the property’s fan-powered boxes from 98 electric panels. PowerRadar revealed that the majority of tenant floors consume electricity during unoccupied hours and that nighttime setback controls were keeping the floors at unnecessarily warm temperatures at night.

It was also revealed that heating was operating throughout the year resulting in simultaneous heating and cooling during summer months.

The Results

Sieben Energy Associates used PowerRadar data to correct these operational problems and reduce annual energy use by more than 3 million kWh, or more than 7% of the property’s historical annual energy consumption. The projected energy cost savings enable the property to recover its investment in Panoramic Power devices and repairs in less than six months.

The project was awarded an Excellence in Engineering award from the ASHRAE Illinois Chapter and earned Energy Performance in a Single Site honors from the U.S. DOE Smart Energy Analytics Campaign.

System description

• Monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx)
• Leverages “big data” to reduce operating costs

System size

• Base building energy use of 40 million kWh

System production

• 3 million kWh annually saved

Environmental benefits

• Reduce annual energy use by more than 3 million kWh
• Saving more than 7% of the property’s historical annual energy consumption