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Washington Department of Ecology Reduces Carbon Footprint

The Washington State Department of Ecology is an environmental agency focused on protecting and preserving the beautiful state of Washington. So naturally, they are concerned with reducing their impact on the environment.

Facility Manager Steve Fry said reducing the agency’s carbon footprint was the major driver for implementing Events2HVAC to integrate their EMS scheduling system with their lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

“We’re the environmental agency for the state of Washington, so we’re trying to lead by example, Fry said. “Education and leadership is what we’re all about, rather than enforcement and the big stick kind of thing. So what we’re trying to do is lower our carbon footprint. We’re trying to increase our efficiency, and of course lower our costs.”

McKinstry is managing the project and monitoring energy efficiency at the Department of Ecology. Lighting Project Coordinator Benjamin Woodhouse said they expect to save 30,290 kWh of electricity and 64 Therms (a measurement of natural gas) per year with Events2HVAC.

“To date, we’ve done post installation commissioning and expect to be on track to meet these savings,” Woodhouse said.

Events2HVAC is currently automating HVAC and lighting based on room schedules in 46 conference rooms at the Department of Ecology in Lacey, WA. The department is using EMS Software to schedule meetings and an Alerton BACTalk system for HVAC controls.

In addition to implementing Events2HVAC to control the conference rooms, the department has integrated their card access system with their BACTalk system to automatically control lighting and HVAC in offices and other parts of the building.

“What we’ve done is we’ve integrated our card access system with our building HVAC and our lighting control systems,” Fry said. “So when our systems come on in the morning, they come on to a standby level – let’s say lights off and temperature less than occupied. When that first person comes into a zone, then that zone brings the temperature up to occupied and turns the lights on. With a couple hundred zones in this building, that gets to be a significant savings, especially since we have a lot of people that are in the field so we may have a zone that is dead all day.”

The diagram below shows how Events2HVAC fits into the Department of Ecology’s overall building automation and energy efficiency effort.

Before implementing Events2HVAC and completing the rest of the building automation project, the lights and HVAC systems in the Department of Ecology building were on all day, regardless of whether or not anyone was actually working in a particular conference room or zone.

“We were running the whole building all the time,” Fry said. “So it’s amazing that we’re being able to take advantage of energy savings now that we just didn’t have the manpower to do before.”

Streamside Solutions installed Events2HVAC at the Washington State Department of Ecology. Fry said he was impressed that the installation went so smoothly, and that the software is running smoothly too.

“One of the nicest things is that it [Events2HVAC] just kind of sits there and ticks away and does its thing,” Fry said. “It tells us when there is a problem, we get an email, and it seems to correct itself a lot too. When we look at systems we want to implement, we always look at we don’t have a lot of labor or people to operate things so we like things to be self-sustainable.”

Fry added, “The only time we see anything that needs to be done is if you’re going to add a room or take a room off. That’s the beauty of this thing for us, it takes no staff time.”

Next steps for the Department of Ecology might be to consider adding a demand response or load shedding system. But Fry said, “The problem we have with doing demand response or other demand load shedding is that although there is a lot of money to be saved, there’s no energy to be saved, necessarily.”

So, for now, the department will focus on working with their new systems and continue to look for new opportunities to lead the way toward the elusive zero carbon footprint.


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