In 2011, Arup was hired to conduct an integrated energy assessment of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in West Los Angeles, CA. The goal of this project was to help the VA meet strict federal energy reduction mandates by identifying opportunities for energy and water conservation. We were further tasked with developing energy models for the VA’s existing facilities to forecast energy savings.
Arup’s energy assessment report covered three basic types of energy efficiency measures: retro-commissioning, capital measures, and demand response. To help paint a more complete picture of the VA Hospital’s current operations and energy use, we pulled together divergent sources of existing information.
The recommendations we presented were broad in scope and designed to help the VA meet its short and long term needs. The retro-commissioning measures identified included everything from daylight harvesting, to installing occupancy sensors, to improving building management strategies by optimising zone temperature settings, hot and chilled water resets, cooling tower fan controls, and chiller settings. Comparatively low cost and easy to implement, the recommended retro-commissioning measures provided a cost-effective way for the VA to achieve quick reductions in energy use.
The energy audit was completed in December 2012.
In contrast to retro-commissioning, capital measures require a significant initial investment of time and money, but they deliver far bigger payoffs in the long run. Examples of the type of capital measures recommended to the VA include lighting upgrades, chiller replacements, conversion of air handlers from constant volume to variable volume, and pumping system upgrades.
The demand response measures identified by Arup are related to the retro-commissioning measures in that they rely on operational changes to deliver peak electrical load reductions. The primary difference is that demand response measures are concerned with reducing energy use specifically during utility peak demand periods, such as emergency events. Arup has also identified several maintenance issues that require attention, developed a strategic approach for their in-house data centre, and made suggestions for improving operational practices to ensure the persistence of energy savings.
Arup created computer energy models to help the VA forecast the savings impacts of on-going projects and to project the potential costs and benefits of implementing future energy measures.