When the owners of One Commerce Square purchased the building, they sought to increase the value of the asset by increasing occupancy. To this end, it was necessary to differentiate One Commerce Square from other buildings in the downtown area, while overcoming challenges that included aging infrastructure and under-maintained systems.
Setting their sights on LEED certification as one way to set One Commerce Square apart, the building owners realized they needed to find partners with expertise that were aligned with their corporate commitment to "doing the right thing" for the asset, client and the Memphis community. Due to lack of vendor support in obtaining design sequence and system component documentation required for the LEED commissioning pre-requisite, the property manager contacted Trane for assistance. By overlaying a Trane Tracer™ SC building automation system (BAS) on the existing third-party controls, Trane was able to develop the required documentation. Trane worked closely with LRK architects, the LEED agent on the project, to realize extensive operational efficiencies revealed during commissioning. "We considered the commissioning as an opportunity to do the right thing for the asset, not just a LEED pre-requisite," said Dan Chancey, vice president, Cushman & Wakefield/ Commercial Advisors. "We didn't know where we were when we started this process. The equipment was working, but the system components weren't necessarily working together."
Implementing new optimization strategies
Trane® Air-Fi™ wireless technology was used to connect the BAS, controllers and sensors. The wireless system provides modular flexibility to expand or reconfigure floor plans to accommodate new tenants. When verification completed during the controls system installation revealed opportunities to improve operations, Trane leveraged its corporate and local technical resources to implement a series of new optimization strategies that allowed the building to automatically adjust itself, based on several factors that impacted load.
Embracing controls system technologies
Trane worked closely with building staff to ensure the Tracer™ SC BAS would complement their daily operations. The building engineers embraced the new technologies, learning system capabilities and staying on top of daily tasks using the convenience of a tablet or phone to easily access systems to establish scheduling, change set points and manage alarms. "System training encouraged my guys to work outside the box," said Chancey. "We realized that it was ok to tweak things, but then stay the course and let the systems work.”
Stabilizing operations and gaining peace of mind
Trane suggested using its R'newal™ Service to replace worn parts and materials on the 40+ year old Trane® CenTraVac™ chiller, bringing the unit to its original level of performance, without incurring the cost of a new chiller. Backed by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty, R’newal Service helps reduce risk and provides peace of mind for the property manager, tenants, and owners. The chiller was also upgraded with Tracer AdaptiView™ chiller controls, allowing operators to use a touch-screen display to control functions, and gain insight into operating patterns, energy use, and system performance.
One Commerce Square was awarded a LEED Gold Certification, differentiating it as the largest space in downtown Memphis to receive this designation. Embracing the technology of a Trane® Tracer™ SC BAS, the property management team immersed itself in efficiency improvement strategies, using reports to increase visibility of operations, and empowering staff to help optimize building performance. The result is an increased asset value, more stable building operations, and a more predictive financial performance.
Utility costs are 22 percent below previous year, when building occupancy was at 35 percent. Now with building occupancy at 60 percent and projected utility costs being much higher, the management team, with help from the Trane partnership, is producing utility costs 43 percent below projected spend prior to the partnership with Trane. The result is an annual energy savings of approximately $640,000. Time spent on tasks, such as scheduling and troubleshooting, has been reduced by over 85 percent and hot/cold complaints have been reduced by 66 percent, giving staff more time to focus on other tenant needs.
"What really made the difference were the people involved. So many people won't take the extra step. Trane was willing to do that," said Chancey. "Our culture is to think differently, to collaborate, strive for excellence, work hard and work smart. We all needed to be in lock step to do the right thing."