Commercial Facilities Services

Challenge

The outside and common areas of the two Corporate Plaza office buildings, managed by Commercial Facilities Services, had been recently remodeled and mechanical systems had been replaced. With utility costs continuing to run high, the property manager sought to further improve the facilities’ energy efficiency. As the company looked for solutions, they zeroed in on the buildings’ aging controls systems. Nearly fifteen years old, the systems were cumbersome to operate, did not allow the facilities team to setup scheduling for the sometimes inconsistent working hours of building tenants, and required a hands-on, on-site building manager to operate.

“Energy efficiency is a priority for us,” said Chris Lane, Commercial Facilities Services. “When we began managing the buildings, we projected future energy use based on historical utility bills, but the utility costs were coming in higher than projected. We knew the antiquated controls systems were an issue.”

Solution

Commercial Facilities Services contacted Trane, their trusted advisor for several years, to discuss the high energy costs and control system issues. The Trane account team and controls specialists reviewed utility bills, analyzed the raw energy data, and conducted an energy survey before providing a proposal to replace the controls system in each building with a Trane® Tracer® SC building automation system (BAS). 

The Trane solution took into account the firm’s objectives of saving energy, streamlining operations and accommodating the scheduling needs of tenants who worked regular hours, those with 24-hour comfort needs, and the occasional occurrence of a special event. The Trane proposal provided data, which showed less than one year ROI for the new Tracer SC. After reviewing the data, Commercial Facilities Services moved forward, working with Trane to implement the new BAS.

Reducing costs, providing flexibility and comfort

The Tracer® SC BAS provides Commercial Facilities Services with control over comfort and energy efficiency of the Oklahoma City office buildings. Facility managers use the BAS to meet tenant scheduling requirements, monitor system operations, establish setpoints, control humidity levels and ensure optimal building operations, helping to improve efficiency, increase comfort and reduce energy costs. Accessible from most PCs, tablets, and smart phones, the web-based Tracer SC BAS allows building operators the convenience and flexibility to control building systems when offsite, and eliminates the need for a dedicated computer and onsite building manager.

After installing the Tracer SC, Trane provided training sessions for Commercial Facilities Services staff, which included an overview of the BAS and its operation. The property manager also relies on Trane for guidance in using the BAS to maximize facility performance, and assistance in handling special circumstances and requests.

“Sometimes a tenant has the need to work late or start early in the morning, or there might be a special event held on a Saturday,” said Lane. “Trane can dial-in to help us meet our tenant’s needs. Using the Tracer SC, they can crank things up early when needed, or isolate a floor or certain area for cooling at a specific time to keep occupants comfortable. That was hard for us to do before.”

Results

Replacing antiquated controls systems with Trane Tracer SC building automation systems at two of its office buildings has enabled Commercial Facilities Services to reduce energy and operational costs, and accommodate the comfort needs of its tenants. Proper scheduling with flexibility and operational efficiencies is helping to extend equipment life and reduce costs. Use of the new BAS has resulted in a reduction in energy costs between $14K and $16K each quarter. The investment is on track to provide a ROI of less than one year.

“More precise control translates into comfort and cost savings,” said Lane. “We are tracking our energy costs and are seeing the savings continuing each quarter. We have fewer hot/cold complaints. Plus, we no longer have to have someone onsite to monitor and run our building systems, which is helping to reduce operational costs.”

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Project Highlights

Challenge

  • Antiquated controls systems
  • High energy costs
  • Cumbersome controls operation

 Solution

  • Tracer SC BAS

Results

  • Energy savings of $14K—$16K a quarter
  • Flexible scheduling to accommodate tenants’ comfort needs
  • Operational efficiencies
  • ROI of less than one year