Consumers Energy Retro-Commissioniong Facility IQ Program
Beginning 2009, Consumers Energy (CE) in Michigan created a pilot program to help customers save energy and dollars in their existing buildings. The pilot program was used to determine the feasibility and cost effectiveness of a larger scale existing building commissioning effort in the Consumers Energy–Michigan service territory. The pilot program was successful, was renamed the Smart Building IQ Program, and now, eleven years later, is still offered as the Consumers Energy Retro-Commissioning Facility IQ Program.
The Retro-Commissioning Facility IQ Program is an incentive to the customer and is fully funded by the Consumers Energy Business Energy Efficiency Program for sites approved to participate. The program specifically is designed to help building owners identify low/no cost facility improvement measures (FIMs) and implement the FIMs that have a simple payback of 18 months or less. The goal is to improve the efficiency of major energy-using systems and reduce energy costs without adversely affecting facility or system operations.
Munson Medical Center: An Early and Long-Term Participant
An early participant in the program was Munson Medical Center (MMC) in Traverse City, MI, part of the Munson Healthcare System. Munson Healthcare (MH) is northern Michigan’s largest and leading healthcare system and is based in Traverse City. Its team of medical experts, nine award-winning community hospitals, and related organizations serve people in 30 counties.
Success Through Program Participation and Personnel Engagement
In 2009, Munson Medical Center initiated its involvement with the CE pilot program. At that time the facility was approximately 1 million square feet in size. What makes MMC and its participation in the Consumers Energy’s Program worthy of note is how the people of MMC embraced the program and internalized lessons learned. MMC has both an internal engineering department and a building operations department. Among other functions, the engineering department provides services for retrofit design of existing mechanical/ electrical systems in the hospital. The operations department’s functions include operating the facilities on the campus of MMC and managing the consumption of energy for the campus.
Grumman/Butkus Associates (G/BA), engineering consultant working with the Consumers Energy’s pilot program, was asked to conduct functional performance testing of selected HVAC systems of Munson Medical Center to assist in identifying FIMs. Additionally, the testing effort was intended to assist in training MMC operations personnel in conducting/ implementing and creating their own internal retro-commissioning program.
The results have been very impressive. Designs of the engineering department now routinely include energy measures identified as part of the pilot program. With ongoing discipline, the operations personnel continue to apply downward pressure on campus energy consumption.
To illustrate the tremendous efforts and success of MMC, the energy utilization index (EUI) for the hospital in 2009 was 241.5 kBtu (site energy). In 2019 the EUI was 201.1 kBtu: a 16.73% total energy consumption rate reduction from 2009, the year when MMC, CE, and G/BA participated in the original Consumers Energy pilot program. During the past decade, MMC has continued its diligence and has been able to save a cumulative $3.3 million dollars on energy while still increasing the size of the facility by 17% with a 170,000-square-foot hospital addition. There has been a 25.5% reduction in the rate of annual electrical consumption vs. 2009 and a 9% reduction in the rate of fossil fuel consumption vs. 2009.
Tom Beatty, P.E., Munson’s in-house engineer, says, “Consumers Energy and G/BA have definitely been a partner in our energy saving effort. They have been there every step of the way to provide both technical suggestions and, of course, incentive dollars.”
Ed Belanger, Munson’s Director of Facilities and Plant Operations, adds, “Consumers Energy and G/BA have been great partners with us in our retro-commissioning program at Munson Medical Center. The program was our first significant attempt at energy saving measures and began back in 2009. We have been very fortunate to have the backing of our engineering and administrative teams to keep the program alive year after year. Our success has been directly related to all the teams involved since 2009. Most recently, Consumers Energy funded the engineering review to obtain our ENERGY STAR certification. Between 2009 and 2020, we went from an initial ENERGY STAR rating of 34 to an ENERGY STAR rating of 81.”
The efficient use of energy has become business as usual for MMC. Building on this success, Munson Healthcare has continued in the Consumers Energy Retro-Commissioning Program, applying the program to six additional hospitals over the years.
Beatty adds, “Two members of the Munson team that deserve special recognition are our former VP of Facilities Steve Tongue, and Roger Roskamp, our BMS Engineer. Steve started our energy saving plan in 2009 by asking me to do an energy study of the facility. Using the study, he convinced our administration to provide $300,000 a year to fund energy savings projects. He also followed up with an annual progress report highlighting the success of our program.
“Roger Roskamp has been instrumental in maintaining the energy savings after projects are complete. If there is a conflict between energy savings and comfort, he works to maintain the most energy savings while also keeping our staff and patients comfortable.”
Consumers Energy RCx Program Coordinator: John E. Nametz (877-607-0737, ext. 1915)
Munson Medical Center Engineer and Program Implementation Manager: Tom Beatty, P.E.
G/BA Principal to Consumers Energy: Jeffrey Conner, P.E. (414-476-8980)