Nexant/ComEd and ASHRAE Illinois Honor GBA projects


Characteristics of the winning projects included significant energy savings, lower operating costs, positive environmental impact, and satisfying difficult environmental stipulations.

G/BA received the Tune-Up Award for 2019 from Nexant/ComEd, honoring our work at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute in Hinsdale, IL. The award recognizes the project with the largest retro-commissioning energy savings for the year. Verified annual energy savings were 470,559 kWh and 15,160 therms after implementation of all recommended Energy Conservation Measures. Annual energy cost savings (combined) were nearly $36,000, resulting in project payback of only 0.2 years. Most of the savings were derived from air-handler unit scheduling and duct static pressure adjustments. The project team included John Villani (principal-in-charge); Matt Butkus (project manager); and Justin D’Arcy (mechanical engineer).

At an awards presentation on December 10, three projects were recognized by ASHRAE’s Illinois Chapter with Excellence in Engineering awards:

  • The Alexian Brothers Provincial Archives renovation in Elk Grove Village, IL, was cited for G/BA’s mechanical and plumbing/fire protection design (institutional category). This project, created in an existing facility on the Alexian Brothers Medical Center campus, houses archives, artifacts, and conservation and research operations involving the history of Alexian Brothers Communities and Ministries, especially with regard to the group’s work in the healthcare field. The 3,000-square-foot space features tight requirements for temperature and relative humidity to ensure the ongoing safety and security of irreplaceable items. G/BA team members included Jim Shults (principal-in-charge); Mike McDermott (project manager); Matthias Berck (mechanical engineer); and Jeff Cochran (plumbing/FP engineer).
  • Existing-building commissioning for the Searle Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Chicago was honored in the educational category. The complex, 86,506-square-foot science facility was built in 1968 and renovated in 2009. G/BA’s investigation uncovered 16 potential Energy Conservation Measures with a total electrical savings of more than 960,000 kWh, as well as significant steam, chilled water, and CO2 reductions. Seven Facility Improvement Measures, addressing issues with building systems, were also developed. At the time of the award submission, the University was still implementing ECMs but had already realized savings equivalent to about 11% of annual energy usage. An additional 17% of savings is anticipated. The G/BA team for the project included John Villani (principal-in-charge); Kurt Matsen (project manager); and Tim Shinnick (mechanical engineer).
  • The University of Chicago Medicine’s Chilled Water System was also the subject of a winning existing-building commissioing project (healthcare category). This analysis examined two independent chilled water systems consisting of three chiller plants, with a total nominal capacity of about 22,500 tons. G/BA conducted two system analytical projects in 2017 and 2019, pinpointing significant issues involving the secondary bridges that link the Center for Care and Discovery Central Plant through the campus chilled water loop into building secondary loops. Eleven Facility Improvement Measures were suggested that would save nearly 2.6 million kWh in electricity and $188,000 a year, with a simple payback of four years. Measures that have been implemented and verified thus far are expected to save UChicago Medicine about $87,000/year in electricity costs, at an estimated implementation cost of $100,720. Additional savings will be realized after a secondary bridge control upgrade is completed. The G/BA team for the project included John Villani (principal-in-charge); Kurt Matsen (project manager); and Tim Shinnick, Inna Gorelik, and Sam Schmidt (mechanical engineers).

The projects honored by ASHRAE Illinois will go on to compete in the ASHRAE Region VI awards program next spring. 

G/BA congratulates its clients and team members for these innovative engineering design and retro-commissioning projects, combining energy efficiency and long-term sustainability.

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