Save Energy, Money With a Gas Optimization Study Funded by Peoples Gas

Tech Tips

Facilities in Peoples Gas’ service territory may be eligible for a gas optimization study paid for by the utility.

The studies are part of an initiative to help clients identify and implement low-cost and no-cost energy-efficiency measures, reducing resource use and lowering facilities’ contribution to global climate change. Many types of facilities may be eligible, including academic, healthcare, hotel, commercial office, cultural, industrial, and other buildings that are not single-family homes.

As part of the study, each facility will implement measures that have a payback less than 18 months, up to a total cost of $7,500. (Conservation measures costing more than $7,500, as well as any capital projects that are identified in the study, may be eligible for regular Peoples Gas incentives.)

Sites that have previously had retro-commissioning, ComEd FSAs, or Smart Ideas Opportunity Assessments (SIOAs) may have an edge in claiming one of these subsidized studies.

Typical low-cost measures include scheduling of AHUs, damper repairs, reduction of simultaneous heating and cooling, control of outside air quantities, and temperature setpoint adjustments. Measures that save electricity will also be eligible for ComEd incentives.

Capital measures that may be identified for additional study include boiler burner retrofits, heat recovery, kitchen hood controls, water heater or boiler replacements, and other equipment retrofits. These projects may qualify for either standard incentives or custom incentives of $1/therm saved.

Natural gas savings from G/BA optimization projects average more than 220,000 therms per year, with site-wide simple paybacks across facilities ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 years.The chart below shows results of our previous gas optimization studies, depicting the percentage of savings resulting from various types of improvements. Changes in dampers and implementation of setbacks delivered the best results, but each project will be unique and have its own savings profile.

The low-cost measures we have identified include:

Match outside air quantity to current requirements – 0.2 year payback
Install valves on perimeter heating system – 2.7 year payback
Demand control ventilation for kitchen hood exhaust – 0.8 year payback
Lower steam pressure during unoccupied periods – 0.5 year payback
AHU scheduling – 0.8 year payback
Reduce humidification to match current requirements – 0.1 year payback
Control combustion make-up air quantity – 0.3 year payback
Damper repairs – 0.5 to 1.0 year payback – $60,000 per year savings at one site!
AHU setbacks – 0.1 to 0.2 year payback

Typical estimated annual cost savings from low-cost and no-cost projects identified in optimization studies range from $5,000 to $10,000 per year, but greater benefits are very possible, and many clients choose to make multiple improvements. For instance, in one recent project, we conducted an analysis at an urban hospital of nearly 630,000 square feet, with about 390 beds. The study identified 157,900 therms/year of natural gas savings as well as 780,000 kWh/year of electricity savings. The client realized an estimated $142,700 in total annual utility cost savings with an investment of only $51,000.

Contact Dan Doyle at G/BA for advice regarding the Peoples Gas optimization study program and other available utility incentive programs, including questions regarding your eligibility. We look forward to helping you create a more economical, energy-efficient facility.

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