Buildings ‘get smart’ to improve comfort, save money, and reduce energy use

Today’s economy is one run by consumers and participants having unlimited information at their fingertips at all times.  This on-demand economy has brought smart technology and data analytics into all facets of business today.  The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released a report discussing how smart buildings upgrades are catching up to this new trend.  Among many other findings, they spoke to the energy saving potential that the South region of the United States has when it comes to smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for commercial buildings.

Making much more data and information available to a building operator is driving efficiency in large and small buildings all over the country.  Whereas a smart building with integrated systems can realize 30-50% savings, individual components can be added to small and medium businesses and save 5-15% with little money upfront.  HVAC technologies like smart thermostats, sensors, variable frequency drives, and cloud based energy information systems have huge potential for savings in Florida where HVAC use in commercial buildings accounts for over 50% of electricity consumption, which is significantly above the national average. A study referenced in the ACEEE report proved that rooftop package units installed with smart thermostat controls, multi-fan speeds, and demand control ventilation can save approximately 50% in electricity savings.

With the addition of the aforementioned smart controllers and sensors, real time data analytics can give visibility to a unit’s operating efficiency by the minute.  This advanced assessment of a building gives the operator an unprecedented look into run-time and efficiency so that nothing is wasted.  Hill York has been working with these new smart building solutions for more than 8 years with our Alerton and HYStat controls for large and small commercial buildings, respectively.  Seeing reports from the country’s leading energy efficiency minds further validates what Hill York has been advocating for years; smarter buildings make efficient buildings, which fuel smart businesses.


March 15 | Energy Solutions Group Captures Clients Over $6 Million In Savings

Facility Efficiency Projects Answer Call For Energy and Cost Reductions

Implementing cost-saving energy conservation programs is a challenge that’s become a high priority for Florida’s building owners. For Hill York, the state’s leading commercial air conditioning company, the growing need for comprehensive services prompted the launch six years ago of their Energy Solutions Group.

With $1.8 million in energy savings earned for clients in 2014 and over $6 million since 2008, Hill York’s all-out commitment to boost efficiency and reduce utility costs is bagging notable benefits. Out of 30 completed energy projects, they’ve realized a remarkable 102% of projected savings. Such success is hardly by chance. Their meticulously-developed system is driven by technical expertise and client collaboration and anchored by a third party validated process endorsed by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Improving energy efficiency is a highly technical, multi-faceted enterprise,” said Rob Pulsifer, Hill York’s vice president of energy solutions. “We have a team of Certified Energy Managers, LEED Accredited Professionals, Certified Demand Side Management Professionals, and Energy Engineering Specialists that partner with clients to determine the best course of action on a case by case basis.”

Employing a co-authored approach that addresses specific issues and objectives, Hill York’s energy programs are strategically designed to be self-funding through sustained efficiency gains and cost savings. Specialized offerings include energy management systems, chiller plant optimization, and energy service agreements, with the programs typically producing energy reductions ranging from 20 to 40 percent and some results as high as 60 percent. Among the client success stories:

  • Hill York designed and built a Central Energy Plant for Nova Southeastern University that is recognized as one of the largest energy storage systems in the United States. It’s on track to save NSU over $17.3 million over the life of the system.
  • ICORR Properties International’s partnership with Hill York earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® certification for superior efficiency at One Sarasota Tower. The office building’s overall energy consumption dropped by an annual average of 34%.
  • Hill York spearheaded six energy conservation measures at the City of Port St. Lucie’s main municipal complex. The program is projected to save the city in excess of $154,000 a year.
  • A major infrastructure improvement project at Leesburg Regional Medical Center was conducted by Hill York to increase energy efficiency and facility comfort. In the two years since its completion, it has reduced operating expenses by over $175,000 a year.

“We’ve been crafting our business model and perfecting our energy services for six years now,” observed Pulsifer, who noted that Hill York’s energy-related projects have swelled from one in 2008 to 35 in 2014. “As we plan and carry out the most results-minded programs in the industry, seeing many of our clients achieve record efficiency and savings is an exciting signal for us to keep forging forward.”

More energy-conscious building owners will no doubt follow Hill York’s lead as they create sustainable futures for facilities, communities and the environment.

A full service commercial air conditioning company, Hill York provides system maintenance, service, repairs, energy solutions, and installation for a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilations systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida.

Download: March 15 | Hill York Helps Energy Grant Hopefuls Win Funding, Retrofit Facilities | Press Release PDF

August 2013 | Nova Southeastern University’s Central Energy Plant Projected to Save Over $17.3 Million


Earlier this year, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) invited Hill York and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) to present on the university’s Central Energy Plant. The plant is a terrific success story because of the foresight in planning for efficiency and the savings which are projected to be 17.3 million dollars over the life of the system.

In 2008, NSU teamed up with Hill York and C. Davis Electric to create a Central Energy Plant that could sustain the university and provide for future expansion cooling while reducing run cost. The plant was built to provide chilled water to cool the campus. To reduce peak electric demand and operating costs, 19,800 ton-hours of ice storage capacity was installed. When completed, the plant will have a total of 72,200 ton-hours of ice storage capacity. The major HVAC equipment is monitored by utiliVisor, one of the tools used to fine-tune the plant to run at peak efficiency, further reducing energy usage and running costs. The chillers take advantage of off-peak utility pricing to avoid the high cost of electricity during peak hours. At full build out, the NSU chiller plant is projected to earn three million dollars in FPL rebates.

As the installation and mechanical contractor on record for the facility, Hill York was not only instrumental in the design and construction of NSU’s Central Energy Plant but also maintains its daily operations. This Central Energy Plant is recognized as one of the largest thermal energy storage systems in the United States.

During the International District Energy Association’s (IDEA) 104th Annual Conference and Trade Show, Hill York and NSU provided attendees with an exclusive tour of the Central Energy Plant. Held on June 5, 2013, this conference focused on highly efficient and clean district energy technologies deployed on an urban scale to deliver robust and reliable energy services.

Hill York’s President & CEO, Chip Lafferty, along with Rob Pulsifer, Hill York’s Director of Energy Services, Dr. George Hanbury, President and CEO of NSU, Pete J. Witschen, NSU’s Vice President for Facilities Management, and Al Smith, NSU’s Director of Physical Plant were honored to host worldwide industry leaders at NSU’s Central Energy Plant to promote its energy efficient features.

NSU is the largest independent institution of higher education in the Southeastern U.S. Located on a 300-acre campus in Fort Lauderdale, this university is home to more than 26,000 students.

NSU Cooling TowersHY NSU PlantNSU Hill York Ice Storage

Some key factors contributing to the innovative design and operation of the plant are as follows:

Ice Storage Facilities

  • 19,800 ton hours of ice storage, 79,200 ton hours at full build-out
  • 30 sets of coils per ice tank, five sets of coils per stack, six stacks total

HVAC Equipment

  • Two York Compound YK Chillers (2,300 tons each)
  • Two 2-cell CCS Cooling Towers
  • Two Tranter Cross-flow Plate Frame Heat Exchangers
  • 30 BAC Ice Coils
  • Six Bell & Gossett Pumps: two 200 hp, two 150 hp, two 100 hp

Pipe –O.D. Galvanized Steel Pipe

  • 65,000 feet of pipe per stack
  • 390,000 feet or 73.86 miles of pipe total per ice tank
  • Capable of cooling 5,000,000 square feet of NSU’s campus
  • 32.5 degree chilled water leaving the plant

Electric Rooms

  • First Floor: 5,000 kVA oil filled transformers drop the voltage from 13.2 kV to 4.16 kV, C&D Technology battery system, 130 volts DC power supply, redundant charging system for GIS Switchgear Protection relays
  • Second Floor: State of the art 13.2 kV Siemens GIS Switchgear with touch screen operator, NFPA 70E arc flash compliant, gas-encapsulated bus bar technology, power monitoring system

The Benefits of Online Energy Monitoring in Educational Buildings

Hill York Monitoring Systems for NSU

Real-time Web-based Monitoring of Air Conditioning in Schools.  –

Energy costs are the second highest expense our nation’s budget crunched schools have to face. And nowhere is the old adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” more applicable than in air conditioning operations. Real-time web-based monitoring of air conditioning in schools can help the environment and deliver great savings, making limited school funds available for other uses.

Unlike schools in other regions, many Florida schools run their air conditioning system year-round to maintain low humidity levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that $2 million could be saved by improving energy efficiency in schools. Many school districts are already taking positive steps in the right direction.

K-12 schools, colleges and universities can save energy through a new, energy efficient approach to air conditioning on campus. By installing web-based, real-time, online energy monitoring technology, schools can accurately monitor and track energy levels 24/7.

Some schools, such as Nova Southeastern University (NSU), have taken the technology one step further by installing chiller plant optimization. This is the marriage of sophisticated energy measurement and verification (M&V) technology with expert engineering analysis to operate the air conditioning system in a highly efficient manner. In NSU’s case, the school designed and built a new central energy plant incorporating advanced chillers and an ice-based thermal energy storage system. This approach to air conditioning allows the school to reduce energy costs by shifting chiller operation from peak to off-peak electric rates. A web-based online energy monitoring system allows school administrators to stay abreast of energy levels and comfort conditions for its 300-acre campus.

Green Air Conditioning Systems

In addition to saving money, sustainable or green air conditioning systems facilitate carbon footprint reduction. Schools that implement a green air conditioning system will experience reduced energy expenses and encourage better student performance. While universities face the challenge of identifying green air conditioning systems to handle a vast campus, many smaller schools have started using energy efficient alternatives to conventional systems.

Here’s how both K-12 schools and higher education facilities can benefit from implementing a green air conditioning system:

•Lower energy costs-Schools spend $75 per student on gas bills and $130 per student on electricity each year. In fact space cooling and ventilation consumes up to 8% of a school’s total energy costs. According to the EPA, schools can save up to 30% in energy costs by taking steps such as installing or retrofitting a green air conditioning system and implementing ENERGY STAR electrical appliances.
•Reduce greenhouse gas emissions-Decreasing fossil fuel consumption can help schools reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel generated from electricity contributes to 40% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, along with an increase in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide—contributing factors to climate change and the generation of smog and acid rain.
•Contribute to economic revival-The EPA estimates that 8 million jobs in the energy efficiency market have been created since 2008.
•Enhanced indoor air quality-Energy recovery ventilation equipment significantly reduces heating, cooling and ventilation loads by nearly 40%. For example, a school district in Colorado implemented and integrated an indoor energy efficiency and indoor air quality management program that generated $900,000 in savings, while at the same time improving the quality of air ventilation.
•Reduce absenteeism-Improved air quality through the use of green air conditioning systems means healthier students and staff.
Choosing a Tampa LEED Certified Contractor

Whether you are starting with new construction or retrofitting your outdated system to accommodate a green air conditioning system, consulting a green Tampa contractor should be your first step.

Any green initiative should be analyzed for the potential to help obtain LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification supports and encourages green building development practices, contributing towards increased environmental and health sustainability.

Look for a LEED certified Tampa company that has LEED APs (Accredited Professionals) on staff, including a LEED Charrette Facilitator. Ask the HVAC consultant about partnerships with other green contractors and consultants that ultimately deliver an efficient and thorough job.

How to Get a 2-Year ROI When Retrofitting a More Efficient HVAC System in Your Florida Convention Center

Retrofitting Air Conditioning & Controls for Large Public Venues.

Florida sports, entertainment and convention facilities face unique air conditioning challenges due to their large spaces, high ceilings and high outdoor humidity levels. Indoor air quality is a primary concern for convention center administrators because outdated air conditioning systems can become a breeding ground for contaminants. Building operators also have to contend with the high energy cost associated with maintaining an antiquated and inefficient HVAC system.

In order to reduce expenses and improve indoor air quality, more and more Florida venue administrators are retrofitting greener, more efficient air conditioning systems in their buildings. Investing in a green air conditioning system can transform a Florida sporting or entertainment arena into an energy efficient building, and reduce long term operational costs.

According to Larry Clark, LEED AP, and sr. energy solutions consultant at Hill York, facility managers who implement an HVAC optimization solution can often expect a return on investment of less than 2 years. Clark explains this in an example of an institutional building considering the installation of a building oversight management system. The process uses a combination of a web-enabled advanced energy monitoring capability with to the real-time management of energy use.

To arrive at an ROI of less than 2 years, Clark used a Capital Recovery Factor-based cost-to-benefit ratio model. He broke down the project cost ($147,000), the building occupancy within the next 10 years, internal cost of money (6.5%), current cost of energy ($.11/kWh) and expected savings ($1,463,173 kWh/yr). He then analyzed the cost to save 1kWh to arrive at the total savings. From his findings, Clark concluded that the project investment of $.13 avoided $1.00 of energy costs. As illustrated by this model, the cost of not implementing the solution could be as much as $385/day for the next 10 years, or $1.4 million in avoidable energy costs.

As the manager of a large entertainment venue in Florida, these are savings you definitely want available to you for better purposes.

There are now wireless indoor air quality and energy monitoring technologies available that require no modifications to the building’s infrastructure.

Implementing this state-of-the-art technology may not only protect your investment but can also improve the indoor air quality of your Florida arenas and convention centers.

The Benefits of Green Air Conditioning Systems

As a manager of a large venue, not investing in a green air conditioning system can cost a significant amount. With energy prices rising, entertainment and sporting venue administrators must get smart with green initiatives.

However, building engineers and administrators know that proposing a new air conditioning system has several challenges and roadblocks—no matter the evidence of eventual cost savings. Initial, upfront costs are what typically deter most facility managers from implementing a more efficient green air conditioning system. Often, managers don’t want to replace or fix what isn’t clearly broken.

One solution to initial cost outlay is to present a shared energy savings financing plan. Shared energy savings financing is when financing is offered for green projects demonstrated through increased energy efficiencies. Financing options include commercial leases that can pay out from energy savings, third party ESCO financing and customized financial plans using several models.

Plus installing a green air conditioning system positions your venue to qualify for LEED credits, saving you even more money in the long run.

Choosing an Orlando, Florida LEED Certified Contractor

Having a LEED certified contractor is vital to ensuring that your project qualifies for certification. Whether you are implementing environmentally-friendly countertops in your restrooms or a green air conditioning system, any green driven project may qualify for Florida LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification supports and encourages green building development practices which contributes towards increased environmental and health sustainability.

When a building becomes LEED certified, money saving credits are offered, adding significantly to your return on investment.

Before you pursue certification, select a LEED certified Orlando company to ensure you will earn credits. Because specific rules must be followed in order to ensure your retrofit or new construction project, only a LEED certified Orlando contractor can ensure the job is done to specifications.

When interviewing Florida contractors, look for a LEED certified Orlando company that has accredited professionals on staff, including a Charrette Facilitator. Inquire about partnerships with other Florida LEED contractors and consultants, that ultimately contributes toward a more efficient and complete job.

Another money saving consideration is to ask your contractor about energy services agreements and individual building energy assessments. Qualified Florida LEED contractors will utilize BuildingAdvice energy benchmarking and ENERGY STAR rating systems to design the most appropriate green air conditioning system for your entertainment or sporting venue.