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Keep your building in shape with our continuous optimization program

Engineer on tablet inspecting industrial HVAC system
Our continuous optimization program helps ensure your building systems are running efficiently to save energy and reduce costs.

How to make sure your building is running perfectly

We recently took a look at how continuous optimization is helping School Districts in Richmond (SD 38) and Coquitlam (SD 43) to stay on top of running costs and energy usage. But of course, it's not just for schools.

The continuous optimization (C-Op) program is a joint offer from BC Hydro and Fortis BC to help large commercial customers save energy and improve operations in buildings larger than 40,000 square feet through building retro-commissioning or recommissioning.

Vinson Lee, Program Manager at BC Hydro, explains that "Many large buildings come with a digital control system that manages building operation systems including HVAC and lighting. The building's operating schedules, setpoints and sequence of operations are adjusted based on planned occupancy and usage. Commissioning is setting these systems up or making sure they’re running as efficiently as intended."

There are four commissioning scenarios:

  • Commissioning: Tuning and calibrating systems in a new building to perform as efficiently as possible.
  • Retro-commissioning: Commissioning an existing building for the first time.
  • Recommissioning: Tuning and calibrating systems in a previously commissioned building.
  • Periodic recommissioning: Recommissioning on a periodic basis for the lifetime of the building. This is to ensure improvements last over time and to identify new opportunities as your facility and/or business changes.

Key benefits

The C-Op program provides funding for an approved service provider to conduct an in-depth assessment of your building. "They'll look for ways to improve the operational efficiency of your most energy-intensive systems, like HVAC systems without having to undertake a major capital investment," says Vinson.

The key benefits of continuous optimization include:

  • Saving energy and operating costs when systems operate optimally for your facility.
  • Increasing comfort through adjustments to match occupant behaviour.
  • Extending equipment life when systems are in sync and operate as intended.
  • Improving sustainability by working toward your carbon emission reduction goals.
  • Receiving funding based on your facility size (up to $0.15 per square foot). This funding may cover a significant portion of your service provider assessment costs, depending on the size of your facility.
  • Ensuring improvements persist over the building's life through periodic recommissioning. Customers may re-apply to C-Op four years after completing the program.

How it works

To apply for the continuous optimization program, you'll just need to complete an application form for each building, select a service provider and request a proposal. If your application is approved, the program follows three simple steps:

  1. Investigation: Your service provider visits and completes an in-depth assessment of your building. They'll compile a report outlining all the opportunities they find. 75% of your project assessment funding will be paid when the report is completed and invoices are submitted.
  2. Implementation: You choose and implement a selection of the recommendations.
  3. Completion: Your service provider verifies completion of each recommendation and the remaining 25% of your project assessment funding is paid when all final documents and invoices are submitted.

What kind of results can you expect?

Continuous optimization results can vary a lot depending on the type of building. "We've found that on average, buildings that have completed the implementation phase show a projected 5.7% overall cost reduction on average and a 1.7 year projected payback," says Vinson.

For more information, take a closer look at our program results for 14 different types of buildings. These results are due to a range of operational savings identified by service providers during their investigations. Here's a list of the top ten most common ways to save:

  1. Reduce equipment runtime.
  2. Optimize economizer operation.
  3. Eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling.
  4. Optimize supply air temperature.
  5. Optimize zone/setback temperature set points.
  6. Eliminate unnecessary lighting hours.
  7. Optimize ventilation rates.
  8. Volume control for pumps and fans.
  9. Add/optimize chilled water temperature reset.
  10. Eliminate passing (leaky) valves.

Is your building in need of continuous optimization?

To find out more, contact your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager, or call 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.