Austin Energy All Stars Project

Austin Energy All Stars Program

CASE STUDY

Blue Ocean Energy assists Austin Energy with the All Stars Program for 6th graders. Blue Ocean provides onsite presentations where we teach 6th grade students in the Austin Energy Service District about the world of electricity, along with energy and water efficiency. The kids learn valuable ways to save energy and water through the classroom curriculum and take-home kit full of energy efficient products.

Blue Ocean introduces 6th graders to the items in the All Stars kit and helps kids understand ways to save energy.

Blue Ocean developed videos for teachers to utilize. Here you can see a few snippets.

6th Grade Students Are Becoming Energy All-Stars with Austin Energy!

Austin Energy is providing teachers, students and their families with the opportunity to explore ways to efficiently use energy with the Austin Energy All-Stars Program. In this program, 6th-grade students learn about the exciting world of electricity, as well as valuable ways to save energy and money through in-class curriculum and a take-home kit full of energy-efficient products.

These kits are provided at no cost to teachers, students or their families and are provided exclusively by Austin Energy.

The Terrace

Case Study

The Terrace

What started with a simple effort to meet the requirements of a local energy benchmarking ordinance has saved this Austin commercial development more than $800,000 over a seven year period – as well as decreased their carbon footprint by the equivalent of 11,455 acres of forest.*

ECAD ORDINANCE

The City of Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance requires energy audits and disclosures for commercial buildings 10,000 square feet and larger which are served by Austin Energy, and are located within Austin city limits. Energy benchmarking helps to assess the energy profile of a building, and can be used by property owners and managers to improve energy efficiency, help reduce energy cost, increase property values, and protect the environment. The ECAD ordinance also helps meet the objectives established in the Austin Climate Protection Plan – offsetting 1200 megawatts of peak energy demand by 2030 through energy efficiency and demand response programs, and meeting 100% of customer energy needs with carbon-free generation resources by 2035. In addition to addressing the negative environmental impacts of climate change, reaching net-zero will offer positive benefits to Austin residents, such as greater affordability and improved air quality.

THE TERRACE

The Terrace is a four building commercial office development, totaling over 619,000 square feet, surrounded by Hill Country terrain and the protected Barton Creek greenbelt. The location, between South Mopac Expressway and Capital of Texas Highway, grants the development convenient access to southwest Austin. Close proximity to all major submarkets and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport make The Terrace a highly desirable property.

The Terrace is owned and managed by Atlanta-based Cousins Properties, which merged with the previous property manager, TIER REIT. In 2013, they enlisted an energy management company to provide the baseline energy benchmarking that the ECAD ordinance required.

“We were pleased to find that the simple improvements in operational efficiency that Blue Ocean Energy Management recommended provided a return on investment within only six months. And in 2016, our energy costs were approximately 15% less than in 2012 – even though average occupancy of the four buildings increased from 87% to 95% within that period of time,” said Leigh Ann Hendricks, Regional Property Manager for Cousins in Austin.

Energy costs for the Terrace have continued to remain low, with 2017 around 17% lower than 2012. In 2018, costs were approximately 13% below 2012 costs, even though the number of cooling degree days was 11% higher than in 2012.

The positive results stemming from the energy benchmarking have led The Terrace to become even more proactive in managing energy consumption and costs for the development. Since engaging with an energy management company, all four buildings in the campus have earned ENERGY STAR® certification for energy efficiency improvements and operations. This places the buildings in the top 12% of office buildings nationwide in terms of energy efficiency.

ENERGY MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Energy management companies specialize in providing clients with consultative energy management services, such as conducting energy benchmarking, determining areas for improvement through audits, and making recommendations on solutions.

A list of qualified commercial ECAD auditors can be found on the Austin Energy website at austinenergy.com/go/ecadauditors.

KEY MEASURES

Low-cost, high-return paybacks can be often found in the operational aspects of energy management, and equipment replaced only when when absolutely necessary. Through commissioning the existing equipment employed by The Terrace, the energy management company they engaged was able to formulate a more effective and efficient energy management plan. The plan recommended that a few capital improvements be made, but achieved results primarily through increased operational efficiency.

The main improvements to The Terrace were made to the Building Automation System (BAS) and Energy Management System (EMS) control systems. Currently, only Building I has made this improvement, but The Terrace plans to upgrade the other three buildings. In 2016, Building 2 had a new chiller installed. In addition to these improvements, the complex installed LED lighting in the hallways and corridors, and retrofitted the lighting in the parking garage. The Terrace provides 11 hours per day of thermal comfort.

These improvements qualified The Terrace for rebate programs, as well as provided a six-month return on investment after completion. In addition, cumulative GHG emissions savings from 2012-2018 (based on year 2012) totaled 9,733 metric tons (MTs) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

This is the equivalent of the amount of carbon sequestered by 11,455 acres of forest, or by removing 2,066 passenger vehicles from the road for a year*.

ENERGY STAR DESIGNATION AND THE TERRACE

The ENERGY STAR score assesses how a building performs compared to its peer group from an energy usage perspective. A building is given a percentile rating, from 0-100, based on its energy use intensity (EUI). To be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification a building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher out of a 1-100 scale. This score indicates that the building performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide. Factors considered in the ENERGY STAR score’s algorithm include building size, location, occupancy numbers, number of computers, etc. This algorithm estimates how much energy the building would use if it were the best and worst performing. The actual energy data is then entered and the building’s rank is determined.

In 2018, ENERGY STAR certification was awarded for all four buildings at The Terrace for the fifth consecutive year. All four buildings of The Terrace currently hold a rating of 83 or higher, a designation that puts The Terrace in the top 12% of buildings in the US from an energy usage perspective.

CONCLUSION

Working with an experienced energy management company, the Terrace achieved top ENERGY STAR ratings for each of the buildings in the development. This was made possible through a sound and effective energy management plan that not only reduced energy consumption but lowered energy costs. Often, property owners and managers are reluctant to pursue energy efficiency improvements because of the perception of high initial costs. The truth, however, is that these improvements are more cost-effective than continuing to operate inefficiently. The Terrace’s energy management strategy allowed them to see a return on investment after only six months.

Jessica Galloway, Program Manager at Austin Energy, says, “Austin’s ECAD ordinance offers an opportunity for commercial property owners and managers to take a look at the energy efficiency of their buildings. The ordinance doesn’t require that improvements be made. But, as The Terrace’s experience demonstrates, benchmarking a building may uncover hidden opportunities to save money as well as do the right thing for the environment”.

This case study highlights how the City of Austin’s ECAD ordinance raises awareness of a property’s energy efficiency. Rather than simply satisfying the ordinance’s requirements, the team at The Terrace found that energy benchmarking presented an opportunity to save on operational costs. Their proactive engagement led to energy cost savings and decreases in energy usage, even as occupancy rates increased. This increased level of awareness – community-wide – is a primary goal of the ECAD ordinance.

 

“The City of Austin’s Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance offers an opportunity for commercial property owners and managers to take a look at the energy efficiency of their buildings. The ordinance doesn’t require that improvements be made. But, as The Terrace’s experience demonstrates, benchmarking a building may uncover hidden opportunities to save money as well as do the right thing for the environment.”

Jessica Galloway

Program Manager at Austin Energy

Quick Facts

Property Owner: Cousins Properties

Property Management: Cousins Properties

Energy Mgt. Company: Blue Ocean Energy

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: Trane

Lighting Installer: Marcon Construction Co.


Size: Approx. 619,000 square feet


Years Built: Between 1999-2002


Average Occupancy, 2012-18:
Terrace I – 92%
Terrace II – 88%
Terrace VI – 83%
Terrace VII – 99%

Glossary

Building Automation System (BAS) or Energy Management System (EMS): the automatic centralized control of a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, lighting and other systems.

Cooling Degree Day: a measure of how warm a location is compared to a standard temperature. A high number of degree days results in higher levels of energy use for cooling.

Energy Use Intensity (EUI): a building’s usage expressed as energy per square foot per year.

ENERGY COST ($) 2012-2018

GROSS ENERGY CONSUMPTION (kWh)

GHG EMISSIONS (MTs CO2 EQUIVALENT)†

Energy Star

CASE STUDY

The Terrace achieved top ENERGY STAR ratings for each of the buildings in the development. This was made possible through Blue Ocean Energy’s sound and effective energy management plan that not only reduced energy consumption but lowered energy costs.

Often, property owners and managers are reluctant to pursue energy efficiency improvements because of the perception of high initial costs. The truth, however, is that these improvements are more cost-effective than continuing to operate inefficiently. Blue Ocean Energy’s energy management strategy allowed the Terrace to see a return on investment after only six months!

All four buildings in the campus have earned ENERGY STAR certification for these energy efficiency improvements and operations. This places the buildings in the top 10% of office buildings nationwide in terms of energy efficiency! This work became the topic of a case study published by Austin Energy available for download below.

We were pleased to find that the simple improvements in operational efficiency that Blue Ocean Energy Management recommended provided a return of investment within only six months. And in 2016, our energy costs were approx. 15% less that in 2012 – even though average occupancy of the four buildings increased from 87% to 95% within that period of time.

Leigh Ann Hendricks

Regional Property Manager

The Terrace is a four building commercial office development, totaling over 619,000 square feet, surrounded by Hill Country terrain and the protected Barton Creek greenbelt. The location, between South Mopac Expressway and Capital of Texas Highway, grants the development convenient access to Southwest Austin.

QUICK FACTS:

Property Owner: Cousins Properties
Property Management: Cousins Properties
Energy Mgt. Company: Blue Ocean Energy
Mechanical/Electrical.Plumbing: Trane
Lighting Installer: Marcon Construction Co.
Size: Approx. 619,000
Years Built: Between 1999-2002
  • Terrace I Avg Occupancy 92% 92%
  • Terrace II Avg Occupancy 88% 88%
  • Terrace VI Avg Occupancy 83% 83%
  • Terrace VII Avg Occupancy 99% 99%

                                   Key Measurements:

Low-cost, high-return paybacks can be often found in the operational aspects of energy management, and equipment replaced only when absolutely necessary. Through commissioning the existing equipment employed by The Terrace, the energy management company they engaged was able to formulate a more effective and efficient energy management plan. The plan recommended that a few capital improvements be made, but achieved results primarily through increased operational efficiency.

The main improvements to The Terrace were made to the Building Automation System (BAS) and Energy Management System (EMS) control systems. Currently, only Building I has made this improvement, but The Terrace plans to upgrade the other three buildings. In 2016, Building 2 had a new chiller installed. In addition to these improvements, the complex installed LED lighting in the hallways and corridors, and retrofitted the lighting in the parking garage. The Terrace provides 11 hours per day of thermal comfort.

These improvements qualified The Terrace for rebate programs, as well as provided a six-month return on investment after completion. In addition, cumulative GHG emissions savings from 2012-2018 (based on year 2012) totaled 9,733 metric tons (MTs) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

This is the equivalent of the amount of carbon sequestered by 11,455 acres of forest, or by removing 2,066 passenger vehicles from the road for a year*.

*epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator † ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®

Passenger Vehicles Removed from the Road

Equivalent Acres of Forest

ENERGY STAR DESIGNATION AND THE TERRACE

The ENERGY STAR score assesses how a building performs compared to its peer group from an energy usage perspective. A building is given a percentile rating, from 0-100, based on its energy use intensity (EUI). To be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification a building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher out of a 1-100 scale. This score indicates that the building performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide. Factors considered in the ENERGY STAR score’s algorithm include building size, location, occupancy numbers, number of computers, etc. This algorithm estimates how much energy the building would use if it were the best and worst performing. The actual energy data is then entered and the building’s rank is determined.

 

In 2018, ENERGY STAR certification was awarded for all four buildings at The Terrace for the fifth consecutive year. All four buildings of The Terrace currently hold a rating of 83 or higher, a designation that puts The Terrace in the top 12% of buildings in the US from an energy usage perspective.

CONCLUSION

Austin Energy’s case study highlights how the City of Austin’s ECAD ordinance raises awareness of a property’s energy efficiency. Rather than simply satisfying the ordinance’s requirements, Blue Ocean was able to work with the team at The Terrace and found that energy benchmarking presented an opportunity to save on operational costs. Our proactive engagement led to energy cost savings and decreases in energy usage, even as occupancy rates increased. This increased level of awareness – community-wide – is a primary goal of Austin Energy’s ECAD ordinance. 

Enfield Properties

Case Study

Blue Ocean Energy’s comprehensive energy management services has saved the owner of Enfield Properties approximately 10-20% in energy costs annually on average.

Since January 2010, Blue Ocean Energy has successfully and dramatically lowered the overall energy costs at Enfield Properties by 47% compared to 2009. This savings has been achieved only through proactive energy management, including an aggressive procurement strategy. During these 3 years, except for a skylight replacement, no money was spent on equipment upgrades.

%

Overall Savings Since 2007

%

Lower Energy Costs Compared to 2009

%

Reduction in kWh Since 2009

Since January 2010, Blue Ocean Energy has successfully and dramatically lowered the overall energy costs at Enfield Properties by 47% compared to 2009. This savings has been achieved only through proactive energy management, including an aggressive procurement strategy. During these 3 years, except for a skylight replacement, no money was spent on equipment upgrades.

Enfield Properties has reduced their energy costs by approximately 2/3 over the past 7 years. The initial reduction in 2007 was achieved through a number of facility upgrades, including installing a new HVAC system.

Enfield Properties is a two-story, 67, 500 square foot office facility in Houston, Texas, which was built in 1981. As the Energy Manager for Enfield Properties since 2010, Blue Ocean Energy’s challenge was to lower Enfield Properties overall energy costs.
Energy costs were soaring at Enfield Properties. The owner of Enfield Properties wanted to be proactive when it came to managing and lowering the energy costs of the facility so he employed Blue Ocean Energy.

Our strategy for achieving these savings:

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Reduce the kilowatt (kWh) hours

BOE successfully lowered the overall kWh consumption by 22% over the base year 2009. This savings was achieved by ensuring that the Energy Management System, thermostat, and light schedules were corrected to reflect occupancy hours at the building. The relatively mild climate of 2012 did cause part of this reduction, but the largest savings were achieved by optimizing the HVAC and lighting schedules.
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Overall demand reduction

Over the past 3 years, BOE achieved a 29% savings by focusing on demand charges. The primary focus was to mitigate peak demand by programming the Energy Management System to enhance load-shifting and the corresponding demand reduction.

Cost per unit

Enfield Properties’ cost per unit in 2009 was close to $.15 per kWh, which we managed to reduce to $.10 per kWh in 2012, for a 33% reduction. This savings was achieved by identifying Enfield Properties’ risk profile and structuring the supply contract to reflect this profile. Enfield Properties has been on a floating price for part of the year and on a fixed price for the rest of the year (from their retail electric provider).
  • Reduce the kilowatt (kWh) hours 22% 22%
  • Overall Demand Reduction 29% 29%
  • Cost Per Unit 33% 33%

We can customize a plan to help you save on energy costs.