Aflac Energy Renovations, Retrofits and Recommissioning, Columbus, GA
HVAC Retrofit & Building Automation Systems, and Energy Services
AIRCOND VALUE DELIVERED
Average campus-wide energy savings of 14-21 percent; lower heating and air conditioning maintenance costs; increased building comfort; improved employee productivity; virtual elimination of hot and cold calls; faster, more effective emergency response; extended life of mechanical equipment; increased return on capital.
ENERGY EFFICIENT HVAC RETROFIT OBJECTIVES
To reduce energy consumption and costs while cutting total HVAC operations and maintenance costs for 950,000 square feet of interior space.
INTEGRATED FACILITIES SOLUTIONS
Burdened by a commercial HVAC system that was generating excessive energy costs, nuisance alarms, and hot and cold calls for five buildings across its corporate campus, Aflac asked EMCOR Services Integrated Solutions (ESIS) to find a reliable, cost-effective heating and cooling solution. In response, the company developed and executed a comprehensive facilities strategy. It called for expert evaluation, installation and programming of an integrated facilities management system, a number of major modifications to the existing mechanical equipment and recommissioning of the entire HVAC infrastructure.
Programmed for optimum energy efficiency, ease-of-use
ESIS began by programming the new facilities automation system to more effectively control a wide range of HVAC equipment across Aflac’s campus, ranging from two-ton split systems to 300-ton centrifugal chillers. The old direct digital control (DDC) system was keeping much of this equipment functioning needlessly around the clock — and erratically at that, resulting in large numbers of hot and cold calls. ESIS experts custom-programmed the new building controls systems to avoid these issues. They installed schedule programming, which starts the system in response to outside and inside temperatures as well as at fixed times. Furthermore, AHU deck temperature is reset primarily according to interior conditions. By using direct space temperature feedback, ESIS increased Aflac’s energy efficiency, while virtually eliminating the hot and cold calls that had plagued the facilities maintenance staff.
Air conditioning only when needed
The ESIS team also evaluated mechanical and lighting systems across the campus to identify further energy-saving solutions. The team found, for example, that Aflac’s training rooms were constantly conditioned despite being intermittingly occupied. Consequently, the company installed occupancy sensors in the rooms to switch on the HVAC and lighting only when people are present, and provided Aflac’s facility managers with a user friendly interface so they can easily make changes to the air conditioning system schedules. When permanent or temporary training classes are in session, the HVAC schedule can be synchronized with class times and course durations.
A variable response to new requirements
Another major energy solution involved modifying an air conditioning system originally designed to cool a call center. When the center was converted to general office use, the system load plummeted, causing the dehumidification system to run year-round constantly. ESIS installed variable frequency drives (VFDs) to slow the system’s fans, thereby dehumidifying the space and allowing the costly dehumidification cycle to be disabled. The VFDs currently run at about 60 percent, a drop of more than 50 percent in fan energy consumption.
An end to nuisance alarms
Seeking a solution to frequent nuisance alarms, ESIS technicians found that an alarm for improper chilled water temperatures often went off in tandem with numerous other alarms as space temperatures throughout the building went out of spec. Overwhelmed by the frequent and unnecessary alarms, Aflac’s building maintenance team had turned off the alarm function. ESIS found a better answer by programming the building automation system (BAS) to respond to the core issue — improper chilled water temperatures — while suppressing any accompanying space temperature alarms. As a result, facilities maintenance personnel now know they are receiving real alarms and can take appropriate and timely action.
Over the course of the building energy efficiency services project, the ESIS team also recommissioned the entire mechanical system. In the process, the company identified numerous opportunities for performance improvements and energy-use optimization that were presented to the owner along with a savings analysis.
Measurable energy reductions; smarter HVAC system management.
Today, Aflac has reduced energy consumption by 21 percent across the original five buildings and by 14 percent if the calculation includes a building that has a 24/7 printing facility and a data center. In one building, the savings exceeded 40 percent. Meanwhile, the facilities maintenance staff views the company’s facilities management system as a strategic asset rather than as simply a means of HVAC control. In addition, should a problem arise, technicians can use the history logging and other functions programmed by ESIS to pinpoint and diagnose the issue quickly, leaving the staff more time for preventive maintenance. The result is a tightly integrated, precisely controlled HVAC system that is now far easier to keep running at peak performance levels with maximum energy efficiency, while ensuring the comfort of Aflac employees and the productivity of its operations.
AFLAC FACILITIES BACKGROUND
For more than 50 years, Aflac has been the number one provider of guaranteed renewable insurance in the United States, the number one individual insurance policy provider in Japan, and their insurance products currently provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. Aflac has been recognized for numerous awards and recognition such as: the #1 Most Admired Company in the Life and Health Insurance category by Fortune Magazine, as America’s Best Managed Company in the Insurance category by Forbes Magazine, and as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere magazine — just to name a few. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL.