Save The Bay Center

Early in February of 2008, with the support of the National Grid Retro-Commissioning Program, Energy Engineering and Design, Inc (EE&D) began a retro-commissioning project at the Save The Bay Center on Field’s Point in Providence, Rhode Island. The Save The Bay Center is the Headquarters of a non-profit organization founded in the 1970s to protect Narragansett Bay and its watershed. The Center was built in 2005 as a state-of-the-art sustainable building on the waterfront of Narragansett bay. The Center is used as office space and an educational and meeting center for the Save The Bay Organization.

After operating for two years, it was realized that The Center’s energy use was roughly three times what was originally planned by the engineers. Rather than using 65 kBtu per square foot per year as the designers had calculated, the Center actually used 218 kBtu per square foot from July 2006 thru June of 2007. EE&D was called in to Retro-Commission the facility with the goal of getting the energy use on track with the original design intent of a “Green” Building.

Retro-Commissioning (RCx) is a step-wise process to ensure that the building systems are operating as originally intended and to improve the operation of systems in accordance with the needs of the occupants of the building.

The RCx process resulted in the findings that the electronic Building Control System (BCS) programming was not set up to operate the mechanical systems of the building in an efficient manner. As it turned out, the BCS vendor was not given a specific sequence of operations for the complex mechanical system that was designed for the building. The result was a mechanical system that was operating very poorly which also caused the building to be very uncomfortable.

During the RCx process, and again with assistance and incentives from National Grid, EE&D identified some $40,000 worth of energy efficiency upgrades that were subsequently installed by Save The Bay.

As a result of the Retro-Commissioning project and the Energy Efficiency Upgrades, the utility costs at Save The Bay Center have been reduced by 54% from $66,471 in 2006 to $26,654 during the 12 months ending in February of 2009, and the building is much more comfortable.

Energy Engineering & Design, Inc. 65 Main Street Framingham, MA 01702 P: 781-775-2698