Even a building celebrated for its cutting-edge energy efficiency needs a little nudge now and again.
Cameron Scott knew as much, and with the help of new U.S. Energy Department software that allowed him to analyze energy consumption at Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building (PSB), he went to work.
Cameron, a mechanical engineer and the Commissioning Agent for the City’s Facilities Division, heads up a five-member energy management team. The group is responsible for all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAV) upkeep in 72 City buildings.
Arguably the grandest of those buildings is the PSB, completed in July 2013 and home to the City’s Police and Fire departments and Emergency Management program. The PSB was built for net-zero energy performance and is LEED platinum certified – the highest energy sustainability rating for a building.
Even so, it is no cheap undertaking to heat, ventilate, and cool the 167,000-square-foot edifice (175,000 feet when adding in underground parking space). So when the DOE recently launched its Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to encourage more efficiency through computer analysis, Cameron took the challenge and ended up winning the Campaign’s top award for the category “Best Energy Performance in a Single Site.”
The change has resulted in 8 percent monthly electricity savings and 27 percent savings in natural gas consumption at the PSB – which adds up to 35 percent BTU savings, and a total utilities cost savings of $100,000 to the City over the past year.
“We knew from our own monthly billing analysis software the building was underperforming, even for all its energy efficient qualities,” Cameron said. “Basically, the PSB was bringing too much outside air in and that was compromising our energy savings. We were using too much gas in both the summer and winter. ”
The team installed the DOE energy management software that combines monthly billing analysis software, heating and cooling interval data analysis, which provides updates of the building’s utility usage every 15 minutes and allows for correcting operational issues.
“When the Facilities Division hired Cameron to serve as the Commissioning Agent for city buildings, our expectations were that he would make some recommendations resulting in savings for the city. He has far exceeded our expectations,” said Public Services Director Lisa Shaffer. “Cameron digs in to every project, and he digs deep. His efforts have resulted in utility savings that equate to hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.”
The PSB is part of a much-wider portfolio benchmarking program supported by DOE EnergyStar software. The free software is also available to commercial businesses for tracking and managing energy output of their buildings. Mayor Biskupski has been a driving voice for cleaner energy and air quality in Salt Lake City, and has led the effort by transmitting to the City Council in January 2017 an energy benchmarking and tune-up ordinance.
The market-based ordinance will eliminate 98 tons of pollutants from Salt Lake City’s air each year by phasing in new requirements for buildings over 25,000 square feet to “benchmark” their energy usage annually. Building owners will do this with help from EnergyStar software – the same package Cameron and his team used to capture energy savings at the PSB.
Cameron will travel to Washington D.C. for the DOE’s May 16th Better Buildings Summit, where he will accept the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign recognition on behalf of the Public Services Department and Salt Lake City.
A self-identified “engineering geek,” Cameron has been with the City’s Facilities Division for four years. He spent several years in the private sector before joining the City. He graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in physics and earned his Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from BYU.
Cameron and his wife, Rachel, are the parents of six children, ages 10 years to six months.