EcoMotion Conducts ASHRAE Level I Audit of Shopping Center on St. Croix

Sunny-Isle-12-5-2013-006-310x175Finds Rich Lighting, HVAC, and Solar Opportunities for Client

An ASHRAE Level I Assessment conducted by EcoMotion in St. Croix is rich with opportunities. The 42- page report prepared for the island’s largest shopping center finds highly cost-effective lighting and air conditioning measures, plus strongly viable solar investments.

 

With 55-cent/kWh power, the economics are unlike anything EcoMotion has ever seen. Some lighting measures have less than a one-year payback. Many lighting and HVAC measures were found with less than 4 year paybacks. We analyzed solar systems with paybacks as fast as 3.2-year paybacks, routinely under 4 years.


St. Croix has relied on diesel-generated electricity for years. Power prices have pitched upward in the last two years. While the island’s power authority is exploring a third party financed LPG option, which may lower electricity prices, until then the management and the tenants are facing prohibitively high bills. Reflecting the local economy, the center has suffered financially, resulting in deferred maintenance and some dated energy systems. Our team witnessed and reported on a deluge of rain which threatened electrical systems.


EcoMotion sent two professionals on site for three days. Staying at a hotel on a quay accessible only by boat, and with tools in hand, guided by the center’s most helpful staff and contractors, our team assessed the center’s overall condition, its lighting, HVAC, and two solar systems. In California, EcoMotion prepared independent third party verification of the solar projects, those installed and another two proposed. Our team also researched corporate policies of chain stores relative to sustainability and energy efficiency.


In addition to serving as a detailed roadmap for specific savings measure, the report includes discussion of “engineered solutions,” moving past one-for-one exchange retrofits. It points out that instead of changing some lamps, it may well make sense to re-design the lighting system. Much of the center’s canopy lighting is particularly ineffective. Even with greater cost, could there be deeper savings, better light quality, with higher returns over time? Another option presented is replacing 60-foot tall parking lot lighting standards with a greater saturation of 20-foot lamps with highly efficient LED lighting.


On the AC side, EcoMotion’s consulting partner – Peter Tousley – recommended a combination of new, more efficient equipment with controls and best practices. While the center is only seeking a 10-degree drop in temperature, the 80 – 90+% humidity levels require the chillers to spend most of their energy wringing the water out of the air before it can chill it. Spotting high levels of intake air when on site, the report recommends further analysis of decreasing outside air while providing adequate ventilation using dedicated CO2 sensors and controls.


Able to withstand hurricane-force winds, in December the shopping center’s management energized an 84 kW solar system to power the food court below. To keep tenants’ power costs down for its tenants, the center has explored a number of options, ideally helping all of its tenants. But it is limited by the local utility to 100 kW of interconnected capacity. In search of clever ways to help its tenants, it is exploring ownership options. It already has supported one client by building the steel shade structure on top of which the tenant installed 40 kW.

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