COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on global behavior including the way we use buildings. With many commercial buildings left unoccupied, domestic demand has significantly increased as people social distance from home.
This has a knock-on impact for innovative energy conservation measures (ECMs); especially those in HVAC heating due to this change in user demand. EndoTherm is running several live pilots in North America and many of these sites have seen variance in gas consumption over the past month.
One of our customers in Eastern USA, a hospital group is piloting EndoTherm in two locations as part of their internal review (also being reviewed by the local utility provider). The two buildings were a short-term care ward and an elderly living facility.
Both pilots were showing savings within an expected range until Feb/March 2020. The care facility saving remained consistent and is currently showing savings around 17%. However, demand in the domestic property increased and consumption was 0.9% higher than the baseline (before ECM installation).
An investigation is underway to determine whether this was a result of a scheduling / set-point change or simply a higher occupancy with less mobility of its tenants creating a higher demand. The question is simply; how much the building would have used if EndoTherm hadn’t been installed?
In Western Canada, a number of commercial pilots have been finalized at the end of February. With commercial buildings currently unoccupied, coupled with a mild March, consumption has halved which cannot be assigned solely to the EndoTherm technology. It is virtually impossible to isolate EndoTherm savings from demand reductions due to the decrease in building occupancy; a challenge the industry faces in determining the split of savings during larger multi-technology pilots.
This ultimately highlights the issues with pilots, why many larger pilots are run in 10+ buildings with averages being taken to determine success and why EndoTherm bases its commercial claims on 3rd party testing from ISO17025 test houses. This isn’t just an issue during global pandemics. A pilot of EndoTherm at Mead School District in Spokane, Washington (for local utility Avista Utilities) also noted an increase in scheduling to ensure sufficient heating during after-school activities. Consumption immediately before EndoTherm installation was 8% higher than the baseline and 5% lower once the ECM had been installed. Thankfully, this lower saving did not significantly impact ROI with an expected return within 18 months.
As we recover from COVID-19 the importance of energy efficiency will naturally increase to help reduce operational costs. To discover how EndoTherm can help improve HVAC efficiency.