Upgrades made to One Detroit Center have resulted in a 24 percent savings on utilities. (Click on the image for an enlarged view.)

LIVONIA, Mich. - John Guardiola, vice president of engineering at Portfolio Property Management Global (PPMG), knew exactly who to call to help him update the building systems at the downtown Detroit landmark, One Detroit Center: Joe Colleran and his team at mechanical service contractor W.J. O’Neil Company.

After a thorough evaluation of the energy requirements of the building, Guardiola had determined changes in two areas could produce significant energy savings: an upgrade of the existing energy management system, and the addition of variable frequency drives (VFDs) on all motors for the air-handling systems.

The W.J. O’Neil team began by installing a state-of-the-art Web-based energy management system. Every piece of HVAC equipment is controlled by the system and because it is Web-based, monitoring can be done from a remote location and changes can be made easily and quickly. The result is greater efficiency with instantaneous information from a building management system.

Next, the variable frequency drives were installed on all the major air-handling systems. “With an advanced control strategy we were able to optimize the use of all systems,” said Colleran, “resulting in considerable energy savings.”

“Remarkably,” said Guardiola, “all of the work was done with zero interruption of tenants.”

The project took eight months and the savings were substantial. “We have experienced an overall 24 percent savings on all of our major utilities,” said Guardiola. “The new system allows us to maintain tenant comfort while at the same time save energy.”

With corporate offices in Livonia, Mich., and a regional office in Chattanooga, Tenn., the W.J. O’Neil Company specializes in solving complex, technical projects with its design-build services. The firm also offers HVAC, plumbing, piping fabrication, process piping, and 24-hour service.

The company was recently awarded GreenStar designation by the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) after meeting stringent guidelines for environmental responsibility throughout the company. W.J. O’Neil is one of only 29 contractors in the country to be so honored.

For more information, visit www.wjo.com.

Publication date:03/22/2010