Automation software is part of a holistic approach to central plants.

A holistic approach to designing, installing, and operating central plants ensures reduced energy and operational costs, according to many involved in some of today’s major building projects.

One company, Johnson Controls Inc., picked up on this theme by announcing a new offering to help reduce energy consumption in central chilled water plants in buildings by up to 60 percent.

One aspect, according to JCI, to achieving these savings is a system-level automation software, Johnson Controls Central Plant Optimization™10 (CPO 10) and Central Plant Optimization™30 (CPO 30). “This approach enables persistent peak performance and energy savings in central plants in both new construction and existing buildings,” said Joseph Walicki, vice president and general manager, systems, North America, Johnson Controls.

He said that depending on climate, region, and equipment configurations, a central chilled water plant can consume more than 30 percent of the power required to run a building. To achieve peak efficiency performance, a facility’s central plant equipment and independent components can now be designed and operated as a single integrated system with the new software.

“Building owners and operators have the biggest opportunity to realize savings where the facility consumes the most energy - the central chilled water plant,” said Walicki. “A holistic approach to plant design and operations is necessary to drive efficiencies that minimize operating costs, reduce environmental impact, and lead to a better return on investment.”


Traditionally, energy efficiency in HVAC has been driven by the capabilities of individual components. Central Plant Optimization changes that with the holistic system approach, said Walicki. There is the potential to achieve and sustain ongoing savings throughout the entire lifecycle of an HVAC system, he said.

He added that both CPO 10 and 30 feature control technologies that are designed to provide system performance improvements based on real-time building loads. When incorporated with a modern building automation system and efficient HVAC equipment, CPO software solutions can help a chilled water plant system achieve maximum energy savings.

CPO 10 maximizes a facility’s HVAC system and equipment performance by selecting the most efficient combination of pumps, chillers, and cooling towers needed to meet building cooling load, it was noted. Applications include new construction projects as well as upgrades to existing buildings. According to the company, the software works with virtually all types of central plants and can achieve up to 15 percent in energy savings over a standard automation approach in an otherwise identical plant.

CPO 10 is powered by Metasys® building management system and controls the sequencing of pumps, isolation valves, and chilled water plant equipment while maintaining the timing delays for safe and stable operation. To monitor plant operation, the Metasys Ready Access Portal provides customized plant operating information via standard browsers and Apple iPhone® and iPod® Touch platforms. In addition, Metasys Energy Essentials reporting enables visibility of energy use, including equipment runtime, starts and stops, energy consumption and energy cost details, weather details and daily load profiles, helping to monitor and sustain plant performance over time.

The CPO 30 is powered by OptimumHVAC™ and incorporates a software application from Optimum Energy that continuously optimizes central chilled water plant operation to achieve peak energy efficiency and performance. The software application is platform neutral for integration with Mitosis or other building automation systems. According to the company, the software has relational control technology that makes it possible to operate variable-speed central plants holistically based on the power relationships between each piece of equipment and real-time cooling load conditions.

Every 30 seconds, the software automatically gathers current operating and building load data from the BAS. The application then applies relational control algorithms to calculate optimal system operation, and directs control sequences back to the BAS for execution.  CPO 30 is provided in combination with built-in measurement, verification, and management services. These services provide system operators the information they need to sustain energy reductions. Graphs and charts are used to track real-time energy use, manage system operations, and find and correct system faults as they occur.

Software can automatically gather current operating and building load data.


“Optimum Energy’s solutions are ideally suited to maximizing the efficiency of high-performing plants,” said Matthew Frey, president and CEO, Optimum Energy. “We’ve focused our deep HVAC expertise and enterprise computing knowledge squarely on optimization, with the result that our software applications are delivering significant, predicted savings, project after project. By formalizing our relationship with Johnson Controls to offer CPO 30 powered by OptimumHVAC, customers will now have the confidence that their solution is leveraging the expertise and real-world experience of two industry leaders.”

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Publication date: 05/09/2011