Technology Illustrates Rapid Return on Investment to Clients
Temp-Control Mechanical Service (TCMS) was confident that the BuildingAdvice™ suite of energy services from AirAdvice would help them win a preventive maintenance (PM) contract and deliver measurable energy cost savings to The Avamere Group, a family of more than 40 senior living facilities in the Pacific Northwest. In their first meeting with Avamere, TCMS uncovered concerns about operating costs and a less-than-robust PM program implemented by onsite staff with little HVAC experience. To demonstrate their capacity, TCMS proposed an action plan that included surveying, benchmarking, and collecting cost data at three of Avamere’s facilities.
Survey data were presented to the engineer and the administrators at each of the facilities. One location, the Pearl, was chosen as the first building to test the efficacy of TCMS’ PM program and its ability to deliver energy savings. The premise was that a robust PM program should pay for itself in measurable energy cost savings. TCMS submitted a PM contract proposing approximately $11,000 worth of maintenance work for the Pearl’s 40,000-square-foot facility.
“The power of definitively proving that our PM pays for itself in less than eight months is an absolute differentiator in our market.”
— Bill Moore, TCMS Principal
TCMS benchmark data demonstrated that the Pearl, a relatively new building, was performing poorly. Equipment and systems had indeed suffered the ill effects of poor PM. The building scored a 21, indicating that 79 percent of building types in the same category nationally performed better. More importantly, the Pearl was spending over $17,000 more annually on energy bills than average-performing buildings, suggesting that the PM program would pay for itself in less than one year.
“Our final decision [to move forward with the PM proposal for the Pearl] was based on TCMS’ ability to measure the actual operational cost savings their program generated, something their competitors were unable or unwilling to do,” said Rickard Miller, chairman of The Avamere Group.
Using the BuildingAdvice platform, TCMS began to assess control issues in the facility. Having already collected schedule information, the wireless sensor arrays included with the BuildingAdvice system allowed TCMS to compare temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and light readings during occupied and unoccupied times for over one week. Using graphs to display how a facility’s systems actually operate, especially during unoccupied times, has a tremendous impact on owners and operators who have very little idea what happens when no one is there.
The data provided valuable clues about sources of waste that could be easily remedied. Poorly installed economizers proved to be a significant opportunity for improvement. TCMS used the BuildingAdvice system to create an energy model for the building that could help forecast the savings generated by each measure and by the PM in total. As it turns out, the scope of needed energy measures identified by the BuildingAdvice audit matched the scope of work proposed for the PM program.
“The BuildingAdvice program, especially the reporting, really helped us engage the customer in meaningful discussions about their facility,” said TCMS Principal Bill Moore. “The reports made it tangible for them. From the benchmark report that clearly showed their building performing below average to the audit, which forecasted savings by measure, the reports created a storyboard. Avamere saw how their practices created waste and that, working together, our PM and their ongoing diligence could drive sustained savings. It moved them from being an observer to a participant, and that is likely to spill over to the rest of the portfolio.”
TCMS began implementing their PM program in late November 2012 and completed their efforts by mid-December. To measure and prove their effectiveness, TCMS tapped another BuildingAdvice reporting system, SavingsTracker, to track the actual energy savings generated by TCMS’ sustainable PM program. The results were immediate.
In less than three months, the PM yielded $5,562 in savings, almost 18-percent savings on utility bills compared with the prior two-year average. In just over six months the program generated over $10,000 in measurable savings. In fact, Avamere achieved a complete return on its investment in the initial PM program for the Pearl within seven months. “The power of definitively proving that our PM pays for itself in less than seven months is an absolute differentiator in our market,” said Moore. “We now use this SavingsTracker graph in all of our first meetings to drive this message home in our sales process.”
Early success prompted Avamere to engage TCMS to benchmark and survey 20 more buildings in their portfolio to determine whether the buildings could realize similar savings. TCMS has already been awarded contracts for three additional buildings, and more candidates are in the queue.
TCMS sales teams will use previous studies (benchmarks, assessments, and audits) to inform their quarterly PM process to ensure waste is continually eliminated and to systematically identify retrofit opportunities that meet Avamere’s capital investment guidelines. They will use the SavingsTracker reporting system when they meet with the customer quarterly to remind them how much they are saving and to begin positioning projects uncovered through the audits.
TCMS attributes their success with Avamere to 1) a well-executed quarterly PM program that included measurement to identify waste, 2) a comprehensive scope of work that corrected that waste, and 3) a continuous monitoring program that documents actual savings results that the customer believed. The credibility that BuildingAdvice added positioned TCMS for an ongoing, long-term revenue stream in a growing portfolio of buildings.
For more information, visit www.airadvice.com.