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Operators Training Results in $140,000 in Energy Savings

“As a technician, being able to implement energy saving activities and knowing how to make adjustments for sustainability in our buildings has been very rewarding,” says Bob DePaiva, Colliers Building Operator.

In 2019, Prism worked with the Colliers Energy & Sustainability Manager and General Vancouver Operations Manager to design and deliver the “Colliers Building Operator Challenge”. The year-long challenge provided quarterly training sessions, ‘take-home’ exercises, and participation prizes. It gave operators the opportunity to come together to learn, discuss, and share ideas about saving energy in their buildings.

The combination of training, discussion and easy-to-implement actions meant operators not only learned how to identify and implement energy saving strategies, they were inspired and motivated to apply these learnings.

Before Prism designed the challenge and accompanying training sessions, a survey was conducted to understand operator needs and desires as well as what would motivate them to participate in the upcoming challenge.

“We believe that a thorough understanding of our audience is key to developing initiatives that will engage and educate. Our survey results allowed us to narrow in on topics that were most relevant to the group and to structure the challenge in a way that positioned operators to ‘do the best job they can’. This was the number one motivator operators identified for participating in the challenge,” shares Christine Obee, Sustainability Engagement Specialist at Prism Engineering.  

Once the challenge wrapped up, PUMA, a web-based utility monitoring software, was used by Nicky Arthur, Energy & Sustainability Manager at Colliers to analyze energy savings. Evidenced by energy usage data and the absence of other capital projects that could have reduced emissions, Nicky concluded that the bulk of these savings were attributable to low and no-cost actions, such as those covered in the training sessions.

“We wanted to measure the actual savings that could be attributed to actions by our operators.  Based on feedback from our team, we realized that many of the measures they implemented had a significant effect on gas consumption – things like altering Direct Digital Controls (DDC) schedules and setpoints,” shared Nicky.

When comparing 2019 (with the Operator Training Program in place) to 2018:

  • Electricity consumption savings increased from 10.5% to 12.8%
  • Natural gas consumption savings increased from 0% to 4.8%
  • Overall energy consumption savings increased from 7.5% to 10.3%
  • Overall energy cost savings increased from 10.2% to 12.5%

The estimated energy saving attributed to the building operators after their training is 2,584,372 ekWh (9300 GJ), or 2.8%. This is equal to saving over $140,000 annually. Emissions saved equals 264 tCO2e.