Tighter Building Envelope and HVAC Retrofit Lead to Bakery Success Story

Here’s a building envelope and HVAC retrofit success story in the food and beverage facility management sector.  Barbara’s Bakery in Sacramento, CA has made a significant investment over the last 10 years in energy efficiency.  This investment has paid off in several ways and has been a key part of their business’ growth.  In fact, it has been so impressive, that it has been featured in Energy Star’s “Success Stories

The improvements have included a major lighting upgrade project, an innovative building envelope insulation program, and a HVAC retrofit and upgrade. The result? Barbara’s Bakery experienced cost savings and increased productivity through better temperature control (HVAC, insulation and roofing).

These improvements make working conditions more pleasant, always a factor in employee satisfaction.  They also are beneficial to the environment, by reducing the company’s carbon footprint.  They also show up on the bottom line, as we mentioned, especially as energy costs soar.

HVAC Preventive Maintenance

Now the question becomes, will this continue to be a success story?  Or will other factors cause all this effort to be wasted.

Often times when evaluating an energy project, nobody looks beyond the return on investment.  They forget about the future savings that they will reap if they maintain the system at the performance level that it was designed to run at.

For example, if the Bakery doesn’t keep up on their coil cleaning, it will become more difficult to pull air through them, so the VFD’s that were installed will slowly ramp up to move the same volume of air.  This will cut into the savings gained by having tighter motor control.

Without a good cooling tower cleaning program, the new high efficiency HVAC system will struggle to maintain comfort level, run longer, and consume more energy.

The truth is that with the cost of energy today, an energy project done 5 years ago should be bearing more savings now than it did when implemented.  However, without a rigorous maintenance program in place, those savings won’t be realized.  Coils needed be cleaned, cooling towers need to maintained, and tubes need to be punched.  Otherwise a “success story” could become a work of fiction.

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