Building Information

Building Type Office
Location Sacramento, CA
Square Feet 145,000
Project Type Controls Upgrade
Project Value $416,234
Annual Energy Spend $350,000
Cost per Square Foot $2.41



  • Install price of $416,234
  • Annualized repair savings of $12,000
  • 3 service calls/week brings this to approximately $30,000
  • Energy cost savings was estimated at $60,000
  • A 5.8 year payback or 17.3% ROI
  • 69% of target in 6 months on median performing building
Scorecard - Case Study 1

The Need

The building owner was a long-term customer of the contractor that recently acquired a new multi-tenant commercial office building. The owner approached their contractor upon acquisition, as the incumbent mechanical contractor had recently provided a phased proposal to retrofit a failing automation system. The new contractor suspected that with the help of BuildingAdvice, they could work with the building owner to evaluate the financial benefits of completely implementing a controls upgrade by the late spring of 2018 instead of the phased approach.


The Process

In March of 2017, the ABM sales team ran a Scorecard showing the building was using 68.6kBTU of energy per square foot, indicating just below median performance against the national building stock of Commercial buildings. In a competitive leasing market, the new owners wanted to get a deeper understanding of the source of poor performance. To rapidly assess potential sources of waste, ABM deployed BuildingAdvice wireless sensor arrays throughout the building to "shadow" the Building Management System. 

Assessment Findings:

  • The building was running 24/7 and equipped with an aging BAS
  • The boiler and RTU were running simultaneously
  • The building’s BAS was failing, leading to excessive energy use and poor tenant comfort

Assessment - Case Study 1

These findings led the contractor to run a Project Financial Analysis (PFA) to calculate estimated savings and the cost of delaying upgrades. The contractor found that the building owner could expect $61,000 in energy savings by completing the upgrades immediately, and that the cost of inaction over 15 years would cost them an additional $1.08MM.

The Solution

New controls and control strategies including:

  • RTU (accounting for efficiency gains)
  • Optimal Start & Stop
  • Outside Air Adjustments
  • Schedules and Setpoints
  • Supply Air Reset
  • Some custom measures:
    • Duct static pressure reset
    • VAV balance
PFA - Case Study 1

Tracking the Savings Impact of Controls Upgrade

Using SavingsTracker™, the contractor was able to monitor savings generated from the upgrade. Eight months after the upgrade, the building is on course to generate 140% of estimated annual energy savings. These results, if sustained, could lower the Simple Payback of the project from the originally estimated 5.8 years to 4.3 years. And during this same period the building’s Energy Star Score has increased by almost 20 points since project inception.

ST - Case Study 1