If you have a question, and you don’t see the answer here, please Contact Us
OptikW Technology Solutions
Q. How are the energy saving recommendations generated and how much is a manual process?
A. We will recommend Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) based on several factors including size of building, cooling structure and accessibility to data. None of the OptikW installation will require ongoing manual input on site.
Q. Do you have custom algorithms to detect faults. If so, do they automatically populate similar to a Building Automation System (BAS) alarm or do they still need to be manually uploaded?
A. Manual uploads are not required, because OptikW operates dynamically and continuously.
Q. When Continuous Commissioning (CC) solutions have recommendations uploaded in batches potentially months apart, we find that properties will stop logging in and can miss critical issues. We hope to see some level of escalation from property level to above property when critical issues are not addressed. What communication with the property occurs outside of the platform?
A. One of the huge benefits from a management standpoint is the OptikW platform works seamlessly in the background. The existing BMS/BAS provides the same alerts as prior to OptikW, and maintenance does not need to provide any manual modifications. All the optimization is handled by EIC in the cloud or locally for secure facilities such as casinos or military bases.
Q. Most cooling towers operate at a fixed speed. Can OptikW circumvent this limitation to adjust for the variable cooling fan speed without entailing additional equipment, such as a variable frequency device (VFD)?
A. Using a VFD on the cooling towers is critical to having the OptikW system work effectively. The cost is generally nominal in the grand scheme of a project and will pay for itself very quickly if needed.
Q. How are recommendations prioritized?
A. Our recommendations are generally comprehensive, and our priority is maximum energy efficiency with minimal disruption. Since we tune your systems within guidelines set by the equipment manufacturers there will be only beneficial effects to your systems.
Q. Are recommendations generated in real time or through retroactive reporting to the property?
A. Recommendations (ECM’s) are only provided during the initial visit or after an Investment Grade Audit. The OptikW software will then run in the background, dynamically and continuously monitoring up to 100 system and ambient conditions and adjusting the HVAC system accordingly.
Q. With what device does the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) connect to and communicate/interact with?
A. Depending upon the equipment at the job site, we can communicate in different ways. If the customer requires it, we can install on-site hardware to meet their needs.
Q. What if a customer wants to “test” the OptikW system by turning it off?
A. While we and/or our clients can certainly do this, the on/off test is not a long-term solution, because the energy saving advantages come when OptikW is on. Clients can use the off feature to confirm the energy saving performance.
Q. If I already have a building management system, why do I need OptikW?
A. Your building management or building automation system (BMS/BAS) collects and monitors data on various building systems and provides features like alarms so building operators can see and send commands to their systems. The BMS/BAS provides a user interface that allows the user to adjust the settings, view the system status, and detect any potential issues related to building system performance. While the BMS or BAS generally has the capability to start or stop the chillers and specify various set-points for the chiller system, it does not automatically adjust or optimize the chiller operation in response to changing ambient weather conditions. OptikW continuously and dynamically modifies the chiller system operating parameters to obtain optimum efficiency without requiring operator intervention.
Q. Would I need to replace my BMS or BAS with OptikW?
A. No. OptikW operates in conjunction with an existing BMS or BAS, effectively as an add-on. It interfaces with the BMS/BAS using a BACnet to Modbus connection. OptikW reads the data from the BMS/BAS as inputs to the optimization algorithm, determined what changes or adjustments need to be made, and provides directions to the BMS/BAS to make the changes needed to optimize the chiller system operation.
Q. Is there any insurance protection on the solutions?
A. If for any reason the software system were to fail, the default is the existing setting of the equipment and operations through the BMS/BAS. For customer peace of mind, EIC carries a $1,000,000 Cyber Liability insurance policy from Lloyds of London plus $2,000,000 in Commercial General Liability and an added $2,000,000 in Professional Liability insurance.
OptikW Performance Measurement & Verification
Q. Are there costs savings associated with recommendations? If so, how are they calculated?
A. Generally as we assess each property, we will provide an estimate of cost savings per year. EIC will base our monthly service fee as a % of the total savings. In addition, we will guarantee a certain level of savings to offset our monthly Software as a Service (SaaS) fee. Note that some clients have requested options to pay for the custom software services rather than pay monthly via the savings share model.
Q. How do you establish the saving over a period of operation going forward post-implementation, since consumption varies over time and historical data may not be representative of future consumption? How do you agree on the actual saving when future consumption deviates from historical usage?
A. We find a mutually agreeable plan for measuring savings, that may include submetering the cooling system. Since OptikW can be turned off and on, spot testing is also an option. In some cases, the monthly savings share is set on a mathematical baseline, and then reconciled seasonally at calendar quarters as well as annually. All OptikW installations are customized to the specific client so there will always be variances in how we describe a “Baseline”. The proof of the savings comes after the implementation.
Q. What happens if Optikw was inadvertently or intentionally switched off so that the saving target is not met? How do you prevent this from happening?
A. We will monitor the system to make sure it is operating and the local BMS will likely have some visibility as the behavior of the system will change. This is not a serious consideration unless the power or the internet connection in the facility is not stable for some reason.
Q. As a channel partner for EIC, how do we protect ourselves against those customers who want to cheat us by manipulating the usage or measurements to under-represent the amount OptikW is saving?
A. This would not make any sense as the customers would spend more money on power as soon as they “unplugged” the OptikW. If the savings were dramatically off of what we expected, we would want to compare the power bills and we could reveal the source of the deception, if there is one.
Q. Is it possible to “fool” the remote monitoring service into thinking that OptikW is in normal operation while it has been disabled.
A. It is not likely, and we would also know within hours if the system was “shut off,” and the default is the prior status quo of the BMS/BAS. We can tailor the software upon the request of our clients to have alerts on multiple devices via IoT.
OptikW Compensation Options
Q. What is the cost structure to the property?
A. Our Software as a Service (SaaS) model is based on a target 50% split on the savings generated each month with our clients. We custom tailor the algorithmic software to each property, and we are open to clients who want to pay for our services upfront or over the first year, rather than pay over multiple years. Our internal costs are based on each individual property, since our costs are directly proportional to the complexity of each installation. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive solution with no “surprise” charges or fees. On the SaaS path, our monthly rate will be agreed to prior to installation and you will have a predictable monthly charge that will be more than offset by the energy efficiency savings.
Q. A customer has bought the OptikW solution, opting for the revenue sharing payment option. It is year 4, and they are getting 70% of the total cost savings. He wants to expand his chilling capacity by 60%. Do we sign a new contract, or continue with the existing one? How do we distinguish between the old and the new capacity electricity consumptions? If we terminate the existing contract, do we need to compensate the customer for the remaining savings in the future?
A. In most cases facilities do not have submeters on their cooling system, because they just have a utility company meter on their total electricity consumption. Once the OptikW system has been installed we will begin monitoring the energy usage of the cooling and heating system, in the event new hardware is added we will be able to determine a “new” baseline quite easily. The compensation would be accounted for as a parallel project. In short, they would continue paying at the legacy rate for the first project, but the new project would start fresh on the delta of added savings.
Q. Does OptikW get a share of the saving during the three first months (utility bill review period)?
A. Generally OptikW will require some sort of retainer/deposit to cover installation of the equipment. But every installation is unique, and we will work with the customer to fit their comfort level.
OptikW optimal types of facilities and systems
Q. What are the best applications of OptikW?
A. We provide the best results for facilities that have four or more of the following:
- Large central cooling system
- Chilled water loop or air-cooled system
- Installed chiller capacity of over 200 tons, or large compressors for process cooling
- High number of operating hours (4,000 / year or higher)
- Over 50,000 sq ft
- Location in warm climates or higher than average cost/kWh to maximize ROI
Q. What types of buildings are best for OptikW?
A. The best applications include:
- Data centers
- Shopping malls
- Large office buildings
- Refrigerated warehouses
- Food and beverage processing
- Process cooling facilities (Injection Molding, Blow Molding etc.)
- Pharmaceutical and chemical industries
- District cooling plants
Q. Can OptikW platform also optimize a central heating system in addition to a central cooling system?
A. Depending upon the system it is likely that there will be beneficial bleed over effects from the OptikW platform, but it will generally not be as dramatic as the cooling savings.
Q. Can the OptikW system be used for commercial food preparation, for instance flash freezing?
A. Flash Freezing facilities are an ideal customer for OptikW, all types of process cooling will optimize well with OptikW.
Q. What are the key differences from the business perspectives between warehouse operators and central chillers?
A. In general warehouses are not going to see the types of savings from OptikW that a Hospital, Office Building, Hotel, Casino or other large facility that requires cooling throughout. Generally, warehouse operators are not using central cooling for their facilities unless it is in a refrigerated environment.
Q. Will OptikW work for refrigerated warehouses?
A. OptikW works in a refrigerated warehouse like it would in an office building or Hotel. Most refrigerated warehouses might not receive the level of savings that other facilities would unless it is a very large operation.
Q. Since a heater and an air-conditioner often use the same set of air handling equipment, is it possible to use OptikW to optimize a central heating system?
A. Yes for heat pump systems. Our OptikW technology saves much more on heat pumps and the operation of a chiller plant than on boiler or forced hot air systems. Within our EIC “eco-system” of strategic partners we have solutions to cost-effectively increase the energy performance of heating systems.
Q. What type of facilities have already benefited from this technology?
A. The underlying technology has been proven around the world in facilities such as these:
- Nine 5-Star hotels of the Starwood Group that were already LEED Platinum certified before the optimization
- Three other 5-star hotels
- Two dairies
- Corporate headquarters of a large company
- Large district cooling plant (25,000-ton cooling capacity)
Q. What type of savings results have been delivered?
A. All the projects referenced above have had implementations which have achieved energy savings of 20% to 40%, and simple paybacks of 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Q. Who are your competitors and how are you different from them?
A. While other “Retro-Commissioning” providers can address energy efficiency to an extent, the services typically only address static variables and not the dynamic variables that impact energy utilization across the entire cooling eco-system and ambient conditions. The dynamic and proven approach enables OptikW to guarantee the savings, with low upfront costs. The upfront cost is typically a percentage of the year-one estimated savings, and it is variable based on the complexity and data accessibility of the existing HVAC system.
The “Competitive Landscape” includes:
Optimum Energy Systems, LLC – Their technology requires additional expensive equipment such as Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) for existing chillers, is intrusive/disruptive in its implementation, and provides longer paybacks. OptikW does not require expensive equipment, is implemented without any business interruption or disruption, provides greater savings, and it delivers faster paybacks.
Siemens Demand Flow – Focuses mainly on improving pump efficiency. The technology maintains constant temperature difference for the chiller and condenser and does not take advantage of the reduced Condenser Water Entry Temperature (CWET) or part-loading of the chillers, which are two of the many features of OptikW.
Johnson Controls – Primarily offers building management systems, such as Metasys, and OptikW integrates well with Metasys and other BMS/BAS technology. This makes Johnson Controls a companion spoke on the wheel of energy intelligence. Johnson Controls does offer chiller services, focused mainly on predictive maintenance and not on improved operating efficiency.
Data Sheet Clarifications
Q. On your date sheet form, what does Building Cooling “Yes/No” mean?
A. For EIC “building cooling” means a central cooling plant with chillers, heat pumps or other “central cooling” system vs “process cooling” which is typically related to the production of products such as frozen food, dairy, etc.
General Technology and Terminology
Q. What is the difference between BMS and BAS?
A. The BMS acronym is “Building Management System”, and BAS is “Building Automation System.” These two terms are often used interchangeably and refer to the central computer system that is controlling or monitoring the HVAC system. BMS/BAS control and monitor the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment with varying degrees of sophistication for ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems.
Q. What is Process cooling? does it refer to a system or facility?
A. Process cooling refers to the process of cooling machinery or other devices using cold water generally via a chiller system, think of injection molding, frozen food preparation, dairies, breweries, etc.