John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago first opened in 1930. Today almost 2 million guests visit this national historic landmark annually. The facility faced energy challenges in maintaining environments for visitors, staff, and more than 32,500 aquatic animals. In 2013, a goal was set to cut the aquarium’s energy consumption in half by 2020, saving enough energy to power 750 homes annually.
Shedd Aquarium enlisted Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, to undertake sustainability projects. In 2015, Schneider Electric implemented its Building Analytics solution to identify energy-saving opportunities, and suggest possible causes and actions to remedy problems.
Building Analytics provided Shedd Aquarium with intelligent control, management flexibility, and analytics into core building systems such as HVAC, air handling equipment, and heating/cooling systems, including dozens of pumps, fans, heat exchangers and hot/ cold water systems. Building Analytics taps into data through Shedd Aquarium’s existing building management system, sensors and energy meters, and pushes information from all data points to the cloud-hosted analytics solution every five minutes for systems modeling.
Then Building Analytics automatically pinpoints the root cause of problems and identifies opportunities for cost avoidance on a continuous basis. For example, if a hot water loop temperature is lower than the recommended threshold for 24 hours, Building Analytics will suggest looking for faulty set points or control calibrations, reducing pump speed or lowering the hot water supply temperature.
Building Analytics also included tools to implement a fault detection and diagnostics solution that complied with Commonwealth Edison’s monitoring-based commissioning criteria.
As a result, the aquarium can financially justify its improvements through financial rebates. To date, the aquarium has received a total of $53,470 in energy rebates for using the Building Analytics system.
The Building Analytics solution integrates 4,500 building monitoring points for the 480,817-square-foot building. The return on investment was immediate, with Building Analytics helping to save 406,708 kilowatt-hours during the first 18 months, which is equivalent to removing 60 cars from the road or powering 30 homes for one year. These efforts are expected to save Shedd $34,164 in annual energy costs.