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FY08 RCx (Completed)


Retrocommissioning (RCx) was formed in August 2007, under F&S management.  The program was formed to help alleviate existing utility deficits, anticipated increases in fuel costs for natural gas and coal, and major maintenance issues.  F&S decided to create this special team called RCx to go through these buildings to do as much maintenance as possible within the resources available and improve the air quality as much as possible.  This year, they used the motto "saving the planet one building at a time."

During this year, the funding was provided by the Deferred Maintenance funding, known as AFMFA.  Five buildings were completed.


Newmark Civil Engineering Lab

Newmark is a 1960’s building with original systems and controls. Savings were accomplished by restoring the units to their original design, while increasing or decreasing their respective airflows due to new demands. Much space is used for office area, therefore chilled water savings, fan savings and steam savings could all be realized during off hours. New programmable controls replaced worn out pneumatic controls, realizing savings through improved sequences. Performing airflow balancing, caring for deferred maintenance and unit controls the results are saving energy and utility costs. A follow-up team installed new controls during Mar. 2008 to May 2008.  The new addition is nearing completion. This is expected to increase the energy use of the building and therefore change the energy base line for remaining comparisons.

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

The savings at Krannert were gained by digging deep into the actual design and performance of the air handling units. Some of these units were running 24/7 with large amounts of outside air, even though no one was in the room! Comfort problems also existed, but were corrected using programmable controls. At the same time the controls are used to reduce energy and air quantities while the theater is vacant. Carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors were installed to deliver the minimum amount of outside air to satisfy the patrons, and save energy. Many maintenance items were also addressed, including leaking coil control valves, damper actuation, plugged and dirty return air filters and ductwork, and calibration of existing controls. These contributed to the savings. A follow-up team installed new controls during Dec. 2007 to Feb. 2008. Additional future projects were recommended and are moving forward in 2011.

ACES Library

ACES Library is a fairly new building with programmable controls available. These were closely reviewed and later tweaked to provide energy savings during all hours of operation. The humidity sensors on the air handling units were replaced, resolving issues with economizer cooling. Fan control strategy was carefully reviewed since the building was having pressurization issues. Return fans were set to run faster than supply fans in the programming; RCx addressed this improving building pressurization. While working on one of the two AHUs, a defective DDC controller was found and replaced, restoring proper sequencing and control. Each pneumatically controlled variable air volume box was calibrated and inspected for accuracy. Minimum airflows were found to be excessive, which RCx recalculated and reduced. During the investigation of each VAV box, a pneumatic leak in the main line was found above the second floor ceiling. This bleeding off caused all of the 2nd, 1st and basement VAVs to maintain full heat, which in turn caused the supply fan to run at 100%, wasting large amounts of energy.

National Soybean Research Building

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Turner Hall

Turner Hall is an intensive research facility for crop and environmental sciences. As leaders in caring for earth, the occupants helped the retrocommissioning process greatly. RCx worked with the occupants to reduce fume hoods, hood usage, and the idea of sharing space. Outdoor air intake quantities were reduced. Supply & return fans were adjusted to care for the load, as well as to balance the airflows from outdoors. The ductwork was vigorously cleaned in half of the building, requiring less power for fans to operate. Occupancy schedules and programmable controls are being used to regulate equipment operation.


  • Newmark Civil Engineering Building, 29% savings
  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 31% savings
  • ACES Library, 39% savings
  • National Soybean Research Center, 11% savings
  • Turner Hall, 16% savings

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Project Team

  • Project Leader:

    Terry Ruprecht

    Team Members:

    • Karl Helmink
    • Damon McFall


Project Location(s)

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