Garage Ventilation System in San Francisco Achieves 97% Energy Savings

by | Jan 12, 2018

Nagle Energy Solutions NES garage ventilation

The Japan Center garage in San Francisco. Credit: Nagle Energy Solutions

Nagle Energy Solutions (NES) says that its garage-ventilation control system at the Japan Center in San Francisco reduced energy consumption by 97%. Real-time data logging shows that the patent-pending NES system is lowering energy usage for ventilation from 1.25 million kWh to 38,300 kWh annually, according to the company.

“The NES system provides a recurring operational-cost savings in excess of $250,000 per year, not including future utility rate increases,” the company says.

Originally constructed in 1968, the Japan Center garage includes a two-level main and single-level annex structure covering 300,000 square feet altogether. Before the NES system was installed in March 2017, the garage had 45 fan-motor units that were 5-horsepower each. In addition to replacing those motors, NES added variable frequency drive technology.

The NES system controls the rate of ventilation in the main and annex garages based on carbon monoxide concentrations at a given juncture, the company explained. “BACnet-communicating NES carbon monoxide sensors provide instantaneous feedback to NES controllers, which then relay speed commands — via variable frequency drives — to the garage’s exhaust and supply fan motors, increasing and decreasing motor speeds in proportion to carbon monoxide readings.”

As NES points out, recent updates to California Energy Code required the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to upgrade mechanical ventilation systems at some of the city’s older garages, including the one at the Japan Center.

“With the NES system controlling it, the garage’s kilowatt demand has decreased considerably,” Rich Hashimoto, corporate manager of the Japan Center Garage Corporation and president of the Japantown Merchants Association said in the NES announcement. “Our estimates show the NES system will actually reduce our building operation costs by more than $5,000 from the prior year.”

Golden Gateway Garage in San Francisco, which NES commissioned in July 2016, has consistently produced energy savings between 90% and 93%, the company says. Last August, NES announced that its system at the San Francisco City and County Sutter-Stockton garage had achieved 96% energy savings.

One of the major sources of energy consumption and operational cost for an enclosed garage is the mechanical ventilation system, NES Founder and President Frank Nagle told Energy Manager Today. Due to drawbacks in traditional ventilation systems, an increasing number of states are revising their energy code requirements for ventilating commercial garages, he added.

“California, Washington and Oregon now require continuous ventilation in the garage even when a carbon monoxide sensor system is in place,” Nagle says. “These states have placed a heavy emphasize health and safety while recognizing the ability of innovation to further the capacity of control systems to save energy while improving operational efficiencies.”

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