Meet the Honorees: April Guymon, Head of Monitor-Based Commissioning, ETC Group

by | Apr 22, 2022

The Environment+Energy Leader honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.

Meet April Guymon, director of monitor-based commissioning with ETC Group (Bernhard). “I think a lot about how to bring the magic of data analytics to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” she says.

As part of her job, April develops strategic plans for organizations to roll out and grow energy management programs. “I get to work directly with people in all levels of organizations, and especially love working directly with tehnicians. They are the people who have the most direct impact on building operations that affect energy consumption. I’ve learned that most energy conservation is done through human relationships rather  than relying on technology alone.”

Tell us about your biggest energy management challenge and how you are addressing it.

April Guymon: My current biggest energy management challenge is to get folks to shift their paradigm to using data to drive decisions. We are in an interesting time where modern technologies let us process large data sets to give us incredible insights that can drive best practices in real time. But it can be intimidating for many organizations to make this shift. I think the best way to address this is to take small steps. I am a big fan of pilot project implementations that demonstrate success that can then be built upon.

I especially enjoy mentoring new engineers and fostering real affection for buildings and the people who operate them. I also enjoy opportunities to give presentations to grown the community’s awareness of energy conseration best practices.

What was a successful project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share?

AG: My favortie project is Banner Health’s monitoring-based commissioning program. Banner Health did a small pilot on a single facility several years ago and have now grown their monitoring based commissioning program to accommodate approximately 30 facilities with stunning, sustained energy reductions. Traditional recommissioning projects take a large amount of resources to execute, and I recall how heartbreaking it was to see energy drift (increases) after all that work. Monitoring based commissioning is the secret weapon that provides a path to persistent energy savings.

Banner’s program is particularly special because it includes deployment of Climacheck, which is a refrigerant circuit data collection and diagnostic tool, on approximately 80 chillers. We have been able to monitor this data and identify issues with the chillers at a level and scale I am unaware is happening anywhere else. It has allowed Banner to more strategically deploy their chiller maintenance service provider to tackle issues well before they would have been identified. It’s incredible that these machines represent the largest electricity use in most facilities and their refrigerant operating data is typically not available or analyzed.

What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years? What challenges will the industry face and what technologies or organizational changes will overcome them.

AG: Machine learning is knocking at the door of commercial building energy efficiency. I think there are a lot of interesting applications for this to operate dynamic energy consuming systems under varying conditions. However, I think that the analytic tools that are available now are severely underused , partially due to the large mentality shift it requires and partially because the tools still require a sophisticated user. They are mostly tools built for engineers to use and that will need to change for larger uptake. Until these challenges are addressed, I don’ t think we will see machine learning and other step changes get adopted at the speed I’d like to see to address our climate crisis.

Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you and your work.

AG: Snowboarding. I grew up skiing with my dad. When I was in ninth grade I went to an after-school winter sports program and chose to take snowboarding lessons. I instantly fell in love and never went back to skiing. My dad would frequently joke about disowning me because of my decision to become a “knuckle-dragger.” On most winter weekends my family can be found on Utah’s beautiful slopes. Snowboarding helps fill me back up with fun and refreshes me so I can keep going at work. My love of the outdoors is also a big motivation for me to work in this industry. I want to contribute to preserving this beautiful Earth.

I read a lot, but the things that change me the most are not typically books about business or climeate change science. I love literature that give me moments of clarity on this human experience. I think engaging with works like this have the most power to grow us into better friends and peers in a professional environement. Recent list of good reads include: Thich Nhat Hanh’s “No Death, No Fear,” and Samantha Harvey’s “The Western Wind” and Hilary Mantel’s “The Mirror and the Light.”


Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E Honorees today.


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