Case Study
ConservationWise from Xcel EnergySM
Datacard Group’s investment makes its employees—and its energy bills—a lot more comfortable
Adding energy controls increases building efficiency
Datacard Group provides secure identification and card personalization
solutions to companies, governments and institutions around the world.
The company’s 223,000-sq.-ft. Minnetonka, Minn., facility houses approximately 700 people, 500 in office environments and 200 in light assembly
and warehousing work areas. With such diverse work areas, one of
Doug McKibben’s first tasks as director of infrastructure, was to
address building comfort.
First Step: Identify the problem
McKibben, whose job includes the facility manager role, surveyed
employees and found that some groups lost productivity when their
work areas were warm and stuffy. In order to improve all areas of their
indoor building environment, McKibben evaluated existing heating,
cooling and ventilation (HVAC) systems and components, as well as
lighting equipment and controls. As he studied ways to improve air
temperature and quality to help improve productivity, he also looked
at options for central monitoring and an energy management system to
help reduce electricity costs.
Second step: Identify which systems need new controls
McKibben started by analyzing the building’s HVAC system, which
operated 24 hours a day regardless of building occupancy or activity.
The analysis identified outdated central-plant controls; make-up air
units and cooling towers that had stand-alone, single-speed start/stop
controls set to maintain 72- to 74-degree temperatures. The controls
didn’t schedule on/off times or provide any options for central monitoring, demand limiting, load rolling or nightly shutdown.
Step three: Install an EMS to connect and control systems,
improving performance and energy efficiency
After analyzing the situation and data, McKibben determined that an
energy management system (EMS) would allow him to move from oneto-one stand-alone controls and thermostats to a common platform.
He said the beauty of the energy management system was that they
didn’t have to replace equipment, just operate it more efficiently. The
energy management system had the potential to increase comfort and
employee productivity with the added benefit of significant energy savings.
What is an energy management system?
An energy management system (EMS), or a
building automation system, automatically
controls and monitors systems in different types
of buildings. An EMS can control one or more
buildings at a time, as well as constantly monitor multiple systems for potential problems. The
most commonly controlled systems include:
lighting, ventilation, cooling, heating, process,
temperature control strategies, peak demand
control and security.
beauty of the energy management system was
“ The
that they didn’t have to replace equipment, just
operate it more efficiently.
Total system cost
Xcel Energy rebate
O&M cost avoidance
Peak demand savings
260 kW
Estimated annual energy savings
Estimated payback period
Less than 4 years
Business Solutions Center 1-800-481-4700 | xcelenergy.com/rebates
While analyzing Datacard Group’s building, the controls provider
and an Xcel Energy account manager evaluated the lighting system.
Because a lighting control system was not functioning, a large portion
of their lighting system was operating 24 hours a day. Adding lighting
controls to the EMS resulted in significant energy savings by turning
off the lighting system at least six hours a day during the work week
and 20 hours over the weekend.
A new energy management system featured direct digital controls for
the following systems:
• Two lighting control panels
Control your equipment for energy savings and improved
Datacard Group’s energy management system is a great example of
how our conservation programs help Minnesota business customers
install technology that benefits your bottom line.
Call your account manager or our Business Solutions Center at
1-800-481-4700 for more information or visit xcelenergy.com/
See the Efficiency Controls application for official program details,
rules and requirements.
• HVAC system that includes 148 individual heat pumps, four loop
pumps, make-up air conditioning, 16 exhaust fans, variablefrequency drives, cooling towers and three boilers
• Kitchen ventilation system that includes gas-fired make-up, two
hoods and a CO2 monitoring system
Results: Significant savings from the controls
Datacard Group’s new energy management system connects the
building’s systems, manages their operations and resolves employees’
comfort complaints. An impressive $50,000 (nearly 9 percent) in
annual energy savings, plus Xcel Energy’s rebate means that the
improvements will pay for themselves in less than four years.
“Installing an energy management system is a smart business
decision,” says McKibben. In addition to providing significant energy
savings, it’s easier to run systems for peak performance. Since the
energy management system notifies operators instantly when, where
and why there is a problem, the end result is less diagnostic time
and shorter downtime.
Install building controls, earn a rebate
As part of our Efficiency Controls program, by
ConservationWise from Xcel EnergySM, we’ll
look at your project to determine a cash rebate
amount that corresponds to the energy-savings
potential of your system. Systems that save more
energy earn higher rebates. All Efficiency
Controls rebates require preapproval prior
to purchase or installation.
In addition to dollar savings, Datacard Group’s new energy
management system provides:
• Ability to manage systems to meet occupants’ expectations
• Improved comfort and air quality for occupants, resulting in
productivity gains in all areas
• Full monitoring, control and scheduling of facility equipment
• Central controls that allow demand limiting, load rolling or nightly
shutdown, leading to additional energy savings
• Instant visibility of failed systems prior to occupant awareness
• Extended life of systems due to reduced run-time
• Energy savings that increase as energy prices rise
414 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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Northern States Power Company - Minnesota d/b/a Xcel Energy
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