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55 West Monroe

Retro-Commissioning (RCx)
Project Photo
PROJECT SNAPSHOT: Multi-Tenant Office Tower
Energy-saving improvements
  • Fan optimization
  • Electric heat schedule setback
  • Supply air temperature optimization
  • Chilled water temperature reset
Estimated annual savings 755,400 kWh
ComEd Energy Efficiency Program Incentive $74,713
Implementation cost $28,300
Estimated annual electric cost savings $64,000
Estimated payback after incentives Less than 6 months

Project Summary

In 2009, 55 West Monroe in downtown Chicago became one of approximately 20 sites that underwent an expert building analysis provided by the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program.

An RCx study conducted by an Energy Efficiency Service Provider (service provider) identified improvements to building operations that reduced energy consumption and increased the comfort of the building's occupants. The support of building management and engineering staff from Jones Lang LaSalle, the building's on-site property management company, was crucial to the success of the project.

“The program provided us with the guidance and incentives we needed to conduct a thorough analysis of the energy-using systems at 55 West Monroe,” said Ann Montilla, general manager, Jones Lang LaSalle. Montilla added, “When we factored in the amount of money saved by reducing the building’s energy demands and the incentives received through the program, we expect to recoup these costs in less than a year.”

The Opportunity

Originally constructed in 1979, the multi-tenant office tower consists of approximately 803,000 square feet on 40 floors with service areas that feature two mechanical equipment floors, a basement and a loading dock. Its exterior wall construction consists largely of painted aluminum panels and windows of tinted, insulated glass attached to an aluminum curtain-wall frame system.

The building is an all-electric facility that consumes approximately 13.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. Cooling is provided by two electric centrifugal water-cooled chillers and a six-cell cooling tower, all of which are located in the building’s mechanical penthouse. Space heating is provided by a perimeter system that uses electric baseboard heaters.

Implementation And Changes

Once the building was accepted into the program, the service provider performed an RCx study and found low-cost energy efficiency opportunities through fan optimization, electric heat schedule setback, supply air temperature optimization and chilled water temperature reset. Following a review process, measures were implemented by the building’s engineering staff and their chosen contractors. The service provider returned to verify installation and confirm actual energy savings.

Results And Project Benefits

The implemented measures provide annual electrical savings of 755,400 kWh, with a monthly peak demand reduction of 26 kW. Meter level analysis shows that whole-building energy consumption is down 14 percent compared to the same period last year, even when corrected for weather and occupancy changes. Savings are even more significant at the air handlers, where meters show energy consumption is down 31 percent.

“ComEd and the service provider were both excellent partners in this project. Their efforts were important in enabling 55 West Monroe to maintain one of the lowest operating expense levels among major buildings in the City of Chicago.”

Ty Spearing
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