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CCG Automation, Inc. Reveals Strategies for Reducing Utility Cost

Posted on 4/9/2009

(Richfield, Ohio) April 2009 - Administrators and building managers across the region heard the message titled "Strategies for Reducing Utility Costs" at a recent seminar presented by CCG Automation, Inc. The event stressed the importance of controls and their impact on student performance, attendance and health.  CCG revealed many things to consider in the reduction of energy consumption including how temperature controls impact much more than the bottom line. "Controls have an impact on so many things," said Brian Wagner, President, of CCG Automation, Inc. "Temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, productivity, test scores, sick days, life of the building envelope, mold growth, yet they are still purchased strictly based on first cost. These factors are not taken into consideration."

In most construction projects the controls contractor is a subcontractor of the mechanical contractor. With that being said the controls selection process is solely in the hands of the mechanical and not the owners.  When you look at everything the control system impacts and the longevity of your building this process needs to be changed. Owners need to have more control in the selection process to avoid problems during and after the project. Wagner also suggested including the control company as part of the design team and showed many examples of how to do this and the positive impact of doing so.

Wagner outlined the typical school construction project as a process where lowest initial cost drives contracts without considering comfort, and apparent "bargains" can literally end up costing school districts millions of dollars in the long run with high utility cost, increased maintenance costs, and shortened building life. Attendees were shown samples of K-12 buildings that are operating at peak performance as certified by the EPA's ENERGY STAR program, including temperature, humidity, indoor air quality and light levels, with utility costs as low as $.67/ft2. 

The typical school bid process was compared to investing money based solely on how low a broker's fees are, with no attention paid to how much return you will get on your investment. It was pointed out that if you are investing money; you would not only consider fees but also portfolio performance, industry knowledge, ability to provide additional services, among other considerations. Wagner encouraged districts to handle the purchasing of their controls systems in a similar manner.  Look at the life cycle-cost of a building not just the initial investment.  Districts are realizing, after it is too late, the control's company that was selected by the mechanical contractor in the low bid process, may not have a desirable performance record. 

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