ZDS Design/Consulting Services and Facility Dynamics Engineering worked with General Motors (GM) Corporation’s Worldwide Facilities Group on the Retro-Commissioning Program for GM’s North American Facilities. GM is comprised of over 350 million square feet of plant facilities spread out over 160 plants. The first phase of the program involved the challenge of analyzing the HVAC systems within nine existing plants to determine deficiencies and opportunities to improve comfort, IAQ, extend the life of existing equipment, and reduce operating costs.
The nine plants are located in Ohio, Wisconsin, Maryland, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana and Toronto, Canada. The retro-commissioning pilot projects showed that an annual savings in millions of dollars could be saved annually through reduced energy and operating costs by implementing a one-time, multi-million-dollar program of HVAC upgrades, repairs and new components. Additionally, millions of dollars are saved through the deferred capital costs realized for up to 10-15 years.
Some typical improvements included reactivating proper HVAC control strategies, reducing outdoor air when allowable, installing building automation systems, HVAC equipment repair/replacement, documenting existing conditions, and establishing a consistent overall operating strategy. HVAC plans for each plant were developed to provide GM with existing system drawings, to identify capital projects and assist GM in prioritizing potential projects to meet GM overall standards. The projects involved working cooperatively with union personnel and meeting difficult construction phasing requirements that, if performed incorrectly, could shut down production and cost GM millions in lost revenue. The retro-commissioning program’s work expanded as GM continued to realize the value from the program that helped them operate their facilities more efficiently and effectively.