Patience, Tenacity and Innovative Thinking
BOC graduate Dino Gonzales is the lead facilities engineer for Philips Healthcare at the global company’s Bothell, Washington campus, a facility of 630,000 square feet dedicated to manufacturing, research, education, data housing and testing for Philips ultrasound machines. His enthusiasm and dedication to energy conservation projects prompted the local utility contact, energy engineer Alan Budman, at Snohomish PUD, to nominate him for the Better Bricks Award for Facility Manager/Operator of 2008. Based on Budman’s summation of his impressive body of project work, Gonzales did indeed win the award.
Over the last eight years he has collaborated with Snohomish PUD in the development of a dozen innovative efficiency projects, producing significant energy savings at the Philips Bothell Campus. Gonzales has initiated a variety of projects, among them: installation of lighting controls; replacement of older roof-top AC units with new energy-efficient units using variable-frequency-drives (VFD’s); and replacement of inefficient air compressors with a smaller air compressor, a cycling air dryer and more air storage capacity. Overall, the savings achieved amount to over 2,227,000 kWh per year, or over $153,000 at current rates.
Gonzales is most enthusiastic about his two latest projects, which account for close to a quarter of the total kWh savings: the installation of air-side economizers on Liebert computer room A/C units and the installation of Turbocor oil-less centrifugals on the first stage of two existing Mammoth A/C units.
The Turbocor project was quite a challenge for Snohomish P.U.D Energy Engineer Patrice Lundquist, who was responsible for extrapolating the potential savings of the project. After countless hours of calculations using meter data, she was able to produce an estimate of annual cost savings based on a significant improvement in part load performance with this technology. With SNOPUD picking up almost 50% of the project cost, the simple payback was 2.5 years.
The computer room was another issue. Keeping the room at acceptable temperature and humidity levels was costly. Since the computer room was on the second story of a two story building, Gonzales saw an opportunity to add air-side economizers to the existing computer room A/C units. The cooler climate in the Pacific Northwest allows for outside air “free cooling” most of the year. But it was expensive to install a system that would work effectively with the humidity limitations of computer room applications. After review of several proposals, Integrated Systems was the only firm with the advanced control strategy necessary to assure both temperature and humidity control based on outside air. Again P.U.D. picked up almost 50% of project costs resulting in a 2.6 year payback.
From idea to fruition, the project took two years, but that did not discourage Gonzales. “There are always problems, some financial, some logistical, some just trying to convince people it can be done. You just have to evaluate, find solutions – or people that can find solutions for you and your situation – and keep moving forward to your goal,” says Gonzales. And he does keep moving towards his energy efficiency goals.
Not only is Gonzales a BOC level I graduate, but he was in the very first BOC level II class – the first group to become level II certified. As Budman noted when nominating Gonzales for the Better Bricks Award, “Dino has developed a great working relationship with building occupants in all areas of the facility, from offices to production, R&D and IT. Through his thirteen years on site, he has earned a high degree of trust and credibility within his organization which allows him to gain management support for his ideas. He partners with vendors to develop innovative projects and gains occupant, management and utility support prior to implementing projects.
“Dino is a great spokesperson and example for the emerging role of the facilities engineer in energy efficiency project development.”