YWS America Earns Energy Star

Microgrid Principal Marc Lopata recently certified the YWS America corporate office in Las Vegas, Nevada. The offices span just over 9,000sf, and received a score of 79 on the Energy Star Rating System.

Although the building was originally designed with several inherently sustainable qualities, YWS recognized that there would be several challenges that would need to be met in order to earn the ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance. Prior to establishing any energy efficiency strategies, the building was retro-commissioned to ascertain and document the actual condition of all systems within the building. YWS discovered that the actual structure of the building had been built in a sustainable manner, and modifications should only be performed to reduce energy use or to produce renewable energy.

To determine which modifications should be made, the YWS team conducted an analysis of the current mechanical system and evaluated options to modify and/or replace its units. They discovered that the building’s mechanical system, initially provided as a design-build contract, was very inefficient. Based on the available data, they concluded that it would be impossible to modify the mechanical units to meet the current minimum energy efficiency required, while it would be cost-prohibitive to replace them with higher efficiency rated units. As a result, YWS began to analyze options for improving lighting efficiencies and incorporating renewable energy production to offset the inefficient mechanical units.

During the analysis phase, the team discovered that lighting energy usage accounted for about 30 percent of the total energy used by the building. To reduce this consumption, the entire lighting system was upgraded to low wattage LED lamps and low wattage fluorescent tubes. This helped to reduce the power consumption by 50,000 kwh annually, as well as eliminated the indirect heating load caused by the 150 incandescent lamps that were removed. To achieve additional energy reduction, a 28-panel five-kilowatt AC photovoltaic system was installed on the roof. This system also utilizes a micro-inverter technology which allows for individual control of each panel as well as online monitoring and alerts. This collector will produce 10 percent of the building’s annual energy needs.

Congratulations to YWS America on their accomplishment! You can read more information about the building at Energy Star’s website.