U of Iowa picks Rockwell for energy-saving apps

Feb. 11, 2010

MILWAUKEE — The University of Iowa has selected Rockwell Automation to help optimize energy consumption across its 1,900-acre campus. The Rockwell Software energy-generation solution from Rockwell Automation will facilitate university staff in determining optimal production levels for the campus’s steam, chilled water and electricity generation facilities to help reduce energy consumption, costs and environmental impact.

"As part of the University of Iowa’s overall energy-reduction strategy, the Rockwell Software solution helps in our efforts to provide a secure, reliable supply of energy and utilities at the lowest possible cost while taking into account overall environmental impact. We look forward to working with Rockwell Automation to implement a truly cutting-edge solution," said Glen Mowery, director of Utilities and Energy Management, University of Iowa.

The university rolled out one of its energy and sustainability initiatives with the implementation of a Rockwell Automation campus energy-management solution in 2009 to monitor real-time building energy consumption and predict future energy demand. The second phase of the project will focus on optimizing the university's supply of energy. The new solution will help determine, based on current conditions, the ideal levels of utility production at the university's central power plant based on the emissions parameters and overall facility operating costs.

"The campus energy-management solution adds further valuable awareness of energy consumption to facilities management staff at the University of Iowa," said Ralph Carter, president of Rockwell Software, Rockwell Automation. "By linking energy-demand information with cost-optimized supply information from the utility plant, Rockwell Automation will be able to show staff both sides of the supply and demand equation, helping the university to achieve a projected 1 percent to 2 percent of total energy savings within the first 12 months after implementation."

The cost-optimized application will create a model that helps optimize production for each of the university’s 16 chillers, six boilers and three steam turbine units. The model has the unique ability to find an energy-production solution that offers the lowest cost of operation with the least environmental impact rather than solving for one parameter or the other. A breakthrough technology helps the model to self-maintain, significantly reducing the total cost of ownership of the application. The software recognizes deviations of process parameters used in the model and can automatically retrain the optimization model to reflect new conditions in the utility plant.

In the future, the university will have the ability to link demand information generated by the campus energy-management solution with supply predictions from the cost-optimized, energy-generation solution to help operators make decisions that will improve the utility plant efficiency.