The Case for ECMs: How Upfront Investments Yield Big Returns

ECM’s or Energy Conservation Measures, have the ability to bring big returns to building operating budgets, if correctly implemented and maintained. This was the case for the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill – in 2014, GHT Limited’s Operations and Energy Services (OES) team partnered with the Hyatt’s building engineering team to perform an energy analysis study and identify ECMs to save on the hotel’s operating costs.

The Problem

Being a hotel, the property required 24/7 operations. The existing heating plant for the property consisted of two 18-million-BTU fire tube boilers, which provided hot water for both space heating and domestic water heating. Domestic water heating was achieved via hot water generator storage tanks, which were fueled by the boiler’s hot water. These aging boilers were problematic for the building, requiring frequent (and expensive) maintenance which also caused downtime that negatively impacted hotel operations.

Using Energy Modeling To Predict the Future

GHT Limited’s OES team produced an energy model of the building to predict the effects of replacing the existing fire tube boilers with an array of condensing 3-million-BTU Aerco Benchmark boilers. GHT also modeled scenarios where the domestic hot water generator tanks were replaced with thermostatically controlled Aerco “smart” plate and frame heat exchangers.

Our energy model predicted a 31% energy usage improvement with the installation of these ECM’s. This 31% improvement, demonstrated against the 5-year historical energy usage of the existing plant and backed by model data, provided the financial incentive the Hyatt Regency team needed to move forward with the project.

The Results

After completing the work in 2014, the GHT team, together with Aerco, monitored energy usage of the plant via a remote station. After observing a 24-month period (2015-2016) of automated control following testing and balancing of the systems, the ECM’s implemented have resulted in actual annual energy savings of 27% vs. the building’s 5-year historical average.

Interested in having your property evaluated? Curious about how energy modeling can help predict future operational expenses? Contact our Operations & Energy Services team today to set up a building survey and look forward to saving on your building’s bottom line in 2018!

Matt FitzGerald, PE, is a Senior Associate and Lead Mechanical Engineer with GHT’s Operations & Energy Services Studio, which supports owners, engineers and property managers throughout the building’s lifecycle. Matt is responsible for performing feasibility assessments, studies, building energy models and providing project management services across a wide variety of projects. He can be reached at