Ensuring constant, comfortable temperatures at a continuing-care retirement community that is home to more than 1,400 senior residents in 60 major buildings and facilities is a major challenge in any climate. Keeping energy costs down, especially in the heat and humidity of Florida summers, is an even greater feat.
Nevertheless, that was exactly the task facing energy managers at Shell Point, located on a 75-acre island at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River on the coast of southwest Florida. Annual energy costs at the community had reached as high as $1 million. Complicating the situation was the fact that, after many years in operation, HVAC equipment was beginning to show signs of age, resulting in inefficiencies that were only leading to greater costs.
Improvements in equipment and distribution systems were definitely called for, says Robert Stonner, assistant facilities operations director. Stonner, along with operations director Robert Southern, manages a staff of 80 whose primary mission is to "keep everything perfect here for our residents without anyone knowing otherwise."
A series of extensive energy audits and analysis studies was initiated by Florida Power & Light …