4-Year Energy Upgrade in Ghausi

ghausi cover

The Energy & Controls Team finished a 4-year energy upgrade in Ghausi Hall. 

In 2013 the Energy & Controls team from the Energy Conservation Office started a project in Ghausi Hall that would reduce its long-term energy usage. This project involved a one-year observation period, a 2-year installation of new energy saving technology throughout the building, and a 9 month period of post- installation energy monitoring.

Our primary goals for this project were to:
  • improve building efficiency
  • improve occupant comfort
  • improve the building's financial well-being 

This project was the pilot for our in-house continuous commissioning services and process. The techniques utilized and the performance improvements implemented can now serve as a foundation for implementing similar projects in other buildings. 

Ghausi Hall: Background

Built in 1999, Ghausi Hall is has an area of 66,462 sq.ft, with 67% lab space and 33% office space.  The ground floor has several high-tech labs, many of which need special equipment and temperature requirements.

ghausi overview


"During our initial analysis phase, our team aimed to uncover potential opportunities and establish baselines to measure the future performance improvement. After extensive investigation and analysis of the building, our team identified several items as opportunities to save energy."  

— Sam Cole, Energy Engineer


These energy-saving opportunities included:

  • Thermostat set points were irregular and control sequences were not optimized for energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Equipment was running when nobody was in the building, and more than necessary when the building was occupied.
  • The HVAC control equipment for laboratories and offices was outdated.


    Ghausi Gets a Tune-Up

    After our review of Ghausi Hall and identifying operation inefficiencies, our team started to develop solutions based on industry best practices and customized to the specific needs of Ghausi Halls.

    Justin and Sweta
    Optimizing Ghausi Hall involved getting our hands dirty (Justin Lewis preparing to install a flow meter, left) and in-depth investigation of building automation systems (Sweta Agarwal analyzing HVAC data, right).


    The end result was nearly 20 different building improvements developed by our team of energy engineers and HVAC controls analysts. Our team:

    • Provided equipment that allowed our systems to operate more efficiently
    • Reprogrammed the building HVAC systems to flow and condition air only when it was needed
    • Modified the building to facilitate better troubleshooting and maintenance in the future


    wind tunnel test
    A 1:180 scale model of Ghausi Hall and surrounding buildings was used to determine safe exhaust stack speeds in different wind conditions

    We also received help and guidance from cutting edge wind analysis engineers and energy efficiency consultants. Our wind tunnel analysis enabled us to add variable speed motors to HVAC equipment and installed a wind measurement station to allow for dynamic control of lab exhaust stack velocities based on wind speed and direction




    Our Results: Total Energy Savings

    The Annual Energy Cost before the project totaled $207,000, while afterward the resulting was $152,000, an overall reduction of 22%.


    Our calculations show that the energy use after the implementation of our techniques produced energy savings equating to $44,100. 


    Ghausi Hall: Avoided Energy Use

    Line graph showing energy use before and after the implementation of the project.


    Still have questions? See the full report here: Ghausi's Energy Report (pdf).

    If you'd like to see Ghausi's energy use in real time, visit our energy dashboard and find it on the campus map! 

    Please contact Samuel Cole at secole@ucdavis.edu with the Energy and Controls team for more information on our building level energy-saving efforts on campus. 

    The Active Commissioning Enterprise (ACE) is a self-funding effort to leverage significant investment in campus building control systems over the past ten years and optimize building HVAC systems to eliminate energy waste.