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UCOP makes sustainable upgrades to the Oakland Franklin building

In 2020, the 1111 Franklin building in Oakland entered a period of low occupancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and UCOP’s building consolidation project. In partnership with UCOP Energy and Sustainability, the Franklin building engineering team, led by Tim Dowing, realized that it was the perfect time to make operational upgrades to the building’s HVAC systems — an infeasible project with a fully occupied building.

The HVAC system was operating inefficiently, consuming a significant amount of electricity and natural gas and emitting more greenhouse gas than necessary. The building’s boilers, which heat the air, and chillers, which cool it, were running simultaneously. The main air supply duct fans were running too fast, exceeding pressure targets and pushing excess air through the elevator shafts, causing the doors to stick.

Utilizing the building’s existing HVAC systems and controls, the Franklin building team focused on optimizing heating and airflow. They shifted primary heating from distributed heating coils to a single intake unit, which fed the building with outside air, and adjusted fan speeds to deliver necessary airflow without negatively impacting the building. After months of testing and controls adjustments, they were able to maintain high indoor air quality and comfort without running boilers during the hotter months. This has resulted in electricity savings and a massive drop in natural gas use, shrinking UCOP’s carbon footprint.

Electricity consumption

A timeline graphic shows that electricity consumption was reduced by nearly 56% at 1111 Franklin Street.

Natural gas consumption

A timeline graphic shows that natural gas consumption was reduced by nearly 52% at 1111 Franklin Street.

Congratulations to the project participants:

  • Darryl Brown, Assistant Director, Building and Administrative Service Center (BASC)
  • Tim Dowing, Chief Building Engineer, BASC
  • Bianca LaPaz, Operations Coordinator & Sustainability Lead, Energy and Sustainability

For questions, contact Bianca LaPaz.

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Comments ( 3 )

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  1. Maria Shanle November 8, 2022 Reply

    Great news! Thanks so much to Darryl, Tim and Bianca!

  2. Sarah Lisker November 8, 2022 Reply

    Great work and thank you, Darryl, Tim, and Bianca!

  3. Noelle Vidal November 8, 2022 Reply

    Great article, great news! Thank you.

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