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Archive for March 23, 2012

Excelling with Energy Dashboards

Many software programs come with dashboard features these days, and many facilities professionals fail to use this feature to the fullest potential.

What are dashboards, anyway?

Dashboards are a great way to turn raw data into actionable, presentable information that’s easy to share with others. The visualization dashboards provide can also be particularly effective and useful for tying several sets of data together and better impacting you bottom line.

Why should I, as a facility manager, use dashboards?

I’m sure you know that facilities are not perfect when it comes to operations and processes. Constant improvement and maintenance is necessary. Dashboards provide you with additional insight into the processes of your building, which in turn allow you to uncover new ways to make your facility run more efficiently.

What’s so special about dashboards?

The availability of intelligent instrumentation enable facility managers to extract much richer facility operational data than in the past. In the past, you may have integrated your data in a spreadsheet, and that spreadsheet may have even contained some pattern and trend visualizations thanks to spreadsheet tools. However, today’s dashboards take this visualization to the next level. Now you’re able to include multi-dimensional charts, time-series charts, gauges, and other displays, which make it easier for your audience to focus on key performance indicators.

Spring has Sprung: Schedule Your Seasonal Inspection

Depending on the contents of your service maintenance agreement, you may be due for a spring inspection. Spring inspections are vital to your system to prepare it for the cooling season. There’s nothing worse than system malfunctions with temperatures topping out in the 90s or 100s!

What should your service technician be inspecting?

The inspection of your outdoor condenser unit is most important and has the greatest significance of your cooling system. The technician should check for proper refrigerant levels; a system that is low on refrigerant will run for longer periods of time, consuming more energy. They should also inspect the system base pan for restricted drain openings, coil and cabinet, fan motor and fan blades for wear and damage, control box, associated controls and accessories, wiring, and connections.

Additional tasks your service technician may perform:

  • Installing gauges and checking operating pressures
  • Checking voltage and amperage to all motors
  • Checking air temperature drop across evaporator
  • Checking for adequate refrigerant charge
  • Looking for any visible signs of leaks
  • Oiling motors if needed
  • Checking belts and adjust tension (if needed)
  • Checking pressure switch cutout settings
  • Checking reversing valves
  • Adding 1lb. of R-22 or 410-A refrigerant (if applicable)
  • Checking all wiring and connections
  • Changing air filters
  • Checking electrical lockout circuits
  • Checking starting contractors
  • Cleaning condenser coil (if needed)
  • Checking and adjust thermostat
  • Checking air temperature across condenser
  • Checking that condensate drain is open
  • Checking and cleaning disconnect

During the spring isn’t the only time you should be worried about your HVAC system. Check out our e-book for 9 Tips to Keeping Your Mechanical Systems in Tip-Top Shape all year round!

If you’re in need of a preventative maintenance agreement, please contact us to ensure your systems are all set for the coming months!

Bruner Makes List of Top gridSMART Solution Providers

AEP Ohio’s gridSMART program proved greatly beneficial to our customers in the year 2011. Bruner submitted 60 rebate applications and earned our customers more than $300,000 in incentives. We look forward to topping those numbers in the year 2012!

gridSMART Solution Provider Infographic

Phase Out of T12 Lamps

It’s finally happened: T12 lamps will be phased out of production starting July 2012. This has been a long time coming since the U.S. Department of Energy’s fluorescent lighting mandate stopped the production of the magnetic ballasts most commonly used for the operation of T12 lamps in July 2010.

The Good News

There is large energy savings when switching from T12 to T8 lamps – up to 33% in energy costs per fixture. Even better news is that if you make the switch before July, AEP’s gridSmart program offers rebates for switching from T12 to T8 or T5 lights.

How to Prepare

Begin discussing your options for replacing your T12 lights. If you complete the T12 project or get the pre-approval in before July and then you have 90 day to complete.

Need Help?

Contact us! We can assist you in replacing your T12 lamps, and evaluating your energy consumption in the process. There may be even more savings out there for you!
If you’ve already switch out your T12 lights, check out our commercial energy savings e-book for more tips to decrease your energy consumption and your utility bills!

Supporting our Soldiers

During the month of February, Bruner employees came together to gather donations for Josh Hughes, a service technician for Bruner, and his unit currently serving in Afghanistan.
“The response from Bruner employees has been impressive,” said Renna Schafler who organized the effort, “and the encouragement I have received from the places I went to help make this happen was humbling.”


The thirty-seven soldiers will receive multiple boxes containing the following items and then some:

  • Baby wipes
  • Book lights (donated by Staples)
  • Safety glasses
  • Candy and gum
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Body wash
  • Books (sold at a reduced rate by a local Half Price Books store owner)
  • Games
  • Fire-proof gloves (donated by Air Gas)
  • Coffee
  • Lotion
  • Pen and paper (donated by Staples)

This effort was so successful in part because of the generosity of Bruner employees, the great community support we received, and a few great coupon-clippers. Bruner employee’s Renna Schafler, Leslie Brungarth, LeeAnn Lynn, and Sarah Campbell combined efforts and used their coupon-savvy to turn an $85 donation into $300 worth of items to be sent overseas.

“The feeling of pride has washed over me countless times during this experience,” said Schafler. “To know we are supporting our troops and one of our own coworkers in the way we have is extraordinary.”

A huge thanks to all that contributed!