The Detroit Institute of Arts was Awarded for the 2021 Battle of the Buildings Competition in the Education Category

Established in 1885, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) stood at its original location on Jefferson Avenue until 1927, when it moved to its current location on Woodward Avenue due to expansion. The building underwent two major renovations, one in the 1960s and 70s, when north and south wings were added to the original structure, and the second from 1999 to 2007, with another large expansion. The now 658,000 square foot building includes over 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory.

“The goal was to make our building as green as possible,” said Director of Building Operations Cedric Alexander. “The museum joined the Detroit 2030 District, learned about best practices for sustainability through webinars and collaborated with other building owners.” They then partnered with Energy Sciences, a partner of DTE Retro Commissioning (DTE RCx)  to achieve several energy cost savings initiatives over the past two years. They adjusted, repaired and/or added a differential enthalpy economizer control in all 11 of their air handler units (AHUs) logic to become a part of each unit’s loop and sequence. The calibration of existing temperature and humidity sensors was checked and remediated, as necessary. It was then used to calculate enthalpy for comparison between outside air and return air to determine the use of favorable outside air conditions during the cooling mode. Additionally, they were able to take the chillers offline and control the environment using free cooling. Secondly, they implemented a static pressure set-back during unoccupied times on 9 AHUs. The Building Automation System (BAS) programming was revised to add static pressure reset to control fan speed. The new sequence of operations approved by the DIA added a separate time of day schedule so that each air handler can use a single point static pressure setpoint for a portion of the day, and a new static pressure reset for another designated portion of day, usually during unoccupied times. A steam trap survey was also conducted as part of the DTE’s RCx program. The team identified a total of 325 steam traps and tested 286. Of those tested 71 failed to open and were replaced.

The overall implementation cost was $58,489. Annual Energy Savings for Electric and Gas [kBtu/yr] was 22,350,407 resulting in an Annual Energy Savings of $64,739 or 14.9%. The total Savings Adjusted Implementation Cost was $56,822. For example, the replacement cost for the failed steam traps was $9,000 which is providing approximately $26,000 gas cost savings per year. In total, the turnaround time for the entire process was two years, from the investigation through implementation.

With the DIA’s vision to “be the town square of our community, a gathering place for everybody,” they set out on a mission to curate experiences that help each visitor find personal meaning in art, individually, and their community members. This project is aligned with their 2016 - 2021 Strategic Plan’s Goal #4 Facility and Neighborhood Presence: to improve and maintain the building, ground, and amenities in order to enhance the visitor experience and neighborhood. Currently, they are converting their electric power from PLD to DTE. When completed, they will experience fewer power bumps, brown outs, and power surges. Cleaner and more stable power will help minimize equipment failures and replacements, which is a major cost savings. In the future, they will continue to find additional energy efficiency and sustainability projects.

We were very excited to celebrate the accomplishments of the Detroit Institute of Arts at our 8th annual Michigan Energy Summit on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 where they were awarded in the Education Category!