Case Studies

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

Going green never felt so good

Every day Albert Fiacco looks at the shiny plaque on his wall and smiles.  

Winning the 2018 Energy Project of the Year from the government of Ontario and the industry conference Energy into Action is a point of pride for Fiacco, the director of facilities at Boston-based integrated facilities provider C&W Services. 

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

Albert Fiacco | Director of Facilities | C&W Services

It also makes him feel good about the positive environmental impact the company is making globally. And yes, on a personal level it’s  great, too.  

“In Canadaa country gaining increased attention for its sustainability effortswinning this was an honor that’s reserved only for the most ambitious and forward-facing initiatives,” Fiacco says of the $4.6 million project he spearheaded. “It feels great to be recognized for that.”  

Facing facts

C&W Services was first approached by Cosmetica—a cosmetic manufacturing company—in 2016 for an HVAC overhaul at its 245,000-square-foot headquarters.  

As Fiacco tells it, Cosmetica executives wanted to redesign the entire production floor, while also re-engineering the site’s mechanical infrastructure. The facilities and its equipment from the mid-1980s were tired and costing the business a lot of money to operate and repair. 

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

“The hydro bills alone were excessive,” he says. With C&W Services having a long history of providing energy management services, our Mississauga [Ontario] office was a natural partner to make these improvements. 

The goal was to replace the dated HVAC infrastructure and supporting equipment while also improving the efficiency of lightingrooftop equipment, compressed air and HVAC controls. Drilling down into the project’s requirements was daunting, however. 

As Fiacco explains, Cosmetica needed to replace three outdated rooftop air handlers while separating the air streams among departmentspotentially contaminating cosmetics production. Working with its preferred HVAC partnerNorthern Air Technology SystemsC&W Services proposed a solution with 11 smaller high-efficiency air handlersnine highefficiency rooftop HVAC units; a new building cooling tower and water boiler for humidificationplus a newly-integrated HVAC control system to further optimize operations. 

Cosmetica also requested a replacement air compressor system which prompted redesign of piping to eliminate plant air leaks. In addition, it had to install a compressed air storage tank with a flow controller and then commission a variable speed air compressor, half of the original size 

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

By working with Varilume, C&W Services was able to replace hundreds of plant and warehouse fluorescent light fixtures with the latest LED lighting fixtures with remote control light level adjustmentcomplete with motion sensors. 

The project, finished in March 2018, took 18 months. But in the end, success.  

Fiacco says Cosmetica cut electricity costs by 45 percent and natural gas costs by 27 percenttranslating into $350,000 in annual savings.  

How did we get there?

The story had a better than happy ending, but how did C&W Services get there? 

Coming out of the gate, Fiacco describes a competitive bidding processwhich C&W Services won by submitting a proposal that was $1 million less than other engineering companies. 

What was Fiacco banking on? What made the difference? 

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

C&W Services tapped into three decades of experience and reengineered the cosmetic production departments with the right-sized highefficiency HVAC equipment, qualifying for significant incentives available from the Ontario government to suit Cosmetica’s needs and production schedules. His hunches and experience paid off. 

“We were forecasting Cosmetica would achieve a minimum of 25 percent saving on its electric bill and when it actually turned out to be 45 percent reduction we were thrilled,” Fiacco says.  

Those numbers were achieved by selecting the most energy-efficient machines possibleC&W Services also changed how the buildings were conditioned, switching from an expensive electric air handling system to more efficient gasfired perimeter heating in storage rooms and loading docks. Also, by replacing fluorescent lights with efficient LED models that were programmable and motion sensitiveelectrical costs on the lighting portion plummeted by 50 percent.

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

“We applied every energy-saving process in the book and also utilized our considerable purchasing power,” Fiacco says. 

All the while, production was going gangbustersIn fact, production increased by 30 percent as improvements were made. 

“We were committed to not being intrusive to their production schedule,” Fiacco says. During their inventory week we needed to work 18 hours a day for six days straight to catch up to our build schedule. And we did,” he says. 

Lucky strike

Fiacco earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta in 1985. Later, he earned certifications as an energy manager, auditor, verification professional and fellow member with the Association of Energy Engineers. He also earned a Gold Level distinction as a Canadian Sustainable Energy Practitioner from the Canadian Institute for Energy Training. 

Fiacco got a chance to put all of his knowledge into practice as a facilities manager at Delphax Technologies for seven years beginning in 1988Prior experience working on lighting, HVAC and mechanical room design projects as a senior facilities manager at Husky Injection Molding Systems were particularly beneficial. There he invested almost 15 years in the company starting in 1995.  

Albert Fiacco – C&W Services

Throughout my projects, my goal was to redesign buildings to work in a more integrated fashion, making each site more comfortable while reducing overall cost for our clients. That’s a huge motivator for mealong with making a notable improvement to the environment,” he says. 

As for that shiny award? 

“The power of it is that it gives us engineering credibility and underlineour professional capabilities in the area of building renovation,” Fiacco says. “When the energy savings can pay for the recapitalization of necessary building equipment, projects like this are a dream.” 

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