Energy Efficiency Markets Industry Guest Blog


Become an Industry Guest  |  Guest Blog  |  Guest Resources  |  Guest Listing  |  Home

This blog is a forum for Energy Efficiency Markets Industry Guests to post their latest perspectives on the booming energy efficiency market. Become an Industry Guest of Energy Efficiency Markets and post your blogs here. Gain access to our highly targeted energy efficiency audience through our weekly Energy Efficiency Markets Newsletter.

From TIP Capital

 

TIP Capital and ecoInsight have aligned their resources to present building owners with a competitive financing alternative to upgrade their properties to the latest energy efficient lighting technology while reducing their monthly utility costs.

 

More than $1.6 billion in energy retrofit upgrades occurred last year through financing versus a straight cash sale, said Sean McCloskey, CEO of ecoInsight. “TIP Capital’s flexible financing program was integrated into our mobile application to fulfill the growing demand in the marketplace and provide an efficient energy auditing and quoting tool for energy professionals to present budget-friendly upgrades to building owners.”

 

“Our iPad-to-cloud solution allows building sales professionals to efficiently conduct electrical and lighting audits, develop energy efficiency recommendations and generate financially-driven energy upgrade proposals,” he added. “Now, with our partnership with TIP Capital, our users also can generate a professional financing proposal and credit application for their customer.”

 

“Our main goal was to make it easy for our users to estimate financing payments and the associated impact on the cash flows of the energy upgrade project. Now, with a few clicks of the mouse, users are able to offer their customers an alternative to a large upfront ‘cash’ sale.”

 

“With access to this easy-to-use integrated financing solution and the obvious need in the energy efficiency market, ecoInsight and TIP Capital provide a competitive program to satisfy all parties involved – especially the project owner,” said Ross Reida, Vice President, National Accounts, TIP Capital Specialty Markets Group. “We believe this partnership will provide both energy professionals and building owners with an easy-to-use, affordable financing alternative that helps overcome budgetary constraints.”

 

For more information on ecoInsight’s innovative building energy audit software, visit www.ecoInsight.com. For information on TIP Capital’s financing programs, visit www.tipcapital.com.

Share

By Onset Computer

 

Employee productivity is affected by indoor environmental conditions at the workplace, and temperature is often a major factor. In fact, according to a 2009 survey by the International Facility Management Association, the most common comfort complaints expressed by office workers pertain to temperature. It seems that in any work environment – whether an industrial plant, office park, or hospital – at one point or another some employees will report being too hot and/or some will report being too cold.

 

Potential dollars lost in productivity due to employee discomfort can be substantial. With salaries typically making up more than 90% of the total operating cost of a commercial building, even tiny increases in employee productivity can mean a lot to the organization’s bottom line. A 2004 study by the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory revealed that raising office temperature to a more comfortable range can save employers approximately two dollars per worker per hour, which translates to $200,000 yearly for a company of 50 employees.

 

Today, many building managers and owners are looking to increase energy efficiency, often making changes to their facility that can lead to comfort complaints. Actions such as installing sun screens, moving thermostats, altering day and night set points, and overall building recommissioning can affect occupant comfort, and therefore complaints may increase after these changes are implemented.

 

Although it can be challenging for any facility manager to juggle the various factors to consider when evaluating worker comfort – including the season, the clothing worn by individuals, whether workers are sedentary at their desks or moving about the room, and simple variation in temperature preferences – ASHRAE Standard 55 can serve as a guide. Standard 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, addresses the range of indoor thermal environmental conditions acceptable to a majority of occupants. It also describes and quantifies how air temperature, relative humidity, air flow, and occupant activity and clothing together create an indoor thermal environment.

 

Before determining the possible root cause of a comfort complaint (e.g., lack of proper zoning, poor workspace design, solar gain) and taking corrective action, facilities managers first must establish whether the subject area is in fact too hot or too cold.

 

To validate temperature-related comfort complaints, an increasing number of facilities managers and HVAC contractors rely on battery-powered data loggers. Data loggers are low-cost compact devices that incorporate high accuracy sensing, recording, and battery power in a self-contained package.

 

Data loggers can employ sensors that measure temperature, relative humidity, light, and other parameters, and they monitor and record data at user-defined intervals (minutes, hours, or days) and can collect data for months at a time. Many temperature loggers are small enough to be placed in out-of-the-way locations where they can gather information in a workspace without being seen or disturbed. They can also be used over and over again, so the investment in a few data loggers can pay off big, even in a large facility.

 

Continue reading here

 

Share

By David Pospisil, Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program

 

Buildings represent a large percentage of all the energy consumed in the United States. That’s why increasing the energy efficiency of buildings – especially existing ones – has become a major priority for many cities throughout the country. In addition to enhancing overall quality of life, transforming commercial and industrial properties combats climate change and fosters innovation that ultimately strengthens our economy.

 

This push for high-performance buildings has created a market ripe with innovations in building technology. Building technologies such as high-efficiency replacement motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), lighting and controls for heating and cooling equipment are rapidly improving.

 

As these technologies continue to advance at an enormous pace, so must our approach to keeping building systems optimized and efficient. Keeping abreast of building technology has become much like staying on top of a business’ IT infrastructure. We don’t wait 10 years to upgrade computers because the technology improves at exponential rates. The same concept applies to building systems today. The longer a business waits to upgrade, the more that business ends up paying down the road.

 

The good news is that capital costs for energy-efficiency upgrades are declining and incentives are available to help businesses make smart investments in energy efficiency. In New York City and Westchester County, for example, commercial and industrial customers with a Con Edison electric or natural gas account may be eligible for the following incentives from Con Edison’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program:

 

  • Payment of up to 50% of costs, with a cap of $67,000, for a Level 3 energy audit
  • Rebates for high-efficiency electric and gas equipment including lighting fixtures and LED exit signs, packaged heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, motors, chillers, and water and steam boilers
  • Performance-based custom incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment or energy-saving solutions not eligible for equipment rebates

 

The Con Edison Green Team has an energy efficiency program available for almost every customer. To learn more about the Commercial and Industrial program or to find out which program is right for you, call the Green Team at 1-877-860-6118 or visit www.conEd.com/greenteam.

 

David Pospisil is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. You can join the discussion on LinkedIn (Con-Edison-Commercial-Industrial), Facebook (ConEd Green Team C&I), Twitter (ConEd Green Team C&I) and YouTube (ConEd Green Team C&I).

Share

By Ann Arney, an Energy Efficiency Specialist at CLASS 5 Energy in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

 

I don’t need anyone to tell me to turn off the lights.

We do that already.

We can save energy on our own.

Energy plans are expensive.

 

We’ve heard it all – behavior based energy efficiency is still a growing field, and with limited information, it can be hard to understand just what it involves.  Many organizations want to be more energy efficient, but hiring expensive consultants or doing a lot of building modification just isn’t in the budget.

 

Behavior based energy efficiency plans focus on the people, not the equipment.  By looking at energy use as something you, and the people around you can control, your organization can start seeing savings almost immediately.

 

Here are our top four myths about behavior based energy plans – BUSTED!

 

I can’t afford an energy plan of any kind.

An energy project’s “simple payback,” or how many years it will take to pay for itself, has been a standard way to measure energy investments for years. Behavior-based energy efficiency plans provide some of the highest ROIs because the strategies for reducing energy use and costs are generally no- or low-cost.  Choices like turning off lights, resetting thermostats and changing IT computer settings are completely free ways to positively affect your bottom line.  And while you can identify these strategies on your own, the most successful behavior change programs rely on a sustainable process like the CLASS 5 Plan to ensure ongoing buy-in and participation. If your organization spends $100,000 per year on utility bills (gas, electric, water, oil), you can repay the a behavior plan like CLASS 5’s in one year by reducing energy use only 4%.  Don’t believe it?  Start with the temperature – for each 1° F that you adjust your thermostat; you can save 1% of your heating and cooling costs.

 

I don’t need a behavior plan if I am investing in new equipment.

New equipment is exactly why you do need a behavior plan! Your boilers and air conditioners can have the highest ENERGY STAR® ratings possible, but if the systems they support are not running properly, are not calibrated, or are left to run even when the spaces they serve are not occupied, you will never see those savings. Building operators need the right information – and the support – that comes with being part of an organization-wide effort. Remember, ENERGY STAR labels guarantee that your equipment can run efficiently; behavior plans ensure that they will.

 

Behavior-based energy efficiency plans don’t save that much energy.

Yes they do!  Energy is a controllable cost, and something that we use every day – no matter where we are, or what our organization looks like.  Behavior-based energy efficiency programs can reduce an organization’s energy use and cost by 5-10% in the first year – and the knowledge gained will position those savings to continue to build month after month, year after year.  Our own CLASS 5 Plan is proven to result in significant savings – but we are not the only ones.  One European study of universities resulted in a 9.5% change over 28 months.  Starbucks believes in behavior-based plans so much so that they are piloting it in 10 stores.  The State and Local Energy Efficiency Network has studied behavior and energy in residents, while the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sector studied it in military housing.  If the entire country changed just a few of their energy-use habits, the United States could save more 5 billion dollars per year!

 

Behavior-based plans are mostly about posters and tip sheets.

While it’s true that effective communications is a critical component of behavior-based energy efficiency plans, that is only the beginning. According to a report by ACEEE, successful energy behavior programs share several common strategies, including 1) setting the tone with the strong support of upper management, 2) building a team with a project committee and peer champions on board, 3) utilizing communication tools to reach target audiences, and 4) engaging building occupants by means of social norms, feedback, benign peer pressure and competition, as well as performance-linked rewards.

 

Behavior-based energy efficiency is based in psychology and the social sciences.  It uses an organizational change management process that helps to make energy efficiency the social default within an organization. Once that occurs, the sky’s the limit when it comes to energy savings. Roughly 41% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2010 was used in buildings. Energy behavior programs, which can play a significant role in improving building energy efficiency, remain largely absent from many companies’ sustainability programs.

 

What are people waiting for?  The cumulative effects of what each of us do can either do more harm or do more good – which choice is your organization going to make?

 

Ann Arney is an Energy Efficiency Specialist at CLASS 5 Energy in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. CLASS 5 is a consulting and development firm which helps organizations save energy through behavioral programs and tools.  Click here for information, and to contact CLASS 5 Energy.

 

Share

By David Pospisil, Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program

 

Natural gas is an efficient, safe, and reliable fuel source. It costs less than heating oil, and is one of the cleanest-burning fuels available. If you are not currently using natural gas in your building, converting to natural gas is a wise choice for property owners who want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the air quality in your community.

For buildings already using natural gas, there are ways to minimize equipment replacement costs, lower operating costs and enhance the overall value and infrastructure of your property. One way is to commission an energy efficiency study to evaluate your property’s energy use and learn how to increase its energy efficiency. Regular maintenance and tune-ups to natural gas heating systems, as well as upgrading to high-efficiency furnaces, boilers and controls are often worthy investments.

Federal, state or utility rebates and incentives can offset the cost of energy-efficiency upgrades and provide an attractive return on your investment. In New York City and Westchester County, for example, commercial and industrial customers with a Con Edison natural gas account may be eligible for the following incentives from Con Edison’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program:

  • Payment of up to 50% of costs, with a cap of $67,000, for an ASHRAE Level 3 energy audit
  • Rebates for high-efficiency gas equipment including furnaces, boilers, infrared heaters, heat exchangers, controls, process heating, system tune-ups, and pipe insulation
  • Performance-based custom incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment or energy-saving solutions not eligible for equipment rebates.

The Con Edison Green Team has an energy efficiency program available for almost every customer. To learn which program is right for you, call the Green Team at 1-877-860-6118 or visit www.conEd.com/greenteam.

David Pospisil is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. You can join the discussion on LinkedIn (Con-Edison-Commercial-Industrial), Facebook (ConEd Green Team C&I), Twitter (ConEd Green Team C&I) and YouTube (ConEd Green Team C&I).

Share

By David Pospisil, Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program

 

With summer upon us, now is the time for businesses to take steps to save energy before the temperature rises. Upgrading to high-efficiency cooling equipment and lighting are two ways businesses can use less energy and improve comfort this summer. Here are some specific tips to stay cool, save energy and keep energy costs under control.

 

Cooling Equipment

  • Upgrade air conditioning equipment with properly sized units that have a high energy efficiency ratio (EER)
  • Replace old motors with properly sized premium efficiency motors that operate at a lower annual cost
  • Install variable frequency drives (VFDs) on large motor loads to further reduce energy usage
  • Upgrade old chillers with new, energy-efficient units
  • Install an energy management system (EMS) that uses temperature set points and operating schedules to optimize climate control

 

Lighting & Lighting Controls 

  • Replace fluorescent lights that use magnetic ballasts with more efficient models using electronic ballasts
  • Install automatic, occupancy sensor room-lighting controls to turn lights on or off depending on occupancy or time of day
  • Change out incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED exit signs
  • Turn off or dim electric lighting when adequate sunlight is available to illuminate interior space

 

If you’re planning on improving your building’s energy performance this summer, check to see what funding may be available in your area. In New York City and Westchester County, for example, commercial and industrial customers with a Con Edison electric or natural gas account may be eligible for the following incentives from Con Edison’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program:

  • Payment of up to 50% of costs, with a cap of $67,000, for a Level 3 energy audit
  • Rebates for high-efficiency electric and gas equipment including lighting fixtures and LED exit signs, packaged heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, motors, chillers, and water and steam boilers
  • Performance-based custom incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment or energy-saving solutions not eligible for equipment rebates

 

The Con Edison Green Team has an energy efficiency program available for almost every customer. To learn which program is right for you, call the Green Team at 1-877-860-6118 or visit www.conEd.com/greenteam.

 

David Pospisil is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. You can join the discussion on LinkedIn (Con-Edison-Commercial-Industrial), Facebook (ConEd Green Team C&I), Twitter (ConEd Green Team C&I) and YouTube (ConEd Green Team C&I).

 

 

Share

Training is Ever Green

July 18, 2012

From Conservation Services Group

 

When Kevin Farrell, director of training for Conservation Services Group (CSG), found himself surrounded by attendees at a recent trade show, he was pleasantly surprised. The firm had decided to have him attend the event at the last minute to demonstrate CSG’s new online building science curriculum. He had no idea that the new learning tool would generate such a buzz.

 

The new courses combine elements used in advertising and news—storyboarding, crisp graphics, interactive features, multimedia, and video—to grab viewers and keep them engaged. So far, the feedback has been very positive. Needless to say, going to the trade show was a very good call.

 

For nearly 30 years CSG has kept true to its mission: to make homes and buildings safer, healthier, and more comfortable, durable, and affordable; and to create a sustainable industry focused on the wise use of energy. Reflecting this philosophy, CSG trains contractors and building professionals to ensure that high performance standards are consistently being met.

 

Online education is an exciting new aspect of CSG’s training division, but the company will continue to use in-class instructors, as it has done for the past 20 years. (See “Training at CSG”.) “Classroom learning is important, and we’ll always have instructors. Nothing beats the personal interactions the live sessions bring,” says Farrell.

 

C S G h as seen a growing interest in technical education in recent years, as the state and federal governments have set higher standards for weatherization work. As a result, utilities, consumers, housing agencies, and other organizations are looking for accredited contractors to ensure quality and measurable energy savings. The need for improved qualifications is driving the demand for continuing education for contractors all over the country.

 

Mark Dyen, a CSG executive vice president, says another big change in the industry is that jobs in building science are becoming a career path. “There are many more places where excellent training is available, such as at trade schools, community colleges and job centers. Training is carving out a wider niche in the industry,” he says.

 

The History of Training at CSG 

Twenty years ago, training sessions were held in a small conference room in CSG’s first office in Boston. Space was limited to just ten CSG staff members. The overhead projector was king. Old-fashioned, wooden dollhouse-like structures were used to illustrate concepts. Few people had ever seen a CFL, and infrared scanners cost a whopping $25,000 each. No one formally taught applied building science (ABS) techniques. Dyen, who has been with CSG since its early training days, says, “The integration of whole-house methods and ABS principles has been part of our curriculum design from the beginning. These concepts are still being taught today.”

 

Services grew significantly in the mid- 1990s, when open-market training became available and CSG’s contractor network expanded. But in 2000, building education at the energy services firm really took off. Big programs got bigger. Contract requirements became more stringent. In 2009, when an infusion of federal stimulus money became available for weatherization programs, states had to ramp up training quickly. Building education exploded at CSG, and the firm was educating hundreds of contractors in shifts to accommodate the demand.

 

Read the rest of this blog by Conservation Services Group

Share

From Onset Computer

 

Overview
The Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) is a tax-exempt public charity based in Middlebury, Vermont. The VCF oversees 600 funds and ranks among the top 10% of community foundations in the country. It manages more than $154 million in assets and awards $10.5 million in grants annually.

With its eye on the future, the VCF is developing a plan to decrease its carbon footprint as part of an investment in environmental stewardship. Already, a portion of the energy the organization consumes is produced from bio waste, plus staff members recycle food scraps and other organic material in their very own vermicomposting system.

 

Challenge 
The VCF is housed in a three-story, 9,000 square foot facility that generates $25,000 in utility bills each year. Three dollars per square foot is a high price to pay, especially considering that the HVAC system is relatively new. Because Middlebury offers no natural gas utility services, the building’s closed-loop water-source heat pump system is fueled by more expensive energy sources: electricity and propane. The VCF calculates it will spend $465,000 in total energy costs over the next fifteen years, based on a conservative 3% per year price increase.

To get a handle on building energy use, the VCF called in Kilawatt Technologies, a leading energy management consulting firm based in Shelburne, Vermont. The goals were clear: determine which energy-saving equipment best fits the needs of the facility, and calculate the potential return-on-investment of the new equipment.

 

Solution
To achieve these goals, Kilawatt Technologies employed a data-driven approach, deploying a variety of portable data loggers throughout the facility. Energy consumption data were collected over a three-week period, resulting in more than 250,000 measurements, including temperature, relative humidity, CO2 levels, motor run times, and electricity usage. Four types of temperature readings were collected: zone temperatures, heat pump discharged air, boiler, and main heat pump loop-heat injection.

“The data loggers we used made it possible for us to collect large quantities of diverse data in a short amount of time,” says Steven Antinozzi, Chief Operations Officer at Kilawatt. “Fortunately, the devices come at a reasonable cost, making our data-driven tactics possible.”

Antinozzi and his team used a variety of deployment techniques that depended on installation locations and available surfaces. For example, they attached Onset HOBO® UX90 Motor On/Off data loggers directly to loop motors using the loggers’ integrated rare-earth magnets. For this deployment, they did not need a current transformer, since turning on the motor creates a magnetic field. Monitoring this magnetic field determined on/off cycles and run times.

To log zone temperatures, the engineers attached additional HOBO U12 loggers discreetly in office areas. They attached data loggers to metal ceiling vents with the self-adhesive magnetized rubber strips that came with the devices. Engineers set these data loggers to record every fifteen minutes to monitor realized temperatures and setbacks.

 

Results
After charting and studying temperature data, Kilawatt engineers learned that the boiler fires at full power when outdoor ambient temperatures are as high as 60°F. Furthermore, amperage data led to the discovery that the cooling tower runs during the same time intervals as the boiler. This was understood to be due to the loop overheating. The data also showed that:

  • Heat pumps and circulation pumps run during nights and weekends when the facility is unoccupied.
  • Temperatures in office areas do not coincide with thermostat settings.
  • CO2 spikes when the building is occupied, indicating poor ventilation.
  • Loop motors, the facility’s largest point load, run during nights and weekends when the building is unoccupied. These 2-horsepower motors consume 13,000 kilowatt hours per year.
  • Heat migration from the boiler is substantial enough to heat the facility.

 

Read the rest of the blog by Onset Computer

Share

Energy Efficiency Markets Member blog from Conservation Services Group

 

Few ideas in this world are without controversy. Energy, in particular, is prone to disagreement, whether it’s extending a pipeline, fracking for natural gas or developing a wind farm. These issues get all the attention, but it is energy efficiency that stirs the least dissension on both sides of the aisle and should get more glory. It is still the quickest, least expensive and easiest way to keep our air cleaner, our citizens healthier and put more money in our pockets. In good times and in bad times, in a Democratic or Republican administration, saving energy is the one solution we can all agree on.

 

Polices promoting efficiency have been working in Massachusetts, but success did not happen overnight. Groundbreaking ideas that germinated more than two decades ago have blossomed. The Bay State is now ranked number one in the country for energy efficiency. If we keep on this path, we will reap even more rewards in the future.

 

Twenty-five years ago this July, a trail blazing and provocative report was issued by the New England Energy Policy Council that paved the way for energy efficiency and predicted its enormous potential. “Power to Spare” analyzed how the use of “negawatts” (a phrase Scientist Amory Lovins had recently coined), could significantly reduce energy costs and environmental damage without hurting economic growth.

 

Read the rest of the blog at the Boston Globe

Share

By David Pospisil
Guest Blogger, Energy Efficiency Markets
July 11, 2012

 

Making schools energy efficient need not be an exercise in sacrifice. Schools can get the same or better services, as well as increase the health and comfort of students and staff, all while using less energy.

 

The first step is to get an energy assessment that can help identify and prioritize opportunities for substantial energy and operational savings. Once these opportunities are identified, a school can develop a customized plan to reduce energy use, replacement and operating costs, and their carbon footprint. Common energy-saving measures for schools include installing high-efficiency lighting and lighting controls; heating, cooling and ventilation equipment; and motors, controls and variable frequency drives.

 

Incentives from government and/or utility-based programs may be available to help pay for the cost of an energy audit and/or energy efficiency upgrades. These rebates and incentives help schools lower the capital investment required to implement energy-saving strategies and technologies, as well as provide an attractive return on investment and payback due to savings on maintenance and energy costs.

 

In New York City and Westchester County, for example, schools with a Con Edison electric or natural gas account may be eligible for the following incentives from Con Edison’s Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program:

  • Payment of up to 50% of costs, with a cap of $67,000, for a Level 3 energy audit
  • Rebates for high-efficiency electric and gas equipment including lighting fixtures and LED exit signs, packaged heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, motors, chillers, and water and steam boilers
  • Performance-based custom incentives for installing high-efficiency equipment or energy-saving solutions not eligible for equipment rebates

 

Check to see what funding may be available in your area.

The Con Edison Green Team has an energy efficiency program available for almost every customer. To learn which program is right for you, call the Green Team at 1-877-860-6118 or visit www.conEd.com/greenteam.

 

David Pospisil is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. You can join the discussion on LinkedIn (Con-Edison-Commercial-Industrial), Facebook (ConEd Green Team C&I), Twitter (ConEd Green Team C&I) and YouTube (ConEd Green Team C&I).

Share