Archive for the ‘Energy legislation’ Category

Energy Efficient Buildings: We Don’t Have to Wait

December 8th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Big savings. REALLY big.

$4 billion investment = $40 billion savings is estimated from the Better Buildings Challenge. That isn’t just savings, it’s Sumo sized savings resulting from a nationwide 20% cut to energy usage in existing buildings.

Through a public-private partnership, President Obama and former President Bill Clinton last Friday announced a $4 billion commitment to increasing energy efficiency in the nation’s government and commercial buildings. Despite the US Department of Energy’s share being roughly half, there will be no upfront cost to taxpayers.

With deadlocked Supercommittee-itis cramping the Obama administration’s style, at least we can hold hands over one thing: saving money on inefficient buildings’ energy use. Or as Huffington Post commenter and USGBC Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi put it: “for one moment we found something we can all agree on.”

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

President Barack Obama (R), and former President Bill Clinton (L)

“If there’s one item on the energy agenda that’s managed to remain free of controversy, it’s energy efficiency,” proclaimed SmartPower owner Brian Keane in the Huffington Post this week. The investment is part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” measures, or initiatives aimed at spurring the economy that don’t require Congress’ stamp of approval.

We can’t wait, indeed, for energy savings – nor do we have to.

As part of the program, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders have committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects. The $40 billion in savings is the projected result of upgrading energy performance nationwide – 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings for those of you keeping track at home – by a minimum of 20% by 2020.

Big-time San Francisco firms such as Ygrene Energy Fund and Metrus Energy backed the announcement, showing their support as the kind of companies willing to step up and foot the bill on the other $2 billion. Of course, they will then reap some serious savings…

The Obama Administration is clear on how its not using taxpayer dollars for the initial investment, reported the Washington Post:

“The way it works is that the private firm [doing the renovations] takes the risk here,” Jeffrey Zients, the government’s chief performance officer, said. “They make the investment. They are paid through energy savings. Once they are paid back, the [federal government] enjoys the savings going forward.”

The Better Buildings Challenge is estimated to add approximately 50,000 jobs.

The announcement expands on an existing Clinton Global Initiative energy efficiency investment program announced last summer, that has already committed $500 million in private sector funding for energy upgrades.

Kinda trippy how Pike Research just issued that report last week predicting that HVAC systems will double to become a $6.4 billion business by 2017.

Image courtesy newsone.

Urban Cowboys, Going Deeper with EEI

September 22nd, 2011 by Jim Crowder

UrbanLand Magazine recently turned out a thoughtful analysis, Energy Efficiency Markets Evolve Globally, of The 2011 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) , the fifth time a global survey of real estate decision makers has been conducted by Johnson Controls. For the first time, ULI got into the research fracas with Johnson Controls, to analyze and release the results. The Building Advisor touched on the EEI a couple weeks back in Summer HVAC Wrap + BetterBricks Video, but nobody does serious data like ULI.

If you’re not familiar, the EEI is the last word, the “state of the union,” if you will, gauging the hearts and minds of of global executives and building owners responsible for energy management and investment decisions in commercial and public sector buildings. This year, the EEI surveyed 4,000 respondents in 13 countries on six continents and was conducted in eight languages. That’s a lot of bubbles to fill in completely with a #2 pencil!

‘Extremely’ or ‘Very’: Energy Efficiency Makes the Big Time

What you probably already know: as many as seven in ten executives globally say energy management is extremely important or very important to their organizations. Execs have pursued an average of nine different energy efficiency measures in the past year.

And what’s motivating them? Simply put, the rising cost of energy. We all know energy costs will keep on rising. It’s sort of like gravity – you can pretty much count on it. Up significantly in importance from 2010, however, is government incentives. With over half the states offering some kind of financial incentive for efficiency measures, execs are now listening. It’s sort of like getting cash back at the grocery store on a big ticket item: why not? Third biggest motivator was to enhance the branding of a building.

In fact, interest in certified green buildings doubled from 2010 and for the first time, certification efforts are more prevalent for existing buildings than new ones. Lower on the motivational list: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, domestic energy security, and other government policies.

Now, the challenges: while the graphic to the left shows that 67% of executives surveyed report that they have allocated capital from their operating budget to energy efficiency in the last year, (yay!) significant market barriers to pursuing further investment (boo).

These barriers come in all colors and flavors, depending on market sector. From the report:

The five key barriers to energy efficiency investments reported in the survey are:

  • lack of awareness of opportunities for energy savings;
  • lack of technical expertise to design and complete projects;
  • lack of certainty that promised savings will be achieved;
  • inability of projects to meet the organization’s financial payback criteria; and
  • lack of available capital for investment in projects.

For the contractor serving small to midsize buildings, it is interesting to note that respondents with control over more square footage in larger facilities report having implemented more energy projects than those with smaller facilities. But trickledown is sure to follow.

Four is the Magic Number 

According to the EEI Survey, real estate organizations sharing the following four key strategic practices are most likely to get on the energy efficiency bandwagon, and implemented four times as many energy efficiency improvement measures as those that did not:

  • goals established for reduced energy use or carbon emissions;
  • energy use data measured and analyzed at least monthly;
  • added resources dedicated to improving energy efficiency through the hiring or retraining of staff, or the hiring of external service providers; and
  • external financing sources used for projects.

The Building Advisor can’t help making a couple of points here. For energy use data measured and analyzed at lease monthly, our Verify product for ongoing, continuous monitoring is the solutions. I mean, have you read what it did for J.E. Shekell in Smart Solutions (J.E. Shekell Uses Building Advice to Slash Energy Bills in Half ) or the NEWS (Facility Energy Audit Leads to Huge Savings)?

And in the second place, BuildingAdvice is like adding a team of expert management, sales, and engineering personnel acting as an extension of an HVAC Contractor’s current team to drive the development and ongoing execution of an energy services business. ‘Nuff said.

And Speaking of Incentives Changing the World

Sacramento development image by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News

The Gray Lady’s Energy & Environment section reported  on a $650 million private sector investment in energy efficiency for existing buildings in this week’s article, Tax Plan to Turn Old Buildings ‘Green’ Finds Favor.

It’s getting around that a retrofit can typically cut a building’s energy use so much that the project pays for itself in as little as five years. A new tax arrangement in Miami and Sacramento allows property owners to upgrade their buildings at no upfront cost, typically cutting their energy use and their utility bills by a third.

Lockheed Martin, Barclays Bank and some other big boys, headed up by Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa, Calif., have formed a consortium that will invest $650 million in such upgrades over the next few years.

The article called waste in older buildings “one of the nation’s biggest energy problems” and cited energy as a sector that could eventually be worth billions.

The meat of the plan is pretty genius: the constortium is kind of like a strip mall serving all of your energy efficiency needs in one stop. Ygrene and its partners gain exclusive rights for five years to offer this type of energy upgrade to businesses in a particular community. Lockheed Martin does the engineering work. Short-term loans come from Barclays Capital to pay for the upgrades. Then, “Contractors will offer a warranty that the utility savings they have promised will actually materialize,” the article states. Insurance underwriter, Energi, of Peabody, Mass., backs up that warranty. It goes on from there.

Best of all, owners pay no upfront cost for energy efficient upgrades. Instead, a surcharge is attached to subsequent property tax bills for five to 20 years. However, as the surcharges are less than the savings, the upgrades pay for themselves. Really. The new approach could garner substantial private capital for many midsize and smaller businesses to get on the energy efficiency bus.

In the past three years, half the states have passed legislation permitting energy retrofits financed by property-tax surcharges, and hundreds of cities and counties are considering such programs. The new financing approach is called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE financing. PACE saw some serious backlash last year when an arm of the federal government that oversees the mortgage market took a hostile stance toward such projects on residential property, on the grounds that they add risk to mortgages. But, the article notes, “So far, it appears that PACE programs for commercial properties pose fewer legal complications.”

Richard Branson by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News

The consortium was put together by the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit environmental group based in Washington set up by Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and billionaire, to tackle the world’s climate and energy problems in cost-saving ways.

Git Along, Little Doggie

“Perhaps the most serious risk,” the article notes, “is that fly-by-night contractors will be drawn to the new pot of money, pushing energy retrofits that are too costly or work poorly.

‘Contractors are cowboys,’ said Dennis Hunter, chairman of Ygrene. He promised close scrutiny of the ones selected for the Miami and Sacramento programs.”

What say ye to that, boys?

Ride ‘em, cowboy!

Cowboy image courtesy themurkyfringe.com.

Energy Efficiency News Roundup – Who Says September Means an HVAC Slowdown?

September 14th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

From Energy Efficiency News‘Green’ Empire State Building strikes gold. New York City’s iconic Empire State Building has gone from ENERGY STAR Certification over the last two years to LEED Gold certification. Its $550 million investment in green refurbishment will be paid back through energy savings alone in around three years.

The retrofit of the building by Johnson Controls and Jones Lang LaSalle promises to reduce its energy consumption by more than 38% and save $4.4 million in energy costs a year. The 2.85 million square foot building is one of very few ‘national historic landmarks’ to earn the certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The 80-year old building is not as old as the Jackson County Courthouse, which earned its ENERGY STAR Certification with the services of McElroy’s, Inc. in Northeastern Kansas. Look for another historical building case study from McElroy’s, another BuildingAdvice partner, coming soon.

Great news! Energy Star now available for new multifamily high-rise buildings, according to Contractor Magazine. Do you know your building types? Multifamily is actually a commercial building type, even though its use is residential.

“Expanding the Energy Star eligibility to such properties will not only help EPA strengthen energy-efficiency initiatives across the nation, which save money and help protect the environment, but also provide property owners the opportunity to increase the asset value and offer tenants comfortable homes,” the article states.

Are you an HVAC who’s glued to your smartphone? From Maple Grove, MN, comes a free app for iPhone, iPad and and Windows-based smartphones. Singh360, a full service facility management consulting firm focused on energy solutions, recently released the app for refrigeration and HVAC engineers. These applications calculate “Pressure-Temperature” for various refrigerants (such as R404A, R22, Propane, Ammonia, Carbon-di-oxide etc.) typically used in commercial and supermarket facilities.

The app is available through the iTunes store and on the company’s website at http://singh360.com/products/mobile-app/.

Images courtesy paulbarsch.wordpress.comnorthamericatravel.wordpress.com.

Why The Building Advisor Loves ULI, Too

September 7th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Rachel Headings on a dream date with ULI

So, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is really smart. Last summer they launched a video contest – the very directly aimed “Why I Love ULI Video Contest” – and recently announced the winners in advance of the organization’s Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo in Los Angeles, Calif. coming up October 25-28. Best of all, ULI posted the most contest entries on their YouTube channel, ULITV. Brilliant!

And other than the fact that it’s hard to find really good videos having to do with building performance, here’s why ULI isn’t really off topic for The Building Advisor: the Urban Land Institute provides leadership in the responsible use of land, and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. This membership organization supports real estate professionals, including contractors, at the local, national and global levels with regard to best practices, industry news, land use development, and a free exchange of ideas.

But Rob Voigt explains it way better.

Joanna Todaro puts it all poetically to a sweetly animated, adorably scored video that articulates the HVAC related virtues of ULI: bridging professionals and social responsibility. And watching Rachel Headings fall in love with a personified ULI is nothing short of a mini romcom.

Now, Stephanie Darden kinda stole The Building Advisor’s heart with this one. Why? Because hugging a building is what it feels like when you’re happy that it’s functioning as energy efficiently as possible. And for the dog who makes a cameo.

But the winner is – well, telling in that it got the most likes on ULI’s Facebook Page. Man I Love ULI — submitted by Varun Sharma of Toronto, Ontario – will thump its way into your heart. Sharma is a gangsta of love, this much is clear. He will be awarded a one year ULI Young Leader (less than 35 years) or Associate Membership, along with an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 ULI Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo, October 25 – 28 in Los Angeles.

Read more about the content and winners at the ULI Live! website, dedicated to the organization’s Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo in Los Angeles, Calif. October 25-28.

Near and Far, Awareness of Energy Efficiency Grows

August 25th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Mass Energy LabFirst, the good news. In Massachusetts yesterday, a Cambridge-based commercial and industrial energy solutions firm, Mass Energy Lab, announced a contest inciting undergraduate and graduate level students to identify, research and present evidence on a promising new-to-market energy efficiency product. Entrants will present evidence on the product’s ability to impact energy waste reduction and its marketability, and are eligible to win $3,000 as the top prize.

Anybody want to research BuildingAdvice? We make a great science project.

According to a press release, the contest is “intended to encourage students to research and identify cutting-edge, new to market energy efficiency solutions and to think deeply about how the technology can be applied to facilitate the reduction of energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings. “

Check out Mass Energy Lab’s foxy R&D section debuting any day now, featuring whitepapers, casestudies, product reviews, industry experts and test results.

Now, the not-so-great news.

li keqiang david cameron

Li Keqiang and David Cameron make a deal.

China’s buildings need to go ‘green’ – before it’s too late”:

“In the next 20 years, China plans to urbanise as many as 300m of its rural people, driving an insatiable demand for energy and materials as almost the equivalent of America’s population fires up their new fridges and air-conditioners.”

DOOD!

Chinese Vice Premiere Li Keqiang’s visit to England’s Building Research Establishment (BRE) – a group of architects, engineers and scientists at the cutting edge of new building techniques – last winter made Britain’s Telegraph UK this week with the announcement that the BRE was signed up by the Chinese to create a £100m, 4.8m sq ft innovation park in Beijing, together with Vanke, China’s largest property developer.

Apparently, China’s “green building” industry could eventually be worth £144bn per the vice minister of the Housing and Urban-Rural Development ministry. Now that’s actually pretty good news.

On the other hand, Chinese government is “painfully aware” that a quarter of China’s energy use is currently eaten up by buildings. In turn, they are pressuring developers to spend time thinking about water, energy and carbon savings, but many who design real estate in China think sustainable construction means simply tacking on green components with add-on costs. As writer Eric Fish puts it,

“When integrated intelligently from the start, utilities savings quickly cancel out the extra costs. Total upfront costs sometimes even dip below the price of traditional buildings.”

The Times of India reported that The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bureau for Energy Efficiency (BEE) for the creation of energy efficient technologies (‘We need to adopt energy efficient technologies’).The MoU also outlines the creation of awareness and capacity building of local Business Development Services (BDS) providers for implementing energy efficient technologies. The clusters will be scaled to meet the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) clusters.

Lastly, right here at home in Oregon our Department of Consumer and Business Services Building Codes Division received a national award for its work in energy efficiency.

Jeff Johnson was an advocate of Building Energy Codes

Jeff Johnson was an advocate of Building Energy Codes

The sixth annual Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for “Excellence in the Advancement of Building Energy Codes and Performance,” an award designed to recognize the pursuit of energy efficiency, according to Sustainable Business Oregon.

Greener, Greater Buildings Are Here.

August 17th, 2011 by Jim Crowder
IBM's Jane Snowdon

IBM's Jane Snowdon

IBM Senior Manager Jane Snowdon guest blogged for CNBC this week, taking the opportunity to mull on New York City’s “Greener, Greater Buildings Plan.” Of course The Building Advisor called out the importance of this little alliterative city initiative back in April of 2010 (Greener, Greater, a Long Way Away?), but who’s counting?

Yep, it’s that old mandatory benchmarking and public disclosure idea again, but this time, it’s a lot closer to reality. It’s happening, people! August 1st deadline!

Not only does the DOE’s Energy Star program dictate the most readily-usable set of standards for evaluating a building’s energy usage, it makes buildings profitable, too. Snowdon shares:

A 2009 study by the University of San Diego found that Energy Star buildings — which rank among the most efficient in a pool of similar buildings — attracted 13 percent higher rental rates than the market average, with vacancy rates running about 3.5 percent lower.” – Jane Snowdon, CNBC

[More great research on how Energy Ratings Can Make Properties More Profitable.]

In states and cities where energy benchmark scores are required, they will be available on sites like BuildingRating.org (which also has a handy matrix of energy efficiency incentive programs nationwide. Bet there’s one in your city).

BuildingRating.org breaks down efficiency incentives state by state

BuildingRating.org breaks down efficiency incentives state by state

In a New York minute, 16,000 buildings are slated to begin collecting performance data. What’s more, The Greener Greater Buildings Plan has the potential to reduce citywide energy costs by $700 million annually by 2030 and help to create roughly 17,800 construction-related jobs over ten years.

Pointing out the falling cost of the kind of monitor-based, networked technology banks and airlines began employing a decade ago, Snowdon says it’s a great time for commercial real estate to embrace tech for energy savings. I mean, today its benchmarking and disclosure, tomorrow, automated analysis of efficiency investment potentials.

Oh wait. You can do that with BuildingAdvice right now. Right.

Oregon Facilities from Jengo Media

Oregon Facilities from Jengo Media

Say, have you seen the handsome set of facilities-minded, yet glossy and pretty print mags from Jengo Media? We’ve got our own Oregon Facilities here in the Northwest, but they have cognates for Arizona and Utah too. Western facilities managers have all the luck!

Interestingly, energy efficiency isn’t going over as big as some folks had hoped this week:

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported Seattle green jobs program falls short of goals. It seems the program funds low-interest loans and incentives for buildings to do energy-efficient upgrades just doesn’t have enough takers.

Similarly, a small business loan program implemented in Arlington Heights, Ill. earlier this year could expire if interest doesn’t pick up, the Journal Online reported in Energy Program May Burn Out.

The moral of this story? Money from the government for energy efficient upgrades is sitting on the table, unused.

Lastly, Forbes reported Cisco Exits Energy-Management Software Market. What? Their energy-management products were designed to leverage Cisco’s prowess in the “dark arts of networking” for better controlling HVAC systems. But now they don’t wanna.

Are you missing summer camp? Revisit the magic of BOMA 2011 here:

That should cure it.

The Benefits of Bold (State Level) Energy Efficiency Policy

June 23rd, 2011 by Jim Crowder
States with EERS

States with EERS Activity: Blue states have adopted EERS standards; the others have pending, voluntary, or EERS/renewable combined goals

States, like sisters, are doing it for themselves. I mean we really should say thank you, stalled Congress, for spurring energy efficient action at the local level: USA Today reported this week on how Energy Efficient Resource Standards (EERS) have taken hold nationally, if not from above, then on a grassroots level: States’ efforts lead the way on energy efficiency (also on EnergyCentral).

I mean, did you think you’d see the day? In the last decade, not only have over half of the states set rules mandating policy for reduced energy consumption, but the impact is showing:

 

“… the results are lower bills for consumers and a reduced need to build power plants.”

Nevermind the cost savings for a second – we’ll get back to that – just look at the mass action needed to halt growth. Mass action NOT incited by our main governing body, (though you could make a case for the American Reinvestment Act being the real catalyst). Action that, through reduction, makes the idea of building another power plant unnecessary.

State EERS Targets vs Achieved

Click to enlarge

And the cost savings is real: For example, in 2009 and 2010, Ohio utility customers saved $56 million in energy costs over and above the costs to deliver energy efficient programs.

The above stat comes from a hot-off-the-presses report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy titled Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Experience. It states:

“over half the states now embrace specific energy efficiency savings goals, known as…EERS. An EERS requires utilities…to save a certain amount of energy each year, typically expressed as a percentage of annual retail energy sales or as specific energy savings amounts set over a long-term period.”

EERS Policy Approaches by State

Policy approaches by state: blue states have EERS, green states have targeted utility goals

Thirteen out of twenty states with EERS policies in place for over two years are achieving 100% or more of their goals. BOO-YAH.

“These states are demonstrating that energy efficiency programs deliver real savings for utilities and ratepayers, and it is more affordable than any supply-side energy source,” said report author Michael Sciortino of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based research group.

Fun facts? The most successful energy efficiency programs are found in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Vermont. You can read about how they work their magic here.

Lastly, don’t miss the June article in facilitiesnet.com, the online publication of Building Operating Management (follow BOM on Twitter), Understanding What An Energy Model Can And Can’t Do Is Critical To Its Success. It’s part of a series, Biggest Bang for Your Efficiency Buck. Part 2, Realistic Expectations Needed To Get Most Out Of Energy Modeling, is here.

Images from ACEEE reports, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Experience and State Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) Activity.

 

Webinar on Demand, New York’s Energy Movement

June 9th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

First off, some eye candy! Did you know you can access Part 3 of AirAdvice’s How-To Webinar Series – Sales and Marketing Best Practices – at the Energy Services Resource Library?

coned energy efficiency summit new yorkThe New York Times (via Greenwire) reported on a sea change for existing NYC buildings in this week’s story, Skyscraper Owners Learn ABCs of LEDs in Push to Save Energy. Sparked by the Con Edison Energy Efficiency Summit, the event is indicative of what Greenwire called “an energy-efficiency movement that is transforming the city’s real estate market.” Quote:

The City Council is still considering a slew of recommendations offered last year by the Green Codes Task Force, a temporary alliance of building professionals charged by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to find ways to use building codes to force reductions in electricity use. But experts say the “green retrofitting” industry here is taking on a life of its own, independent of the expectations of the Bloomberg administration. – The New York Times via Greenwire

Additional factors cited for added emphasis on energy efficiency in the Big Apple:

  • Falling commercial rents in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis forced building owners to scramble for ways to reduce costs, and cutting energy use was at the top of many to-do lists.
  • The city’s buildings and their equipment are aging and due for refurbishment or replacement.
  • Commercial real estate transactions are down, so property companies are holding their buildings longer than at other times, encouraging them to make them more efficient.

Moreover, real estate professionals are discovering that energy efficient buildings command demand and better rents. And you don’t have to be LEED anymore to garner attention; insiders say the most influential projects do not carry the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) seal.

Perhaps the article’s nitty gritty was spoken by Michael Waite, a senior staffer at the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. who emphasized the need to spell out the cost-benefit equation to building owners.

“To make an investment, an owner wants proven technologies and some idea of the return on investment,” Waite said. “The lack of confidence in some measures is understandable — there is an investment required, the energy performance prediction tools are imperfect and every building responds differently.”

Another reason to get behind the scientific data collection, analyzation and reporting provided by BuildingAdvice. This “movement” – however exciting – is really a sign of the times resulting from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s energy efficiency incentive program enacted last year, as well as new statewide energy efficiency standards. The article has more on New York’s energy rebates, as well.

davinci middle school first LEED classroom

A skylight in the Evans – Harvard High Performance Classroom at the da Vinici Arts Middle School in Portland, Ore. was recently awarded LEED platinum certification – the first K-12 public school building to achieve this level of certification.

Right here in AirAdvice’s back yard, Ameresco announced multiple energy efficiency contracts with regional school districts including Portland Public Schools. The energy efficiency and renewable energy company announced it would conduct Investment Grade Audits under a new phase of a budget-neutral Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with the district.

Nonsequitur: did you know the NEWS has its own LinkedIn Group? Your fave NEWSer editors Mike Murphy (get to know him better at his video blog Murphy’s Travels), Barb Checket-Hanks, and others are there.

If you don’t already know, Facilities.net has a handy Tip of the Day in text and audio format which is quick and informative. You might want to sign up for the RSS to get these tips delivered straight into your email. “Energy Model Can Improve HVAC System Energy Efficiency” caught our ear/eye recently. facilities.net's tip of the day

Non-non-sequitur (is that a sequitur?) if you listen to the soundbite at the above link: submetering: what do you think? Does it affect your business? How are you using it? If you could submeter your chiller plant, would you? Did anyone notice The Building Advisor put Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. and Prince into the same post? That’s how we roll.

Images courtesy Rethink Energy and Design, a blog from Better Bricks, Ameresco, Facilities.net.

Energy Papers for HVAC Contractors Cover Rebates, Myths

June 3rd, 2011 by Jim Crowder

exploiting rebates quarterly whitepaperThis week we posted some fresh, informative papers to the AirAdvice website. Both papers represent the first installments of a couple of series of papers covering topics we find HVAC contractors want the most information about.

The first series is Exploiting Rebates Quarterly, which explains how utility rebate programs work, what rebates are available in various states, and how to use energy service platforms to take advantage of them. The first paper, “Rebate Basics,” discusses leveraging rebates for a shorter payback with a competitive edge.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, Hosts of The Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters." Ok, we kind of want to be like them.

Another series of papers takes on common misconceptions about energy services. We’re calling it – with all due respect to our peeps at the Discovery Channel – our Mythbuster Bulletin Series, starting with Myth #1: “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled.” In it, we break down why costs can be controlled and discuss the most common causes of energy waste within a building.

It’s a prevalent belief that utilities represent either fixed or insignificant costs in building operation budgets, but that doesn’t make it true. In fact, energy costs can be controlled by optimizing building operations and controls. While there are opportunities to improve performance through retrofit projects, in the majority of buildings, the way that building equipment is being operated or programmed is often what wastes the greatest amount of money. The key to dispelling the myth is providing owners with measurement and hard data to quantify the waste and, ultimately, the savings that can be generated.

- Mythbuster Bulletin Series, “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled”

At our downloads page you’ll also find recaps of our latest, highly popular webinar series for your viewing (or re-viewing) pleasure: Part 1, Building A Winning Energy Services Team and Part 2, Targeting Your Existing Customer Base. Part 3 was webcast earlier this week and will be posted to the website soon.

dexter horton building in Seattle, mandatory benchmarking

The Dexter Horton Building, Seattle, Wash.

In other news this week, greentech enterprise ran a great article on mandatory energy benchmarking legislation, touched off by Seattle’s Dexter Horton building and the citywide enforcement of mandatory energy benchmarking and reporting for all commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet.

The article also links to a great energy efficiency information resource, BuildingRating.org, which hosts an online library of resources such as a document library with U.S. and global policy summaries, impact analyses, and rating systems and tools. As well as a neat blog.

And speaking of great energy-focused blogs like ourselves, be sure to check out the panoply of blog offerings through Energy Central. Did you know that you can even customize the Energy Central Professional Daily newsletter you get from Energy Central by logging on to the “personalization” tab at http://Pro.EnergyCentral.com? Just check and uncheck preferences to customize your newsletter to get the information most pertinent to you.

Images courtesy dazzlingplaces.com and channelnomics.com.

In Energy Efficient HVAC News This Week… BuildingAdvice!

May 25th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Did you catch the article on energy measurement and verification by Janelle Penny in Buildings Magazine’s May issue, The Best Tool in an FM’s Arsenal?

We’re also in this month’s issue of Sustainable Facility (have you seen their fancy website redesign?) under New & Notable, highlighting our last BuildingAdvice upgrade allowing bidirectional, database sync allowing cross-platform communication between Portfolio Manager and BuildingAdvice program. Meaning, you get BuildingAdvice’s user-friendly interface while maintaining your contractor building credentials through Portfolio Manager. Pretty sweet.

But enough about us. (For now.)

Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

In Kentucky, over 300 manufacturing and industry professionals gathered in Louisville in late April to discuss the shifting energy industry, and steps they can take to control rising energy costs, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. (BEPinfo, one of The BuildingAdvisor’s favorite enewsletters, also covered it here.)

Hitherto, Kentucky has enjoyed electricity prices among the lowest in the nation. The Herald-Leger’s Danny Taylor noted:

As a result, Kentucky’s energy use per industrial customer is the third-highest in the nation, 427 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.”

However, industrial electricity rates in Kentucky are predicted to double over the next decade, having already risen 43 percent over the past five years.

What does the handy, energy efficiency checklist in the Herald-Leader’s article outline?

  1. Get an energy audit. More info on BuildingAdvice, our industry proven energy services delivery platform and providing Energy Audit Reports.
  2. Engage top leadership. Get BuildingAdvice management, sales, and engineering personnel acting as an extension of your current team to drive the development and ongoing execution of your energy services business.
  3. Install highly visible measurement systems. BuildingAdvice’s Energy Expert technology tops off our web-based software and portable diagnostic equipment which provides energy waste analysis, monitoring, and reporting with the oh-so-talked-about measurement & verification services mentioned above.

Followup to the 5/17 post, CBECS Data On Hold for Funding; EnergyStar Suffers:

ASHRAE commends Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-Ohio)

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air -Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) applauded Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for introducing the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, a bill that would help pave the way to make buildings more energy efficient by reducing barriers in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors to make use of new technologies.

We are particularly pleased that the legislation would encourage the U.S. Department of Energy to work with code and standard development organizations to develop definitions of energy use intensity (EUI) for use in model codes or in evaluating the efficiency impacts of the codes,” Lynn G. Bellenger, ASHRAE’s 2010-2011 president, said in a press release.

ASHRAE worked with Senators Shaheen and Portman to develop this legislation, and will continue to be an active partner in developing this, and similar legislation.

Images courtesy Buildings Magazinelouisville.edu, and ASHRAE.