Archive for the ‘Building service providers’ Category

MSCA Musings: Following Up After the Conference

October 27th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Guest post by Jim Crowder, AirAdvice CEO, as excerpted from last week’s Building Monitor e-newsletter. If you would like to receive the Building Monitor in the future, you can sign up here.

We just returned from the Annual MSCA Educational Conference in beautiful Colorado Springs. It was a well organized event chock full of useful sessions that will help members improve their performance.

It also marked the passing of the Association leadership torch from Thom Brazel, Hill York, to Woody Woodall, W.L. Gary Company.

Thom helped drive association awareness of the opportunity energy services provides the HVAC industry. Under his leadership, and with the support of Barb Dolim’s MSCA staff, Thom helped create a new vision for the MSCA GreenSTAR program that will help members incorporate energy solutions into their core service offerings. Not only is the association planning to provide tools, but they are developing an impressive training program to educate members.

We at AirAdvice applaud Thom and the rest of the association for providing the leadership the industry needs to make commercial building owners and operators aware of how valuable HVACs can be in helping to eliminate energy waste in commercial buildings.

No industry is better positioned to provide these types of services to commercial buildings. Energy expenses represent 30% of the controllable operating cost of a building. HVAC and lighting combined typically constitute about 75% of the total energy spend.

AirAdvice CEO Jim Crowder

So, who can deliver real, measurable value to building owners? It’s not the janitors or the elevator guys! We look forward to working with Woody, Barb and the rest of the MSCA team as they move into this lucrative field.

Building Advisor’s Note: Have you seen the MSCA’s new YouTube channel? Check out their first video below.

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.

Integrating HVAC and Energy Services with Energy Service Agreements

September 16th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Advice to HVAC Contractors on Making the ESA Sale, Avoiding Anklebiters, and Long Term Relationships

Thom Brazel, our hero

Thom Brazel, our hero

by Thom Brazel, Chairman of the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) Board of Managers and General Manager of West Coast Operations for Hill York, a leading provider of commercial air-conditioning and energy solutions. This 75 year old company is a leading provider of commercial air-conditioning and energy solutions with six locations across Florida. With nearly twenty years experience in the HVAC industry, Brazel is a LEED AP, and was part of the Task Force that created the MSCA LEGS (Labor Estimating Guide for Service) as well as the MSCA Green Star certification and MSCA Green PM.

Note: This article appeared in HVAC Business on June 28, 2011. The Building Advisor wanted to get it over to the blog for archival purposes. 

When I look back at the HVAC industry over the last few years, I’m amazed that in 2007, nobody in our industry was talking about LEED or green. At that time, honestly, finding enough retrofit and service techs was an HVAC company’s biggest problem.

Now it’s absolutely different. I’m hearing anecdotally that a 60% decrease in HVAC contractor business is common. We’ve had people flat out tell us they don’t know what to do. Contractors who used to be in residential and light commercial are competing with bigger companies, because the smaller projects have dried up.

I call them the “ankle biters,” because they’re underbidding; they want to get the job now, get the money and move out. It’s creating significant price competition. However, many of the small guys are going under, and the larger companies that aren’t adapting to change are going away as a result of competing a losing battle on price.

Anklebiters Vs. Value

We are now seeing a culture shift between contractors competing merely on price, and those companies really executing on more of a value-add. And I see an ever widening rift between these two types of companies. We can fight over the scraps for awhile, but the smaller contractors who are in it for the short term will eventually run out of cash, fall away, or get gobbled up by a bigger company.

Many contractors seem to be dealing with difficult times by grieving over it, rather than reinventing themselves. They go from denying there’s a problem, to being angry, to bargaining and making deals, until they’re depressed and finally move into acceptance of the marketplace for what it is right now.  Unfortunately for many companies, it is now too late.

A lot of businesses think if they stick with it, things will go back to the way they were.

Everything Existing Is New Again

At Hill York, our focus for decades has been predominately on new construction, and we’ve had to adapt beyond an additional focus on service, maintenance and retrofits all the way to creating safer, healthier buildings that are serviced from a holistic viewpoint.

We have restructured the company in response to current economic times, and made multiple changes to provide solutions. The biggest change is our attention to existing buildings, and energy driven retrofits. We like to say, ‘It’s only a new building once, but it’s an existing building forever.’ That is where the majority of our focus now lies.

Two years ago, our hyGreen division [Hill York’s team dedicated to providing strategic, energy-saving solutions to new and existing buildings] was a department made up of seven or eight people. Today, it is becoming a company-wide culture. Almost every retrofit project we do has an energy component. We now don’t simply take it past the hyGreen team – we ask ourselves going in, “what is the hyGreen component of everything we touch?”

We’ve sold approximately 35 Energy Solutions Agreements (ESAs), and we use a building performance diagnostic program, BuildingAdvice, in conjunction with many of them. BuildingAdvice uses data collection and analysis to generate comprehensive reports such as energy benchmarks, assessments and audits with escalating levels of detail on improving energy usage in the building. There are other tools available, but BuildingAdvice is our preferred tool because it’s automated and applicable to the widest number of building types.

At Hill York, we have it structured where the customer pays for the initial energy reports only if they don’t elect to complete a project we recommend as a result, assuming that project meets their buying criteria. By and large, we know there’s the potential for energy savings in pretty much any facility we survey, so we have little risk of not finding a viable project.

Looking Forward 

If you’re the driver, you’re never going to get driven around. My advice to HVAC contractors working with an ESA model is that right now, it’s a financially-based sale,  but it’s a relationship-based sale as well.

You have to show the hard numbers on ROI or it’s not going to happen. Tools like BuildingAdvice reports help to quantify statements. [Hill York’s hyGreen also partners with other companies, including utiliVisor, OptiNet, Energy Expert, and SmartCool, to sustain and measure energy performance for commercial and industrial businesses.] For example, in Florida, HVAC is typically 60% of a building’s overall utility cost. We can anticipate overventilation, but measuring carbon dioxide levels with BuildingAdvice helps us put a dollar figure to it, rather than simply being speculative. The findings have to be real, and tangible. But that’s only half the battle. You need a customer who knows and trusts you. A customer who sees you as a partner.

Learning from Mistakes

Here’s a little example of where Hill York blew it with a potential customer. We were recently going after a maintenance agreement with a customer who has been using another vendor for years. From a pricing standpoint, our proposal on the 200,000 square foot commercial office building was in the same ballpark as the other vendors. Our program was clearly a value-add to the potential customer, as it included a simple energy benchmark, determined the building performance relative to other buildings and identified a handful of opportunities, all of which yielded significant energy savings opportunities. Here’s how the conversation went after they’d received that info:

Potential Customer: “Thanks for the info. Good stuff! However, we are happy with the folks we’ve been working with. We know them and they know us.”

Hill York: “If your current vendor is truly looking out for your best interests, why have they never mentioned any of these cost-saving opportunities to you before?”

Potential Customer: “Good point, however, now we are aware of the opportunities for savings, and we really appreciate the information!”

Long story short, we didn’t get the maintenance agreement, and the other company did the energy projects we recommended.

Where did we fail? We used the finest technologies available to gather data, did the analysis and proved to the customer we were smarter than the other guys, but we didn’t bother to develop a level of trust and rapport first. Did we differentiate ourselves?  Absolutely. But we missed the most important piece – the relationship.

Relationships Still Key

During challenging economic times, the companies who survive will do so due to strong relationships. Work within your company’s relationships, and strengthen them with the credibility that comes from harnessing the information that can be obtained from the technologies that are readily available. Continuously look for ways to make every one of your customers operate their facilities better, and they will remain your customer.



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.

Summer HVAC Wrap + BetterBricks Video

September 1st, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Before the summer winds to a close, The Building Advisor feels it deserves a look back. In addition to soaring heat waves, the summer’s energy efficiency news was telling.

First, go to our latest webinar on Getting to the Decision Makers – a summer triumph from AirAdvice in providing HVACs with the tools they need to educate building owners and managers on energy efficiency cost savings.

Best video series ever! Building Night Walks from NEEA’s BetterBricks’ YouTube Channel. Sorta like “The X Files” meets your life.

Here is one:

Johnson Controls (JCI) issued its annual Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey last June, [greenbiz.com's article here] asking executives responsible for energy use and real estate decisions how they feel about energy and how it’s affecting their business decisions. The top line bullet from over of over 4,000 property managers surveyed?

“Energy cost savings, government incentives and enhanced public image [are] the biggest motivators for energy-efficiency investments.”

Read the executive summary here, direct from the horse’s mouth.

CNBC (finally!) evaluated the report’s findings with a good, long look in this week’s article “Energy Price Volatility Now A Major Factor In Corporate Efficiency Drive.” As Trevor Curwin pointed out,

“‘Bottom-line energy costs savings’ is the biggest single reason for property managers to consider spending on energy efficiency projects, but ‘energy security’ jumped into the top-five list of concerns from out of nowhere.”

JCI’s research shows the average payback time for an energy efficiency project is 3.1 years. While “government and utility incentives” are huge drivers for the energy efficiency marketplace, the “Achilles heel” of most efficiency improvement projects is still financing.

Tom Konrad

Tom Konrad

Forbes blogger Tom Konrad did a great series on energy services stocks in June. His post The Sector Information Technology Forgot looks at how demand response – programs that offer incentives for business owners who curtail their facility’s energy use during times of peak demand - plays into energy efficiency programs, particularly EnerNOC’s.

Along that line, EnerNOC went public in June, and shortly thereafter the company announced Memphis City Schools Selects EnerNOC’s EfficiencySMART(TM) Insight to Improve System-Wide Energy Use.

Summer daze got you bored of reading? The recent proliferation of HVAC multimedia from your favorite trades should be enough to keep you entertained during lunches as the weather cools. Check out Contracting Business’ video portal, or the NEWS’ new podcast directory.

 Images courtesy Forbesarchiehopeful.wordpress.com.

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.

HVAC Technology and the Online Water Cooler

June 16th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Our friends at Software Advice have a great post up, Cut Apartment Energy Costs with Energy Monitoring Systems, which takes a look at how energy monitoring scales to the multifamily (apartment) building type. multifamily building

Though it smells like residential, multifamily is, of course, actually a commercial property type. When a multifamily owner wants to look at energy monitoring products, would s/he go for a whole building assessment through BuildingAdvice, or look into residential monitoring products like Google’s Powermeter or free Microsoft web application Hohm for each user? You tell us; that’s what blogs are for.

While Contracting Business columnist Vicki LaPlant touts the importance of social media, and commercial contractors are taking their rooftop service unit and replacement businesses to Facebook, The Building Advisor asks you to remember one thing: in the beginning, there were online bulletin boards.

hvac talk HVAC-TALK.com, a forum for online discussion hosted by Contracting Business that is by its own account, “a vibrant, active online community that connects HVAC professionals with a focus on the contracting marketplace.” If you, like me, dear reader, have your doubts about how many HVAC service contractors engage with social media and blogs, look no further. The new member introduction page has over 3,000 posts, the “Job Discussion” page is hopping of course, and just about all of the discussion pages have been commented on TODAY. Is this where all of our potential blog commenters are? Are online forums more suitable to the type of communication HVAC contractors are looking for? And why?

And while we’re on the topic of technology in the HVAC industry, you’ll notice the web video revolution sweeping our favorite publications. HPAC Engineering has a series on it’s front page, including this segment on Electro Static Technology on Shaft VFDs. Enjoy.

Images courtesy designhomesllc.com, HVAC-TalkHPAC Engineering.

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.

Small Change, Big Rewards in Energy Efficiency

May 13th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Our friends at Environmental Leader covered findings from a great report, Ten Ways to Slash Energy Cost & Reduce Budget Uncertainty, from enterprise software provider Verisae this week.

Small change can create big impact.

Small Efficiency Changes Save Big Bucks, Report Says cited big change from low-capital adjustments made by large scale grocery retailers, the largest energy consumers in the retail sector (who also reap the narrowest margins, making them excellent candidates for energy savings services). A few highlights from the list speak directly to the BuildingAdvice suite of energy services programs:

  • Monitor energy consumption in real time. (BuildingAdvice Verify’s measurement and verification capability provides ongoing, continuous monitoring to answer this need.)
  • Capture and analyze complete and accurate data from your utility bills. (Did you know BuildingAdvice automatically populates utility data into an Energy Benchmark Report, and saves that information for the next time you want to rebenchmark?)

Sidenote: industry studies show that one to three percent of all utility bills contain billing errors, the report pointed out.

Though the report concedes that the most noticeable savings comes from replacement of equipment, it found companies that have made continuous, small improvements have reaped huge rewards over time. (BuildingAdvice’s Energy Assessment Report is perfect for uncovering low- and no-cost adjustments to achieve energy savings.)

"General mandatory" sign in UK

In the UK, The Telegraph reported that Property bosses want energy efficiency displayed. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the property industry advocated for mandatory energy efficiency disclosure laws on commercial buildings. Currently, only public sector buildings are required to provide Display Energy Certificates (DECs) which rank their energy efficiency.

The letter warned that without a “level playing field,” the green credentials of buildings will never be improved.

Lastly, the Sacramento Bee reported Detroit Media Partnership Receives $150,000 Incentive for Energy Efficiency Projects through DTE Energy’s ‘Your Energy Savings’ Program

DTE Music Center: A better use for all that energy

That’s right, the nice people at Michigan utilities provider DTE have been itching to give away cash incentives for energy efficient upgrades since launching Your Energy Savings for residential and business customers in 2009. Customers can earn incentives if they make improvements from a list of qualified efficiency upgrades, including HVAC systems. The Bee reported:

Detroit Media Partnership received the funds for a chiller and heat exchanger replacement project. This incentive paid for 40 percent of the project, which included replacing chillers that were 40 years old.

 

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