Many facility managers and building owners have “run the numbers” and researched the effectiveness of energy reduction in their buildings. Not to mention, it also increases the value of an existing building, reduces risks associated with downtime, and reduces regular operating costs- which can now be viewed as controllable costs. Oftentimes, due to certain types of energy analysis and building and operations detective work, we are able to reduce current energy consumption in existing buildings by anywhere from 15 – 40%.
Well, the market realizes that there is a significant opportunity out there to make a change, but no one is educating the masses on where to start and what kinds of solutions may be applicable to your specific building and BUDGET.
Come and see us speak on this subject at the **FREE to attend** NFM&T conference in Baltimore, MD.
Our engineers and industry experts will be presenting:
While we hope to see you in our audience as we speak at NFM&T, if your schedule is tight, we also will be available to answer any of your questions at our BOOTH #2266 at any time that the exhibit hall is open (Tues – Thurs).
If unable to make it to the Baltimore area for the show, please feel free to contact us through our website, or by email: email@example.com and we will answer your questions as soon as possible!
In talking with building owners and operators at trade-shows, I have found that many people feel as though their existing buildings are too old to become energy efficient and sustainable. They feel as though buildings built in the 70’s, 80’s, or even in the 90’s are too outdated to become energy efficient. In reality, buildings that are twenty, thirty, or even older have great potential for becoming green buildings. Existing buildings will not reduce their energy use on their own. People need to investigate the buildings and identify where energy is being wasted or used inefficiently. There are numerous energy saving opportunities within existing buildings, that if implemented could yield significant savings.
The Empire State Building is a great example of an older building lowering their energy use and becoming more sustainable. The building underwent a $20 million dollar retrofit over the past two years to lower its energy use. The project included upgrading the building’s windows, installing reflective barriers behind radiators, reducing plug loads, reducing lighting loads, replacing constant air handling units with variable air volume units, switching to demand controlled ventilation, and retrofitting the chiller plant. This may seem like an enormous amount of capital and you might assume that the payback on the retrofit can not justify the high upfront cost. However, prior to the retrofit, the annual cost of energy for the Empire State Building was $11.5 million dollars. The retrofit is expected to reduce the buildings energy consumption by 38%, resulting in an annual savings of $4.4 million dollars. Putting the $20 million investment into perspective shows how financially attractive this project was. For more information on the Empire State Building retrofit project visit www.esbsustainability.com.
Before deciding that a new building is needed to reduce energy consumption, evaluate your existing building to see if it can be transformed into a green building. Think about how much more it would cost to rebuild, rather than retrofit, the Empire State Building. From this perspective, $20 million dollars for a green building could be considered a deal!
Many people consider it to be more green to retrofit and reuse an existing building rather than to build from the ground up. Retrofitting avoids both the demolition of the existing building and the construction of the new one. Even if efforts were made to recycle as much of the existing building material as possible, there would still most likely be a large amount of waste that would end up in a landfill. Consider just how much material would have to be manufactured and shipped to the site to build a new building. Reusing a building not only saves a tremendous amount of money, but energy and material as well and is the more environmentally friendly option in the long run.
More than a decade ago, caps were imposed on the rates charged by the electricity-generation industry. Today, those rate caps are set to expire. Current predictions call for an estimated 35% rate increase in electric generation prices when the remaining rate caps finally end throughout the state.
Thankfully, Harrisburg has enacted a piece of legislation to help Pennsylvania’s electric consumers ease the financial effects of rate deregulation. Act 129 of 2008 (House Bill 2200) was signed into Pennsylvania state law in October 2008. Act 129 requires PA’s seven major Electric Distribution Companies (EDCs) to enact Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EE&C) strategies. So, Act 129 should help when the caps come off.
In fact, the office of Governor Ed Rendell estimates that Act 129 will help residential, commercial, & industrial users save about $500 million over five years! But, don’t expect a quick fix to the anticipated rate increases. “Pennsylvania has been experiencing a 1.5% per year rise in annual electric use, & this new program will make use of many relatively small technologies to conserve electricity,” says Mike Smith, spokesperson for Gov. Rendell. “This is one way to make the price increases from the end of rate caps more manageable, while also lowering greenhouse emissions.”
But, what exactly is Act 129? Act 129 requires each of the seven major EDCs in PA to adopt a plan to reduce energy demand & consumption within its service territory. The policy declares that the health, safety, & prosperity of Pennsylvania are dependent on having adequate, reliable, affordable, & environmentally sustainable electric service. The PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) is actively involved in the implementation process for Act 129, expanding the PUC’s oversight responsibilities & imposing new requirements on EDCs. According to the plan, Pennsylvania’s consumers will employ conservation techniques to reduce electric consumption 1% by 2011 & 3% by 2013. Utilities must also cut peak usage during the 100 hours of highest use by 4.5% by 2013. The legislation has also provided the state’s PUC with the authority to assess fines if utilities miss their conservation goals. These fines could range from $100,000 per day to upwards of $20 million (which the EDC cannot recover from the ratepayers).
What about the Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EE&C) strategies? On or before July 1, 2009, all PA electric distribution companies with at least 100,000 customers developed & filed an EE&C plan to the PUC for approval. Many of the EE&C plans include energy incentive programs for residential, municipal, commercial & industrial clients & provide funds to replace outdated equipment & lighting with modern, energy-efficient systems; to conduct energy audits; & to enact process & operational changes that result in energy savings. Find more information on your utility provider’s EE&C strategy by visiting the utility company website, or by visiting the PUC’s site.
Pennsylvania’s conservation program will also require that every electric consumer be equipped with smart meters within 15 years. A “smart meter” is bidirectional & records usage at least hourly. This technology will give consumers the information they need to better consume electricity during off-peak times, while electric utilities institute pricing plans that reward customers for non peak usage.
As a PA electricity consumer, I cannot say that I am excited for the anticipated increase of my utility bill when the caps expire. However as a concerned inhabitant of this planet, I am thrilled. This is a progressive step in an attempt to fundamentally change the way Pennsylvania looks at electric consumption. The responsibility now lies with the utility providers to guide consumers to sustainable lifestyle changes, & to do so quickly. Kudos to the PA government officials that are making efforts for action & not just worrying about keeping their jobs while padding their pockets. Harrisburg has set the challenge, Pennsylvania, are you up to it?
To view the bill please click the following link: House Bill 2200 – Act 129 of 2008 Bill