Posts Tagged ‘commercial buildings’

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.

MSCA Musings: Following Up After the Conference

October 27th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Guest post by Jim Crowder, BuildingAdvice 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 BuildingAdvice 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.

BuildingAdvice 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.

PECI Projected to Deliver $13.9 million in Energy Savings, 400 Jobs to California

August 10th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Portland-based PECI has won an $18.8 million contract from the California Energy Commission to manage an “EnergySmart Jobs” program that will create more than 200 California jobs.

The “EnergySmart Jobs” program will provide energy efficiency training throughout California to implement efficiency upgrades on commercial buildings. The company will also hire and retain over 200 contractor and energy surveyor positions. The program will focus on regions within California with lots of opportunity for efficiency savings and high unemployment.

The 18-month program is paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and is slated to deliver $13.9 million in initial energy savings for electricity rate payers during the first year and a half.

The program will also create three jobs in Portland, Sustainable Business Oregon reports.

Additional program partners include private contractors, utilities, manufacturers, and the California Conservation Corps. “The Conservation Corps ‘Corpsmembers’ are comprised of unemployed or otherwise economically disadvantaged people between the ages of 18 and 25, with the intention of helping those in greatest need get a ‘head start’ in the employment market,” according to PECI’s press release.

PECI has a longstanding relationship with the State of California, having delivered energy efficiency programs throughout the state for 20 years and employing 28 in the state.

Energy Disclosure Ordinances

February 9th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Coming soon to a city near you…the latest in processes, requirements, and methods to impact the amount of energy consumed by buildings is an ordinance for energy benchmarking.  Seattle’s mayor today announced this new ordinance which requires large commercial and multi-family property owners in Seattle to annually measure, or benchmark, energy use and provide the City with ratings to allow comparison across different buildings. Building owners will also be required to share energy usage and ratings with prospective buyers, tenants and lenders during the sale, lease or financing of properties.

More efficient, green buildings cost less to operate, attract more tenants, command higher rent, and sell for more.  For these reasons, it is important that people and businesses have access to information about the building’s energy efficiency so that they can make smart decisions on here to work, live, and play.  Christian Guntner with Kennedy Associates, a Seattle-based institutional real estate investment advisor, points out that building owners who aren’t benchmarking, monitoring, and improving energy consumption are going to be less competitive.

Tough Love for the HVAC Industry

February 13th, 2009 by Tim Kensok

HVAC mechanical service contractors are walking through buildings not serving their customers’ real needs and leaving money on the table, every single day.  Sure its tough out there – few new construction projects, tougher to justify retrofits, preventive maintenance (PM) contracts getting cut.

This is our premise:  Now is the time to solve real problems for your customer, take share, and grow (yes, you heard me right), GROW your business.  It’s not about science experiments and voodoo engineering, its just about shining a light on what you already know:

  • Your customers’ buildings are not operating efficiently
  • It’s costing them a lot of money, and
  • You can help them fix their problems

We can help you equate your PM service with reducing building operating costs, get you more service work, justify retrofits, and take share.  How?  As a provider of web-based software for providing energy services, we have visibility into the results of hundreds of buildings recently analyzed by our customers.  Here is what we typically see:

  • Most buildings are in the 50,000 to 150,000 square foot range
  • They spend between $1.50 and $3.50 per square foot on energy
  • Every building our customers have assessed can save at least 10% through simple low and no-cost fixes, such as fixing schedules and temperature control issues, reducing excess outside air, and fixing economizers

Our conclusion – EVERY building is an opportunity.  Even buildings that perform well today.  We’ve seen cases where our customers have found $25,000 in annual savings in ENERGY STAR-certified buildings.  Wouldn’t delivering that message justify your service agreement?

What your sales team needs is some backbone to take on the bean counters.  If they don’t find it somehow, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table and leaving your customer to find someone else to fix it for them.  And believe me, they will.  BOMA is all over this, telling their members there is significant savings to be had by reducing energy waste through no and low-cost fixes.  It’s a target-rich environment.  You need to get off your butt, go measure the buildings, and find the savings.

Or maybe this is too challenging for you and you want to leave it to the competition.  Or maybe your financial guys are taking over your company and want to lay off half your staff and send up a white flag.  No more capital spending, reduce expenses, retreat, retreat, retreat!  If you are in the automotive business or a banker, or sold shoes at Macy’s, yeah you might want to consider finding a blanky, a warm room, and start sucking your thumb – but you’re not.

Forget that.  Get in the game.  You have the ability to position yourself in one of the hottest markets around right now – energy.  There’s a reason why the only industries that VCs are investing in are clean tech, green tech, and energy-related.  It’s the future.

So, quit analyzing it.  Just get moving.  We’re 6 weeks into a year that’s destined for a 35% drop, if you let it happen.  Jeff Souza from EMCOR Facilities Services hit the nail right on the head when he said, “If you do the same thing in 2009 as you did in 2008 and think you can expect the same result, you’re crazy. You have to do something different.”

We think the thing you have to do is show your customer how you can reduce their operating costs, and deliver on that promise.  It’s not hard, it’s just different.