At a recent Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) conference Andy Levin of Lean and Green Michigan noted contractors often only want to pursue the lowest hanging fruit or quickest profit when it comes to energy efficiency projects. He stressed the need to change that mindset. Andy suggested that it’s vital for energy professionals to utilize a comprehensive energy strategy in order to show the customer just how much energy savings are ultimately possible. Only when all areas of energy use are addressed can all financial rewards become evident and maximum energy savings be achieved.
A case study of a comprehensive energy strategy is the Jewel Heart project that was recently initiated in Ann Arbor by The Energy Alliance Group (EAG) of Michigan. At first the client’s goal was simply to upgrade the center’s lighting. The idea was to provide interior and exterior lighting improvements in order to help the center become brighter, safer and more energy-efficient. With that goal in mind it was agreed to install new exterior induction lights, interior LED lights and convert the exit signs to LEDs.
If lighting was ultimately the only upgrade the anticipated energy reduction would be more than 43 percent and the dollars saved approaching $1,200 a year. But money would have been left on the table. The EAG energy advisers applied for a rebate from DTE Energy for the energy efficiency upgrade and cost of the project was reduced.
“By doing so the client saved more than $1,500 a year in monthly service fees.”
But there was even more money to be saved! Looking beyond simply the lights it was discovered that the client was paying monthly service fees for a collection of gas and electric meters (a total of nine meters). This was the result of the facility housing multiple tenants by a previous owner. EAG recommended that Jewel Heart contact their utility providers and reduce the number of meters to just two. By doing so the client saved more than $1,500 a year in monthly service fees. The comprehensive energy strategy is showing value!
The next step in the relationship will be to evaluate the sites HVAC system which is old, outdated and an energy hog. The client is seeing the big energy losses that were invisible when they were simply doing business as usual. Their eyes are being opened up to the real opportunities present with energy efficiency renovations.
A comprehensive energy strategy, while costing more money at the outset, typically will give the greatest savings overall IF DONE CORRECTLY! And with the introduction of energy financing programs such as Property Assessed Clean Energy larger projects – $250,000 and up – are going to become the norm. Energy efficient renovations make more sense when the process looks at all the energy technology and not simply the one with the lowest cost or the easiest profit.
When customers truly understand how much money can be saved with comprehensive energy strategies, they realize how looking at all possible options tends to make the most sense. A professional energy expert can then follow up with details about options to finance or utilize rebates in order to make the project affordable from a cash flow perspective.
One of the greatest barriers to a successful energy efficiency renovation is a lack of information. If you are considering energy technology upgrades the Energy Alliance Group is in the process of compiling a free report entitled Ten Questions to Ask Before an Energy Efficiency Upgrade! The report details the most important information you will need in order to assure a successful outcome. If you would like a copy of the report sent to you, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Report” in the subject and your name and e-mail address in the message.