8A — January 27 - February 9, 2012 — Green Buildings — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
G REEN B UILDINGS
o how does a commer- cial customer reduce energy costs, freeze By Dennis Wilson, Renewable Power Energy efficiency upgrades: How commercial customers reduce energy costs S
sized to the reduced electric needs of their facility. During the past several de- cades commercial customers have seen their electric costs rise and fall and rise again. The costs of nuclear genera- tion was supposed to provide the nation with low cost elec- tricity, but increased safety and operating costs raised their costs of electricity. Coal generation, fully 50% of the country’s electricity mix, con- tributes greatly to particulate pollution and climate change.
Billions are being spent to re- duce these impacts and many small coal generation plants have been retired or will be retired during the next de- cade because it is too costly to upgrade them. That leaves us with natural gas genera- tion, with its unpredictable and volatile costs. Natural gas, due to the new supply of natural gas from Marcel- lus Shale development, is now at $3.00/mmbtu, only thirty percent of the price it commanded only five years
ago. Although natural gas is less polluting than coal or oil generation, it still contrib- utes significantly to climate change and the leakage of natural gas (methane) from gas drilling and transport has twenty times the impact of carbon dioxide emissions in contributing to climate change. Renewable Power Inc. is one company bringing an integrated approach to en- ergy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for its com-
mercial, industrial and insti- tutional customers. The se- nior management of RPI has combined experience of over thirty years in developing and installing lighting and HVAC efficiency upgrades, and nine years developing solar electric projects. Den- nis Wilson, the president of Renewable Power, has been developing efficiency, cogen- eration and solar energy projects for thirty years and believes they are a natural marriage. “Every energy user should make their facility en- ergy efficient before deciding what size renewable genera- tion system is appropriate for their long term energy needs. Not doing so risks install- ing a solar electric system that becomes oversized once they completed the process of becoming energy efficient, and would result in the ex- cess electric produced sold back to the electric utility at wholesale rates rather than displacing electric consumed on site at retail rates”, said Wilson. A lighting audit is usually the first step, particularly in warehouse and light manu- facturing, where lighting can comprise 50% of total electric usage. A new generation of high bay fluorescent fixtures, using either T8 or T5 lamps, can yield 40%-60% reduc- tions in electric consumption compared to existing HID fixtures and pay for their installed cost in two to three years. LED fixtures are also becoming widely available and are particularly cost ef- fective replacing lamps that have a short life and high maintenance cost, due to the 50,000 hour life expectancy of many LED lamps. Office space renovations are also starting to see the introduc- tion of recessed LED lighting, which consume as little as 30% of some older fluorescent fixtures containing four T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts. A thorough analysis of exist- ing HVAC systems is also needed and higher efficiency air conditioning equipment can further reduce the appro- priate size of a solar electric generation system. Dennis Wilson is presi- dent of Renewable Power, Inc. ■
their electric costs for fu- ture years, and reduce their carbon footprint? Th e An - swer: By em- barking on an integrat-
ed program of cost effective energy efficiency upgrades and a solar electric system
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Sustainable Design & Construction Renovation/Restoration February 24 Deadline: February 10 Renewable & Alternative Energy March 30 Deadline: March 16
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