Oct 16

October Newsletter

Microsoft Outlook - Memo Style

Sep 27

Saving Energy Through Behavior FAQ

We get a lot of questions about saving energy using a behavior-based energy efficiency program such as the CLASS 5 Plan.   Let us answer the top 5 for you!

Q.  How much can I save using a behavior-based approach?

 

A.  At CLASS 5, our clients are able to reduce energy use and costs by 8% on average in the first year.  From there, the savings climb!  Behavioral techniques are unique because they are not one-time fixes for excessive energy use.  Instead, they build year after year as energy efficiency becomes a part of your organization’s culture.  We have had clients save 10%, 20% and even 30% – equating to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Check out the story of Cambridge-Isanti Schools, a seven-building district that saved over $2.6 million using our SEE® Program.

 

Q.  How much will a program like yours cost me?

 

A.  Behavior programs have some of the lowest upfront investment costs of any energy efficiency solution.  This is because we utilize low- and no-cost strategies, as well as focusing on the people that use the energy rather than the equipment.  With the CLASS 5 Plan, you will never be asked to invest in expensive asset improvements in order to see your savings.   Your investment is up to you – clients can spend as little as a few thousand dollars for materials and some as-needed consulting support, or they can invest more and receive all of the resources we have to offer: a dedicated consultant for your organization, on-site support and training, utility tracking, customized awareness materials, a database of electronic resources, engineering expertise and more!  We know that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to saving energy, and will work with clients to find a price range and set of materials that works best for them.

 

Q.  Can I pay for the program out of my energy savings?

 

A.  There are other programs out there that guarantee impressive energy reduction numbers. Unfortunately those programs also retain most of those savings as payment for that guarantee.  At CLASS 5 Energy, we believe you deserve to keep what you’ve saved.  It was your commitment and participation in the program that saved the energy in the first place!  Although a small upfront investment is necessary, most of our clients are able to see an ROI of less than 1 year – essentially paying for the program out of savings by paying yourself back.  From there, you keep every extra dollar saved. The sky is the limit!  The more effort you put in – the more you will save.  Here is an example of what an ROI + savings for a typical single-building organization might look like:

 

  • 100,000 square feet of space @ $1.50 energy cost/square foot = approximately $150,000/year in energy expenses
  • $5,000 investment in a CLASS 5 Energy behavior-based energy efficiency program
  • 5% energy decrease over the course of 1 year = cost avoidance of $7,500.

 

You’ve paid for the program in just 1 year AND you have excess savings in your pocket!

 

Q.  What do you mean by “low- and no-cost” energy saving techniques?

 

A.   With our behavior programs, we focus on the people in your organization, rather than the equipment.  Our strategies identify and recommend ways to run your current systems in the most efficient way possible.  They also focus on educating people and asking them to do their part.  You can purchase the highest quality energy efficient equipment available – but if people are leaving lights on 24/7, or if programming set points and run times are incorrect, you will never see a savings. Here are some examples of low- and no-cost strategies we use with our clients:

 

 

 

Q.  How will I know how much energy and money we are really saving?

 

A.  Tracking your conservation progress is a key factor when it comes to implementing a successful energy program.  We liken it to losing weight – if you never step on the scale, you will never know how much your hard work is paying off!  Our “scale” is CLASS 5’s Utility Tracking tool.   Using a web-based platform, we will set up a 12-month baseline to compare your energy use now to energy use prior to beginning the program.  By comparing apples-to-apples you are able to see exact reductions at your facility. Our comprehensive data analysis includes: meter level tracking of electricity, natural gas and fuel oil (water coming soon!); cost-avoidance; weather normalization; statistical dollar adjustments accounting for today’s energy prices and ENERGY STAR® compatibility.

 

 

Have more questions?  Contact us today!  Our consultants are happy to talk you through how a behavior-based energy program could work for you!

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Sep 26

Energy Saving Ideas for K-12 Schools

It’s September, and suddenly there is a chill in the air. There is no greater time than right before heating season to put some great energy saving ideas into practice in your district!Energy saving ideas for K-12 schools

The fall months are what we call “swing months.”  This means that the temperature swings from hot to cold, and depending on the day, you may turn on the heat, run the cooling – or do both!

These crazy swing months can end up costing schools a lot of money in energy consumption – and good or bad habits can be made before the boiler kicks in full time for winter.

 

Here are 3 ways to get your energy use (and costs!) under control:

 

thermometer

1. Be sure your building operations team is checking the temperature and adjusting as appropriate.  We see it all the time – set a building’s temperature at a comfortable 74° and let it go.  But this is one of the most inefficient things you can do!  Instead, pay attention to the weather, not just during school hours, but before and after school as well.  Utilize cool nights to flush warm air out and avoid turning on your chillers at all.  Cash in on the sun by turning off the heat, opening the shades and letting buildings warm naturally.  Your staff and students will benefit from the additional sunlight!  If your windows open, now is the time to bring in all that fresh air and give your operational systems a break.

 

Energy Saving Ideas for K-12 Schools 2. Winter time means chilly drafts – do a thorough check of your building envelope to be sure that you don’t have any major energy-sucking drafts anywhere in your buildings.  Look for leaks around windows and doors by doing the simple “dollar test.”  If you can slide a bill easily between the edges of the frames, you have a leak!  Utilize things like window plastic and edging seals, or caulk around seams.  Don’t forget about leaky outlets; check outlets along outside walls, and cover any that are not being used.

 

 

Energy Saving Ideas for K-12 Schools 3.  Adjust your thermostat.  The ideal temperature for energy efficiency is 68-70°F.  Communicate with staff and students the importance of dressing for the weather to ensure that people aren’t uncomfortable.  Be sure you are doing night and weekend set-backs as well.  You can let your buildings drift down to a chilly 50° without fear of freezing pipes when they are completely unoccupied.  For every 1° you set back your temperature for at least 8 hours, you’ll save 1% on your energy bill.  That means going from 70° to 50° between 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. will reduce energy use from heating by a whopping 20%!

 

A little bit goes a long way – doing just these 3 simple things
will make a big difference this winter!

Your Take:

This is what our clients are doing to save energy.  Tell us what you are doing in your school to increase energy savings by leaving a comment below.

 

Energy Grader

Take our FREE assessment to evaluate the extent and impact of your energy efficiency efforts.

 

FREE 30-min Consultation

Identify your current areas of strengths and prioritize resources for achieving your organizational energy goals.

 

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Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

Sep 24

Energy Conservation Techniques

 Once you’ve decided to want to reduce energy use in your buildings, there are several options.  You could:

 

  • Upgrade your current energy consuming systems – put in a new HVAC unit, install automated controls or replace your current light fixtures with ones that are more energy efficient
  • Replace windows or your roof with more energy efficient options
  • Install solar panels or a wind turbine

 

or…you could consider behavior-based energy conservation techniques.

 

Behavior-based energy efficiency is different from other options for two main reasons:

 

  1. It requires the least amount of capital investment
  2. It works with the systems you have and focuses on changing how people use energy.

 

So what are some examples of behavior-based energy conservation techniques?  Things such as:

 

  • Reducing lighting through delamping and turning off unused lights
  • Working with your IT team to shut down computers and other equipment during off-hours
  • Changing your thermostat set points
  • Working with your building operations team to come up with new schedules and processes
  • Reducing plug load
  • Communicating with your employees and others who use energy in your building(s) on a regular basis about the value and benefits of energy conservation
  • And  many others, such as these Top 20 Low and No Cost Tips, or these Top 15 Operational Strategies

 

But knowing a few key tips is just the first step – the long-term value of behavior-based energy conservation comes through its focus on education, communication and engagement. 

 

Anyone can make a change for a day, whether it’s not smoking, eating well, exercising or turning off your computer monitor at the end of the day. But turning that one-day change into a habit involves time, repetition, consistency and an ongoing sense of commitment. That’s where education, communication and engagement come in.

 

At CLASS 5 Energy, we provide our clients with the tools and resources they need to educate, communicate and engage with people across your organization.  Our proven behavior-based program helps your organization achieve a culture of energy conservation that will thrive for years to come.

 

Call today to learn how you can reduce energy use and costs in your buildings without significant capital investment and focusing on the systems and people currently in place.

 

Energy Grader

Take our FREE assessment to evaluate the extent and impact of your energy efficiency efforts.

 

FREE 30-min Consultation

Identify your current areas of strengths and prioritize resources for achieving your organizational energy goals.

 

Click or Call 1-800-783-5630

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Read future articles about saving energy and money at work.  In addition, you will receive our monthly newsletter.

 

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Sep 23

10 Energy Facts for K-12 Schools

If you are thinking about an energy conservation program for your school district, you are probably wondering how much of an impact it could make.  What kind of money can be saved?  How much will you actually be helping the environment?  Can an energy conservation program affect staff or student performance?

 

Here are 10 facts about energy efficiency for you to consider:

 

1.     Energy is a controllable cost.  U.S. schools spend more than $6 billion a year on energy.  Most schools could save 25% of these costs by being smarter about energy.  Energy improvements have the potential to save our nation’s schools $1.5 billion each year (U.S. Dept of Energy, 2002).

 

2.     You will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts. Improving energy efficiency in school buildings will help reduce GHG emissions and air pollutants by decreasing the consumption of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel consumption from electricity accounts for 40% of the nation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a principal GHG, and 67% and 23% of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, respectively, which can lead to smog, acid rain and respiratory problems for many people (U.S. EPA, 20081; U.S. EPA, 2008m).

 

3.     Turning off computers and managing IT systems will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.  The increase in computer labs and personal computers in schools has added a significant load to school energy budgets. When turned off over a 7-day break rather than being left in “active on” mode, one desktop computer and monitor would save $2.70 on average in one week. While this may seem inconsequential, multiply that by 100 computers in a school, or 1,000 computers in a district and the savings add up quickly. Institute a policy to turn off monitors when not in use to extend savings throughout the year (KY Energy and Environment Cabinet, 2011).

 

4.     You will help stimulate the economy. Investing in energy efficiency can stimulate the local economy and iStock_000006882451Mediumencourage development of energy efficiency service markets. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), approximately 60% of energy efficiency investments goes to labor costs, and half of all energy-efficient equipment is purchased from local supplies (U.S. DOE, 2004). Across the nation, energy efficiency technologies and services are estimated to have created more than 8 million jobs in 2006 (ASES, 2008).

 

5.     Your school will reduce its energy costs. Schools spend approximate $75 per student on gas and $130 per student on electricity each year (U.S. EPA, 2008). By implementing energy efficiency measures, many K-12 schools have been able to reduce energy costs by as much as 30% in excising facilities (U.S. EPA, 2004b). According to the EPA, modification of a pre-existing building for energy efficiency can save a typical 100,000 square-foot school building between $10,000 and $16,000 annually, and simple behavioral and operational measures alone can reduce energy costs by up to 25% (U.S. EPA, 2008).

 

6.     A typical commercial building spends 35% of its energy budget on lighting (2005 Buildings Energy Data Book).  Using a technique such as delamping will reduce unnecessary lighting as well as cut significant costs each month.

 

7.     That same commercial building spends 22% of its energy budget on space heating and cooling (2005 Buildings Energy Data Book).  For every 1° you adjust your thermostat, you can reduce energy use and costs by 1%.  Reducing temperature set points for just 8 hours per day will yield you these savings. (U.S. Department of Energy, 2012).

 

8.     Energy conservation improves student performance. Energy-efficient school building designs often use natural daylight to reduce the energy needed to light a building. Natural light has been proven to have a positive effect on student performance. According to a study for the California Board for Energy Efficiency, students exposed to natural daylight in classrooms progress as much as 20% faster on math tests and as much as 26% faster on reading tests than students with no daylight exposure (HMG, 1999). Another study concluded that students in schools that offer environmental education programs have higher test scores than students in schools with no such programs (U.S. EPA, 2008).

 

9.     Energy efficient schools have better indoor air quality. Some energy efficiency upgrades can improve occupant health by enhancing indoor air quality. Installing energy recovery ventilation equipment, for example, can reduce infiltration of air contaminants from outdoors while significantly reducing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning energy loads (U.S. EPA, 2003). One study on building performance found that average reduction in illness as a result of improved air quality in buildings is about 40% (Carnegie Mellon, 2005).

 

10.   Reducing energy has a major effect on the environment.  For every 1,000 kwh you are able to shave from your energy consumption, you are reducing CO2 emissions equivalent to 79 gallons of gasoline, 29 propane cylinders or carbon sequestered by 18 saplings.  Each 1,000 therms of natural gas you reduce avoids GHG emissions equivalent to 2 tons of waste in the landfill or CO2 emissions from 12 barrels of oil (U.S. EPA, 2013).

 

Energy Grader

Take our FREE assessment to evaluate the extent and impact of your energy efficiency efforts.

 

FREE 30-min Consultation

Identify your current areas of strengths and prioritize resources for achieving your organizational energy goals.

 

Click or Call 1-800-783-5630

Subscribe Today

Read future articles about saving energy and money at work.  In addition, you will receive our monthly newsletter.

 

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