Guest Blog by Jane Hinds; Edited by Natalie Phillips

City of Columbia, Missouri Water & Light was recognized as one of the Department of Energy’s 2019 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year. The City also achieved this award in 2018. This prestigious accomplishment recognizes Water & Light’s innovative and inclusive approach
to energy efficiency and its efforts to iterate and expand offerings to reach new clients, and improve more homes and rental properties. Applicants are evaluated based on collaboration with other utility providers, the accessibility of their programming and
the extent of the “whole-house approach” being accomplished.

“We are very excited to earn this award for a second year,” Director of Utilities Tad Johnsen said. “Since we initiated our Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, we have been tailoring our programming to better coordinate with our partners and meet community needs while supporting other City initiatives. Receiving this recognition validates our efforts and incentivizes us to work towards higher goals.”

The 2019 ENERGY STAR Award winners are industry leaders in the production and sale of energy-efficient products and services, and in the development and adoption of strategies that provide substantial energy and money savings in the buildings where we live and
work. Columbia’s Home Performance with the ENERGY STAR program uses a whole-house approach to energy efficiency and offers rebates and low-interest loans to help residents achieve their energy efficiency goals. Average Home Performance participants see a twenty-five percent savings on their heating and cooling costs.

This program was initiated in 2008 and the Utility has since introduced additional programs such as the Employee Outreach Program which offers employees free home energy efficiency assessments, Enhanced Home Performance and Enhance Your Attic which focus on increasing access to income eligible residents, and Attic Plus which incentivizes landlords to insulate attics in smaller duplexes and condos with less attic space. Water & Light staff members also provide a Building Performance Institute certified contractor training
program, and partners with local co-op Boone Electric, to create consistency to ensure that all Columbia’s residents have the opportunity to benefit from energy efficiency improvements.

For more information about the City’s programming, visit ColumbiaPowerPartners.com.

By: Mary English

Those that have been in the lighting business a long time can probably remember the struggle of energy efficient lighting: The product came into the market higher priced than their older cousins, the fluorescent light bulb. They were too bright. Too white. What was the benefit?

The benefit, it turned out, was energy savings. Lots and lots of energy savings. (Some would say the aesthetics have since caught up to this benefit as well.) However, since the habit was to change out light bulbs once the old ones aged and burned out, the lighting retrofit took a while to gain traction.

We now find ourselves in the same situation with a new product package in the commercial market: the humble motor, fan, and VFD packaged retrofit for HVAC and refrigeration.

HVAC takes up to 30-50% of your utility bills according to the US Department of Energy and field experts — and the vast majority of commercial properties are wasting money on inefficient equipment. This is due to manufacturers cutting costs with the original cheaper components to boost margin. One of these main components is the motor that drives the air flow in forced air systems.

There has been a new kid in town for quite some time, but it remains virtually unknown to those in the energy efficiency business: electronically commutated motors (ECM). These motors are 70% more efficient than their older cousins, the shaded pole motor.  This technology has been around for decades, but has remained virtually unused since it hasn’t been mandated by code.

The mandate for brand new equipment is about to change from the DOE this June for brand new installs, but this still leaves almost 90% – including relatively new systems – in HVAC and refrigeration installed with these old motors that burn through your utility dollars much like the old incandescent light bulbs. Most people upgrade their equipment when it breaks down, just like businesses waited until their light bulbs burned out in the old days. This thinking is short sighted, especially when you see how much impact on energy use a new motor retrofit can have on your bottom line.

A Kansas City based company – FridgeWize – is out to change minds and bring awareness to this opportunity in the commercial market.  They are uniquely positioned in that they are the only company in the U.S. with a business model to retrofit high efficiency ECM’s to end-user businesses and property owners nationwide.

Founded in 2010, they have already done retrofits nationwide in major chain restaurants. One such nationwide retrofit saved over 5-million kilowatt hours (kWh) over 450 restaurant locations – that is the equivalent of a 2 megawatt solar field (at almost five times less the cost of renewable installs). For energy wonks, the numbers are fun to see. In refrigeration, FridgeWize consistently sees 80-90% energy savings when retrofitting an old shaded pole motor with an ECM and their own carbon fiber blade where they have a patent pending (see Image 1) on the walk-in cooling units.

Image 1. Testing measurement of energy pull via amps from old motor (Base Line) to new ECM and carbon fiber blade for walk-in storage refrigeration.

In more traditional HVAC air delivery – such as roof top units, air handlers and VAV fan boxes – the kWh savings are not as aggressive, but still better than any other more common retrofits in the industry; and roughly 10% the cost of replacing an entire HVAC system. FridgeWize in several case studies has seen roughly 60% reduction in kWh’s on the power needed to operate the blower fans when using ECM’s along with a variable speed drive (VFD). This is illustrated in Image 2.

Image 2. Before and After an ECM plus VFD and smart card install on a roof top unit at a large manufacturing facility in the Kansas City area.

FridgeWize has seen validation in the last several years through international awards won in the industry. In 2016 they won the illustrious Energy Efficient Product of the Year for HVAC&R. The firm’s CEO, Ryan Grobler, was presented the award in London after beating out high profile products from the likes of Mitsubishi and Samsung manufacturers.

“We are excited to be in Kansas City as this community thrives in sustainable leadership. We have been flying below the radar, but with the aggressive rebates being offered by KCP&L for our products, we don’t think we will be a secret much longer,” said Grobler. “With the rebates, we’re looking at return on investment for these retrofits in 1 – 2 years max.”

The rebates Grobler mentioned are the 75% HVAC bonus rebate being offered by KCP&L through September of this year, or when the money runs out – whichever comes first.

For more information on FridgeWize and their retrofit products, they can be reached at 913-579-8484 or info@fridgewize.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENERGY SOLUTIONS HUB with Metropolitan Energy Center can help you save on energy costs and live in a more comfortable climate year round.

“Speed Greening” – Speed Dating, Energy Efficiency style!

Media contact: Beth Pauley, beth@metroenergy.org

Tuesday, August 21st

402-469-4091

 

Kansas City, MO – Metropolitan Energy Center is joining Kansas City Power & Light, Spire Energy, and fellow energy enthusiasts to host a “speed greening” happy hour!  Speed Greening is the energy efficiency equivalent of speed dating, where guests will have the opportunity to meet their choice of energy solutions vendors in a quick, informal round-table.

Kansas City residents are becoming accustomed to extreme weather patterns, and these energy efficiency measures will decrease the overall environmental impact your energy use has in the community.  Best of all, they are cost-efficient and will eventually pay for themselves.

This is a great way to simultaneously tackle your costs and slow the future effects of climate change by reducing your building’s greenhouse gas emissions.

This event will also introduce you to the MEC’s Energy Solutions Hub, which is a metro-wide continuation of the great work the Kansas City Energy Project began to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in Kansas City. Ticket price includes admission as well as refreshments, including happy hour beverages.

Although our Energy Solutions Hub is new, we have been local leaders for energy efficiency for 35 years. If you cannot attend the networking event and want more information on how you can live in a comfortable climate without burning your pocket book, contact Sara (Sara@metroenregy.org). We can help you develop a request for proposals to send out to potential auditors, evaluate their responses, schedule your audit, and file your rebate.

Energy Solutions Hub

Date|Time: May 11th at 9:30 a.m.

Location: Project Living Proof, 917 Emanuel Cleaver Blvd.

Time/Date:

Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM (CST)

Location:

MARC Boardroom | 600 Broadway Blvd #200 | Kansas City, MO 64105

Description:

Energy Efficiency and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) provide increased support for strong local economic development. This event will provide economic developers and municipal leaders information on Kansas City Power & Light’s energy efficiency offerings, specifically who can take advantage of them and what the expected local impact of these offerings can mean for your community. Additionally, hear about PACE’s impacts on your community and how you can use it to increase economic development locally. Join us for this free event!

Speakers:

PACE for commercial properties

  •    Show Me PACE – Commercial PACE (Josh Campbell)
  •    Missouri Clean Energy District – Residential PACE (John Harris)

Energy Efficiency for commercial properties

  •    Kansas City Power and Light (Kevin Brannan)

PACE Case Studies

  •    Municipal Speakers (Dennis Murphey, City of Kansas City; and City of Independence invited)
  •    Residential PACE (John Maslowski, Renovate America)
  •    Commercial PACE (Rob Shear, PACE Sage, and property owner)

 

 

Metropolitan Energy Center invites you to our second Home Energy Open House on Saturday, October 21st from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at 917 Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard in Kansas City, MO  64110.  It’s is all about home energy efficiency, and how you can make it a reality in your home.  This free event is open to the public.

Anyone interested in learning more about home energy efficiency, long-term utility savings and how efficiency lets you live more comfortably is welcome.  You’ll be able to meet with energy efficiency experts and contractors, get up to speed on utility rebates for home energy improvements, or learn about adding solar power to your home.

You’ll also be able to tour Project Living Proof,  MEC’s energy demonstration site.  This 100-year old house was completely gutted and rebuilt with multiple energy-saving and renewable energy technologies. It’s a fascinating look at what’s possible with an existing property, and we enjoy introducing it to our guests.

We’ll also feature free drinks and snacks.  Parking is available at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost, Kansas City, MO  64110.  From the Discovery Center parking lot, look for the wooden walkway to Project Living Proof and enter through the back door.

Please contact David Albrecht at (816) 531-7283 with any questions.  Hope to see you there!

 

 (KANSAS CITY, Kan.)The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is looking to collaborate with community partners and neighborhood groups to offer educational workshops for Wyandotte County residents. Together with our community partners, we have the opportunity to positively encourage and engage individuals and families to enjoy energy savings.

Providing and promoting energy efficiency programs connect community members with local representatives for resources and free energy-saving information. Attendees can benefit from expert-lead energy efficiency workshops that focus on heating and cooling, lighting, home technology and other topics such as:

  • Simple, effective and low-cost strategies that can be used to reduce water and electricity use.
  • Learning how to take advantage of rebate incentive programs upon installing new energy-smart HVAC systems.
  • The importance of renewable energy for our community and the benefits of community solar.

Working together to offer energy efficiency workshops bridges the gap between area citizens and the public agencies committed to serving our community. Community and neighborhood organizations interested in energy efficiency programs are invited to contact BPU Development Coordinator, David Allen at (913) 573-9922

Metropolitan Energy Center is adding a more musical touch to its annual reception this year. They’ll be doing their celebration in The Blue Room.

“I guess you can say we’ve jazzed it up,” said Warren Adams-Leavitt, the Energy Center’s Executive Director.

Once a year MEC, the non-profit dedicated to educating the community about the positives of energy efficient use, has a festive occasion to celebrate its successes and give its vendors, partners and sponsors a chance to network with one another. It’s a way not only to show supporters the in-roads MEC has made in the past year in its mission, but also an opportunity to increase membership.

This will be the 7th annual reception and each one has been a light-hearted evening of entertainment and fun. Organizers believe this event will not be any different.

Food will be served, drinks will be flowing and it’s hoped that a good time will be had by all.

Check your email and stay tuned on this site for more information.

To all Energy Auditors, Contractors and interested parties: The current Midwest Home Performance with Energy Star rebate program jointly offered by KCP&L and MGE will end in December 2015. KCP&L is requiring that all jobs must be completed, tested out and submitted by December 18, 2015 in order to qualify for rebates. We believe it likely that MGE will also require submittals by this date, but we have not yet received confirmation. Please review your customer files and alert all potential participants of this time line so that they can make plans to finish up in time for you to test-out and submit the completed job in Compass by Dec. 18th. Thank you for your attention to this requirement and we wish you much success!