By: Meggan Shoberg
The health and safety of students in the classroom is of crucial importance. According to the U.S. Department of Education, currently 55 million people spend their time in K-12 buildings. That is about 20 percent of our current population! Teachers, students, administration, and staff are all spending a majority of their time indoors, between the walls of these vital buildings. The students who reside in these buildings consume more oxygen than their adult counterparts, and are afflicted by poor indoor air quality, inefficient energy systems and health risks at a higher rate.
Many Midwest schools have been recipients of Energy Star Awards, and that is an amazing first step to creating the best environment for learning. There are a couple of key considerations to make when analyzing your school building’s efficient and indoor air quality:
- Energy Star and other energy benchmarking programs are a standard for adults, not children. So, area schools should be looking to not just achieve minimum standards, but exceed them to accommodate their most vulnerable residents.
- Look at the building’s efficiency during occupied periods of time. While over a 24-hour period, a school may warrant acceptable results, these facilities are unoccupied a portion of the time and experience high traffic during school hours. Energy efficiency measures should account for the time that the building is actually using energy, not when it’s sitting dormant.
Over the next few months, we will be diving into the topic of efficiency, maintenance and indoor air quality of schools. We’ll be covering the benefits, low-cost improvement measures, EPA tools, and how Metropolitan Energy Center is a great partner for your school’s efficiency project. Stay tuned in the coming months as we explore this critical compenent to protecting the health of our students, and contact Meggan@metroenergy.org with questions about how your school can improve its efficiency.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, email@example.com
Tuesday, August 21st
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.
Date|Time: May 11th at 9:30 a.m.
Location: Project Living Proof, 917 Emanuel Cleaver Blvd.
Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM (CST)
MARC Boardroom | 600 Broadway Blvd #200 | Kansas City, MO 64105
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!
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)
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
Some images courtesy of all-free-download.com