Lessons Learned From A Failed Energy Efficiency Project

INTRODUCTION
You would think that energy efficiency is relatively simple: perform an energy audit, install the retrofits and then reap the energy savings. Unfortunately, it doesn”t always work that way. We performed an energy assessment of several stores of a major retail chain in the San Francisco Bay Area and identified a handful of low-cost retro-commissioning measures that had very promising potential. We quantified the expected savings and costs and returned after the project was installed. We then measured the savings using various methods and found either minimal or negative savings. The problem we discovered was that on nearly every measure, the contractors had repaired the hardware, but through various means had ensured that energy savings would not occur. This paper provides an account of the failed project at one store and the steps we took to remedy it. Specifically, this paper stresses the importance of Measurement and Verification and Commissioning of the retrofits.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The store, located in San Francisco, belongs to a well-known national retailer, whose name we will not divulge. The store is an aggregate of 3 buildings which have been joined together to comprise almost 1,000,000 square feet, of which over half is selling floor. Stock rooms and offices comprise the remainder of the space. The different buildings range between 8 and 11 stories tall.

The three buildings comprising the store were built at different times from the 1920s to the 1980s. Originally the buildings had different air handling, chilled water and hot water systems. Over the years, through energy conservation and facility improvement measures, the chilled water systems have been merged into one system.

There were no operating boilers in the store. Steam is provided to the store by an external vendor. Hot water is supplied to multi-zone air handling units and perimeter reheats in some areas of the store via heat exchangers.
There is one common cooling plant which houses two 500 ton centrifugal chillers (2004) which run all year. Chilled water is supplied to the Air Handling Units (AHUs) via primary/secondary chilled water loops. During the hottest months, both chillers run at around 90% full load””this happens about 5 days/yr. During the cooler months, one chiller runs at about 40% full load. If you have been to San Francisco you probably know that even in summer a typical day only reaches about 60 degrees . A properly designed and operating building in San Francisco should not need mechanical cooling most of the year, instead relying upon outside air to meet its cooling needs. This was obviously not the case .

A utility bill analysis identified an out of control building. Figure 1 presents twelve months of average usage per day versus average outdoor temperature. Each point represents a billing period. The superimposed red line represents the statistically insignificant trend. The lack of clear trend indicates that the building is either haphazardly controlled or that energy use varies due to some other variable. We believe mostly the former. During warmer periods (which are not that warm) the store uses more energy, indicating a variable cooling load based upon weather conditions. (An ideal system that uses outside air whenever possible should show a horizontal trend in this 48 to 66 degree temperature range.)

There are over fifty AHUs: a mixture of single zone, multi-zone, and variable air volume units. Each of the three sections contains different types of AHUs.
Electricity Costs for the store were over $2.5M per year. With the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, smart retailers were looking to cut costs wherever possible. One line item that could be cut was utilities. Saving 10% or more could add at least $250,000 to the bottom line.

BACKGROUND OF THE UTILITY PROGRAM
There may be several reasons why California uses less than 50% per capita of the energy than the rest of the country, but one major reason is the aggressive effort of the California Public Utilities Commission to cut energy usage. Commercial ratepayers of the investor owned utilities pay a fee in their utility bills that funds energy efficiency programs. These funds are then channeled to the investor owned utilities to promote energy efficiency. These utilities have over one hundred targeted programs aimed at different vertical markets such as: wineries, retail, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. Often these programs will include free energy audits or retro-commissioning services in conjunction with generous incentives to implement energy efficiency measures. In some cases, the utilities will pay for up to 100% of the cost for implementing the measures. The utilities administer some programs directly and outsource others. The outsourced programs are designed and administered by third party energy consultants.

Quantum Energy Services & Technologies, Inc. (QuEST), an energy consulting firm headquartered in Berkeley, administers a retail program for PG&E which covers the San Francisco Bay Area. This program offers retailers free retro-commissioning studies along with incentives to implement energy conservation measures found. The utilities give incentives to the building owners based upon the amount of energy saved. But in order for energy savings to be recognized by PG&E, these savings need to be measured and verified and then the savings calculations must pass a review by third party reviewers. Nobody gets paid if the work does not pass the third party review. The third party review process is necessary to prevent false claims of savings, or gaming of the system. The reviewers can be tough and require all assumptions to be documented and based upon published standards or guidelines. The drawback of third party review is that some measures are dropped as the Measurement and Verification (M&V) costs would be prohibitively expensive.

QuEST retained our company as a subcontractor to help out with the retail program. Our company performed Retro-Commissioning (RCx) services on 8 stores belonging to this unnamed retailer, and this paper is about one of the stores. However, the same story occurred at most of the stores. It wasn”t one failure, but many.

A NOTE ON THE LEVEL OF RCx RIGOR
RCx is different from energy auditing in that RCx typically involves a more detailed study of the building”s control systems and HVAC systems than energy audits. In addition, RCx typically focuses on repairing, recalibrating and reprogramming, rather than procuring new equipment. Simple paybacks for RCx projects typically are under 2 years. Examples of RCx measures are: repairing inoperable equipment, programming controls, demand control ventilation, and calibrating temperature sensors. Examples of energy audit measures (which are not considered RCx measures) are: installing energy efficient chillers, boilers or package units, converting single zone HVAC systems to variable air volume systems, and installing EMS systems. Energy audit measures often are more expensive and may have longer paybacks. On the other hand, true RCx studies are much more detailed, and thus much more expensive to conduct than energy audits. RCx studies usually involve data logging, functional testing of controls, operator training and post implementation commissioning which repeats much of the data logging and functional testing that was previously done. RCx is criticized by some as too heavy on the analysis, as it can require hundreds of hours of work just to perform the study, whereas energy audits consume much less labor.

In order to make the most efficient use of ratepayer dollars, in QuEST”s RCx program the amount of engineering time was scaled down to minimize the time spent on work that does not directly lead to energy savings. Rather than write commissioning plans, and 100-page Master List of Findings reports, the interim deliverable is instead an Excel workbook that describes the measure, states all assumptions and measured values, and calculates the savings. Equipment is data-logged or trended before and after the implementation of the measures. Calculations are made in Excel so they can be verified by third party reviewers. Written reports come later, but are less extensive than typical RCx reports.

ONSITE INVESTIGATION
Two engineers spent 3 days onsite examining the store”s mechanical systems, uncovering problems, and identifying RCx Measures. Our work to this point was nearly identical to an energy audit.
Once the RCx Measures were identified, the list of RCx Measures was given to the customer who then decided which of them should be pursued. The list also was approved by the third party reviewer.

MEASURES FOUND
We found the store could save about $300,000 in both RCx and Retrofit Measures, which, with incentives offered a simple payback of less than six months. That is 12% of their energy spend. The following measure types were identified and approved by all parties:

Retrofit Measures
1.Install Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) on Multi-Zone Air Handling Units (AHUs).
2.Installation of VSDs on secondary chilled water loops.
RCx Measures
1.Repair economizer control on some air handlers. Many outside air dampers were rusted in place. A two by six was used to prop one open.
2.Repair a small number of faulty VSDs, some of which were in bypass running at 100% fan speed.
3.Reconnect static pressure lines. Some VSDs were running at full speed because the lines running to the static pressure sensors in the ducting had been previously destroyed by contractors.
4.Repair/Replace stuck chilled water valves. These valves were cooling whether the AHUs called for cooling or not. As a result, sales floor temperatures ranged from 62 degrees to 70 degrees.
5.Connect some AHUs to the Energy Management System. These AHUs were running wild and had no control at all.

DATA LOGGING
Once the measures were selected by the customer, QuEST engineers placed data loggers to measure pre-implementation temperatures and power. Temperatures measured included Outside Air Temperature (OAT), Return Air Temperature (RAT), Mixed Air Temperature (MAT) and Supply Air Temperature (SAT). Fan Motor kW were also logged for those units on VSDs. Spot measurements were taken of Fan Motor kW for AHUs that were not on VSDs.

SAVINGS CALCULATION
Energy savings were estimated using bin data simulations. Like-type AHUs were combined. Special care was taken in calculating energy savings to ensure that savings were not double-counted. Each energy conservation measure was modeled assuming the prior measures were already implemented. We integrated the interval data that we collected into the bin data simulations. To do this, we created regressions of our variables (RAT, MAT, SAT, kW) versus OAT. These regressions were used to project RATs, MATs, SATs and kW for other outdoor air temperatures that were not included in our sample.

INSTALLATION
Once we had estimated savings using our bin simulation models and provided measure costs, the customer decided which measures to implement. They then hired contractors to implement the measures. VSDs were installed and repaired, economizer dampers repaired, AHUs connected to the EMS system, etc.

M&V PROVES NO SAVINGS
Once the implementation was completed, QuEST engineers returned to the site and again data logged the same temperatures and power as before. The resulting data, RATs, MATs, SATs and kWs, was again regressed against OAT. Using the regression, RATs, MATs, SATs, and kW values were again extrapolated and placed into the bin simulations.

The resulting calculations demonstrated the unthinkable. Not only were the energy conservation measures we had recommended not saving energy, the affected systems at the store were using more energy than before! Actually, this could be seen from just looking at the interval data. It was obvious that the economizers and variable speed drives were not working as intended. The “repaired” economizers were letting in less outside air than before, and the variable speed drives were still commanding the fans to run at a constant load, but at a higher speed than before.

QuEST alerted the customer that their investments were not saving energy. Facility personnel then investigated the problems, found them, and corrected them.

Even though the contractors had made the economizers operational (as opposed to frozen), the damper actuators were not calibrated correctly. When dampers needed to be fully open, they were not. When dampers needed to be at minimum position, they were not. The variable speed drives were also installed incorrectly. Some wiring and controls issues were resolved and the units started operating as expected. Once these issues were resolved, M&V was performed again. We repeated the data-logging and placed this information into our bin simulations, and again projected the annual savings.
There are many ways energy efficiency projects can go wrong.

“Faulty recommendations
“Poor implementation
“Untrained staff who compromise all the energy conservation measures undertaken

Faulty recommendations may arise from a lack of understanding of how systems operate or should operate. Years of experience, and a good understanding of physics and control theory is necessary to make sound recommendations.

Poor implementation has many causes, but often can be traced to the mindset that having the right equipment will make the difference. But as the lessons learned here illustrate, installing the right hardware is only half the solution. It needs to be integrated into the system and operate according to a logical and beneficial sequence of operations.

The last item is especially troublesome because it is so common. Even if the right hardware is installed and controls optimized, small changes to the sequence of operations made to “fix” local problems may have large consequences on overall system performance over time. Changing supply air temperatures at the air handler to resolve hot or cold complaints may upset the balance of the system and cause problems elsewhere. Professors at Texas A&M University have pointed out that in the absence of continuous monitoring, a building”s performance will fall to the level of the least-trained operator within two years.

HOW TO AVOID FAILED ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
There are a couple of ways to avoid projects that fail to produce savings. After equipment is installed, it needs to be commissioned by a third party, not the contractor who implemented the ECMs. Commissioning can be expensive, but it is worth it. However, just because the equipment has been deemed operational by the commissioning agent, that doesn”t mean it is saving what was expected. Commissioning will tell you if the equipment is working as it should. To determine if you are actually saving what was expected, M&V needs to be done on the building. Although M&V can appear as a waste of money to some, it caught this disaster before it was too late.

Unfortunately, building owners often value engineer commissioning and M&V out of their projects and leave themselves open to big disappointments in their energy efficiency projects. M&V is like insurance””sure, it costs money up front, but the reassurance of knowing the project is done correctly should be worth far more than the initial outlay. What other product would you purchase without verifying that you actually received what you paid for? Why should energy efficiency be any different?

CONCLUSION
Unfortunately, energy efficiency isn”t as simple as we would wish. Energy consultants may deliver quality energy audits and RCx studies, but merely implementing sound energy efficiency recommendations does not guarantee energy savings. The weak link is often in the commissioning of the measures to ensure they are doing what they are intended to do.
To avoid underperforming on your energy efficiency measures, we suggest the following three strategies:

1. Commission what you implement with third-party commissioning experts. Commissioning agents are not interested in selling hardware. They are interested in making systems operate at peak performance. They understand physics and control theory and can identify and repair problems quickly.

2. Track your energy savings using M&V. Even using something as simple as utility bill tracking software can provide some insight into building performance. An increase in monthly energy usage when a decrease was expected would have triggered an investigation into the cause. Verifying performance at the system level (as we did), while more difficult and expensive, would have isolated the problem much more quickly and accurately.

3. Provide proper training so that your facility staff doesn”t override or bypass your energy efficiency projects. Although we barely treated this topic in this paper, this is probably the single most effective step you can take. Your staff is the brains behind building operation, despite what EMS vendors may say. Having the smartest control system will do no good if it is operated by the dumbest operators.

Energy-efficiency Electronics Hardware A bridge Fuel To The Future

Demand for energy continues to be a major topic around the world. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro power are increasingly being utilized to provide for that demand. Many States have even recently passed laws raising the minimum renewable usage cap that utility companies must implement into their overall supply. But … we still require escalating amounts of energy for agriculture, industry, and to heat our homes and offices. Emerging as a “bridge fuel” to clean energy and renewable resources, the power electronics industry is poised to span that gap with hardware solutions needed to build intelligent power systems.

The Obama administration plans to spend billions of dollars on power conservation and sustainable energy projects as part of a $787 billion stimulus package which is has focused on energy efficiency. Andrew Fanara, of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program has famously said. “Energy efficiency is the bridge fuel we must build on and must invest in” he stresses “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest way to act.”

In part, the administration’s strategy is to use improved energy efficiency as a method of buying time to invest in and explore emerging and clean energy options. With initiatives like the smart power grid gaining traction, the power electronics hardware that makes it all work and its new designs aimed at increasing energy efficiency will be at the core of the plan.

Already, there is huge demand for power efficiency by consumers found an industry survey. And, consumers are willingly paying a premium for electronic hardware that delivers energy efficiency. This trend anticipates a growing number of electronic hardware devices will be utilized, which lowers costs and drives improved energy efficiency. Measured in dollars per watt this high volume of hardware deployment forecasts the efficiency for power electronics may drop to as low as 12 cents per watt by 2013.

The focal point of “smart power” systems and a national smart energy grid has clearly been on the hardware side of the equation. To be successful, in the not to distant future, engineers will also make use of the intelligence provided by software so that the hardware components communicate most effectively to accomplish maximum reduction of power consumption. The know-how exists now for this integrated software, but it is still far from widespread.

Power Profiling is a valuable energy-efficiency tool that granularly identifies the power consumed specifically by HVAC, appliances, networks, lighting etc. and communicates this information to users. A user profile is developed by use of proprietary algorithms that calculate information regarding a structure’s overall usage, and several data points such as the time of day and its energy consumption history.

The purpose of power profiling is to enable users to know exactly what activities or systems are consuming the most power, including how much, and how that consumption is affected by actions they take. Most HVAC and appliances are not yet enabled so numerous hardware metering devices are used throughout the structure, at least an adequate number to demonstrate to the user what the largest power users are and how to limit consumption.

Home Area Networks (HAN) are increasingly communicating with utilities in addition to the traditional media centers and computers. Both utilities and consumer electronics companies are offering and assortment of hardware solutions with methods of pre-programming and remotely controlling home systems such as water usage, heating & cooling, and appliances. With the arrival of “smart” appliances and new wireless network protocols designed specifically for energy-efficiency, many of these hardware solutions communicate to users and utilities over one or more wireless systems.

ZWave for media and home automation

ZigBee chosen by utility companies because of it’s secure protocol, and

EnOcean a European self-powered energy harvesting technology that powers devices without the use of batteries.

Hardware using these wireless protocols can all be controlled from a single point building management system, or a homeowner’s computer. Even though these technologies are still on the leading edge, trends indicates they are very near to wide-scale adoption, enabling buildings to connect to smart grid applications that exponentially increase energy-efficiency.

Advances in alternative energy sources have provided greener ways of producing electricity and the burgeoning energy-efficiency industry is providing a plethora of energy saving hardware devices to help users re-tool . We can reduce energy consumption with these advances and make strides toward energy independence. Consider what T. Boone Pickens says “In additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations, we spent $475 billion on foreign oil in 2008 alone. That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to foreign nations, and it will continue to drain the life from our economy for as long as we fail to stop the bleeding.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

“By investing in renewable energy and conservation, we can create millions of new jobs. Developing new alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation; securing our economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping more money at home to pay for the whole thing.”

Moving forward with renewables is a must, but it is also a documented fact that this increased capacity will not be enough to meet upcoming demands and provide energy independence. The tremendous strides being made in energy efficiency technologies are to help stem the tide, bridging the gap.

Energy Efficiency Competency Is Necessary While Appointing A Heating Contractor Madison

Appointing the right HVAC contractor in Madison requires considering various aspects. You want to make sure that the heating and cooling circulation at your home is functioning properly. Since winter is only a few months far, this is the right time to look after the heating systems. A professional service is the best solution. You need to confirm aspects like availability of yearly maintenance contact. In addition, you have to see whether the company can suggest a suitable heating system. The company must be able to install eco friendly HVAC systems. Look for a company that can install the latest geothermal heating system.

Existing systems maintenance

You can save on a new machine by repairing the old one. You need to find a heating contractor service that can look after any HVAC equipment. Look for a company with considerable experience. The present machines at households are not more than 15 years old. That is the optimum life span of these machines. Therefore, look for a company with over 20 years of experience. This way, you can be sure that they can repair any appliance make and model. They must be able to prolong the life of your heating and cooling appliances.

Installing new systems

If you decide to install a new heating system, they must be helpful. Look for a heating contractor Madison who can help you select from leading heat system manufacturers. Check out the availability of eco friendly geothermal systems. They must be able to provide cost effective solutions in choosing new appliances. Confirm the availability of new cooling systems too. The current season sees high demand for air conditioners. You may also want to have a new one. See whether the company can assist you with this.

Considering these aspects can lead you to the right services in Madison. You have to verify any other point that comes to your mind. It can be confusing to decide between buying new and repairing old. Ask about the cost of a new system and the cost of repairing the old one. Repairing may require costly replacement parts. In addition, consider the need for yearly maintenance of the existing system. You can easily compare the charges and reach a decision. Do not forget to confirm the availability of yearly maintenance services. You may also need emergency repairs. See whether they are up to that. Ask about any discounts or promotional offers that can benefit you. The right company can clear all your confusions regarding repairs and installation of HVAC appliances.

Experienced heating contractors Madison can ensure professional care of your HVAC system. You need to confirm certain key aspects before choosing a suitable service. Make sure the service can provide energy efficient solutions in a budget.

IRS Revenue Procedure 2011-14 Energy efficiency and claiming the 179D deduction

The 179D tax deduction came about as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). Congress wanted to incentivize the utilization of energy-efficiency components in a building to one of the following parties:

1.The owner of the building
2.The tenant
3.The primary designer of an energy-efficient government building. (Architect, engineer, contractor etc.)

The deduction available is up to $.60 per sq./ft. for lighting, HVAC and building envelope, creating potential for $1.80 per sq./ft. if all three components qualify. These deductions are applicable to buildings that were either built or retrofitted after 12/31/2005.

Since EPAct came into effect, the IRS has provided interim guidance on EPAct deductions through several additional notices. IRS Notice 2006-52 describes in detail the rules and how to ensure a building qualifies if it was a new build or a retrofit. It requires the taxpayer to obtain certification that the property satisfies the energy efficiency requirements of 179D and specifies the software that must be used to calculate energy and power consumption. To further the cause, the IRS issued Notice 2008-40, which allowed a government building (non-taxpaying entity) to pass the deduction to the “primary designer” of the qualifying assets.

Until recently, taxpayers looking to claim the 179D deduction were limited by the three year statute of limitations for filing amended income tax returns for a particular tax year. That has changed with the issuance of Revenue Procedure 2011-14, which will allow some taxpayers to bypass this statute of limitations and claim this deduction all the way back to 1/1/2006 without filing one single amended income tax return. Taxpayers who wish to take the deduction without amending any returns will file a Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method) and will get to take the entire “catch up” deduction on the return that is being filed. This means that a taxpayer could potentially claim deductions from 2006-2010 (or 2011) all on one return and significantly reduce their tax burden, if not eliminate it altogether.

Deciding whether or not to amend returns or file for a Change in Accounting Method (Form 3115) is entirely dependent upon each taxpayers situation. If taxable income was higher in open years and therefore the taxpayer was in a higher tax bracket, it still may make sense to amend those returns. The impact of Revenue Procedure 2011-14 will also depend on whether or not any deductions have already been claimed or returns have been amended. A thorough analysis of each taxpayers scenario by an advisor experienced in 179D is advantageous to determining the best approach and claiming the maximum deduction allowed under the law.

How To Pay For Energy Efficiency Without A Bank Loan Or Tapping Your Business Equity

You might want to retrofit your existing building with energy efficient lighting, HVAC or upgrades to the building envelope in order to save money on energy costs, but youve first got to come up with the funding for those improvements. Do you provide the required capital or continue to face increased operating costs? The ROI on new, energy-efficient systems may be longer, but the equipment will perform more reliably while providing better working conditions and lowering energy costs along the way. Most business owners will assume that funding for energy efficient upgrades has to come from dipping into their equity in the facility, or from an outside funding source such as a bank loan.
Fortunately, there are alternative strategies that can be put into place to pay for energy efficiency projects by significantly lowering your tax burden. A cost segregation analysis identifies and reclassifies personal property assets to shorten the depreciation time for taxation purposes, which reduces current income tax obligations. Personal property assets include a buildings non-structural elements, exterior land improvements and indirect construction costs. Depreciation expense is accelerated and tax payments are decreased when an assets life is shortened, which frees up cash for investment in energy efficiency projects.
The benefits of a cost segregation study are retroactive, including buildings that have been purchased, constructed, expanded or remodeled since 1987. This allows taxpayers to recapture previously unrecognized depreciation, which increases cash flow in the current year.
Another tax benefit that can be applied to energy efficient construction or improvements is found in section 179D of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. 179D includes full and partial tax deductions for investments in energy efficient commercial buildings that are designed to increase the efficiency of energy-consuming functions. The deduction available is up to $.60 per square foot for lighting, HVAC and building envelope, creating potential for $1.80 per square foot if all three components qualify. These deductions are applicable to buildings that were either built or retrofitted after December 31, 2005. In order to qualify for the deduction, the taxpayer must receive a third party energy efficiency certification.
In addition, the issuance of Revenue Procedure 2011-14 will allow some taxpayers to claim the 179D deduction all the way back to January 1, 2006 without filing one single amended income tax return. Taxpayers who wish to take the deduction without amending any returns will file a Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method) and will get to take the entire catch up deduction on the return that is being filed. This means that a taxpayer could potentially claim deductions from 2006-2010 (or 2011) all on one return and significantly reduce their tax burden, if not eliminate it altogether, which goes a long way toward funding energy efficiency.
Instead of looking to outside sources or reducing your valuable equity to fund energy efficiency, look to your own building for the answers. Putting the right strategy into place can result in surprisingly significant savings and painless way to pay for your project.

Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency In Your Home

Heating and cooling bills account for over half of the monthly expenditure of American homeowners, when talking simply about fees associated with home ownership. This stems from a variety of causes, from the windows to poor insulation. The result is a home with an overactive HVAC system, drafts and other similar issues. Additionally, homeowners increase their carbon footprint due to the abundant use of energy to heat their home. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are expended with your HVAC system, which are attributed to global warming. Insulation can block some of these emissions, while reducing your electrical use can lower the rate of greenhouse gases as well. There are many ways that home owners can combat their energy use, so its important to create a budget to determine what you can afford and what will help your energy use the most in the long term. It can be expensive to make these changes to your home, but improving the energy efficiency in your home will not only reduce monthly expenditures, but increase the resale value of your home.

Windows and Doors

One of the biggest places that energy escapes is from the windows and doors, so its important to verify their status. If you live in an older house, chances are that the materials used during the building process are out of date and may simply require an upgrade. Look around the jamb and windowsill to determine whether the caulking may need a repair or inspect wooden frames for any warping, chips or other, more significant damage. Caulking is easy to repair, but more serious signs like condensation, frost on the inside of the windows and chips in the wood are more serious physical signs that you need new windows. Doors have a clearer cut sign; when you close the door if you can see any light coming from the outside into your home, its time to replace the door. Its either become damaged during its years of use or it was uninstalled properly. Lastly, if these items seem visually alright, you may simply want to feel the temperature near the questionable windows. For example, a window that feels frigid to stand in front of during the winter months is not energy efficient. And when that happens, an abundance of your homes energy is lost through these spaces.

Electronics

Every appliance that you own should be equipped with an energy-efficient tag or it needs to be replaced. Older models may be sturdy and reliable, but without the certification you may be spending too much on your energy bill. Its also important to unplug items like the toaster or your computer, when they are not in use. These items can increase your bills for no reason when they are plugged intot the wall. Its also important to not leave the refrigerator open for long periods of time, which make the air escape and the appliance work harder. Lastly, dont run the dishwasher until it is full, instead of just doing it one load at a time.

Insulation

One of the biggest places to lose energy is inefficient insulation. When properly installed, installation acts like a barrier between your home and the sun, keeping it cool in the summer. And during the winter months, it safely keeps the warmth inside your home. The result is a home with a constant, comfortable temperature. Talk with a professional insulation team to determine whether your home qualifies for an upgrade.

Create Distinctive Kitchen Undercabinet Lighting To Combine Unexpected Warmth And Energy Efficiency

Every residential architect knows that each home design requires a carefully planned kitchen, and every kitchen will need cabinets with lights. Countertop areas underneath display cabinets are very important. They serve both a decorative function as well as a practical purpose. Shadows underneath cabinets are both unattractive, and they can also make working with knives and other kitchen implements unsafe if visibility is obscured too much.

It is necessary for the architect to plan ahead to eliminate these dark areas with kitchen undercabinet lights that will fulfill both the functional and aesthetic demands of kitchen design. Architects should consider fixtures more sophisticated than generic puck lights and outdated fluorescent lights once promoted as energy savers.

When it comes to installing kitchen undercabinet lighting, it works to the benefit of all parties involved in the home building market to use the most robust engineering and undercabinet lighting manufacturing design available. This will combine the intentions of an artist with the precision of a scientist.

Cabinet lighting strips are now much smaller than the generic types of competing fixtures available to architects and builders. They are easy to conceal beneath the forward undersurface of even the most ornate and custom cabinetry. Special glare shields in the linear strips direct the light backward away from the eyes. This minimizes reflective glare and creates a more even distribution of light under the kitchen cabinet. Dimmer controls allow the homeowner to make further adjustments, literally fine tuning illumination over countertops to match that of general lighting in the room. This makes for superior aesthetic qualities and more comfortable environment for food preparation, parties, and other special hosted gatherings.

New custom kitchen undercabinet light fixtures use LED bulbs to generate color temperatures capable of aesthetically complimenting the wide range of granite and marble countertops frequently found in custom home kitchens. A newly introduced 2800K led festoon has been specifically designed to mimic xenon as a compliment to the warmest of color tones and backsplashes. LED lamps at 2950K are designed to emulate warm white lighting common in more contemporary style kitchens.

The energy saving value of LED technology cannot be emphasized enough. LED undercabinet lights are 60 percent more energy efficient than xenon equivalents, and the staggering lamp life of up to 50,000 bulb hours makes replacements very rare. If a replacement is necessary, a single festoon lamp can be purchased to replace the one that has failed. It is never necessary to purchase a new undercabinet lighting fixture when you design your kitchen lighting with festoon based LED lighting strips.

LED kitchen undercabinet lights also help contribute to reduced cooling costs. Many people prefer to leave these lights on to provide low level night lighting in the kitchen. A hot burning light source will trigger the thermostat to activate the HVAC system, driving up power bills in the process. However, LED bulbs are cool light sources that produce luminance through an electrical current rather than the ignition of a contained gas. The forward throw heat is so negligible it has no impact on room temperature readings.

For applications that specifically call for an architect to use kitchen cabinet or undercabinet lighting in the cooler 5000K color temperature range, LED Festoon lamps are now available. The cooler color temperature lamps also provide higher lumen output, thus brighter light.

As lighting technology continues to advance, more exciting choices are becoming available to enhance the beauty and energy efficiency of homes worldwide.

Ensure Energy Efficiency In Your Home By Getting A Home Energy Assessment

Home energy assessment refers to the process of inspection, survey and estimation of the flow of energy in a particular building. This activity is carried out with the intent to reduce the amount of energy consumed in a building. Special emphasis is given to the fact that the resultant solution does not cause any negative effect on the output energy.

The process of energy audit is done by a professional, who surveys the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning or HVAC system of a residence. Advanced equipment like infrared cameras and blower doors are utilized to determine the appropriate solution for an effective heating and cooling of the house. Such services can be easily availed from an expert heating contractor. Their professionals carry out a thorough inspection of the entire building, beginning with the walls, ceilings & floors to doors, windows and skylights. While carrying out the process of surveying, all the places of leakage and points of infiltration of air are taken into consideration. The audit also takes into account the physical condition and efficiency of the various mechanical systems of the house. These may include the heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment.

The assessment is made while keeping in mind factors like the local climate, roof overhang, solar orientation and the energy consumption of the house like electricity, natural gas or other energy sources. Apart from surveying the heating, cooling and ventilation systems of a premise, there are other factors that these experts take into account. These include the size of the premise where the system is to be installed, the age of the building and the renovation done to the same. Size of the premise matters a lot, as a large air conditioner will be unable to efficiently dehumidify the air, whereas a small HVAC system will be ineffective in creating comfortable conditions inside the premises. Based on such findings a heating contractor suggests remedial solutions to improve the energy consumption of the building, without making a compromise on the energy output.

The solutions offered by these experts also include Westchester heating services like furnace installation, boilers, radiant flooring, heat pumps and hybrid heat systems & geothermal systems. The cooling solutions, on the other hand, include installation of efficient and effective central air conditioning system together with cooling equipment. Maintenance and load calculations also form a part of the cooling solutions. Additionally, the cooling solutions are constituted by air filtration & humidification service and the ultraviolet light system.