Energy Update Provides a Blueprint to Being Green and Saving Green
By Christine Datz
HIA-LI wants to trim down. Its energy consumption, that is. At the Executive Breakfast “Energy Update”, the overriding message was working towards managing and reducing overall energy usage through smarter technologies and better awareness.
National Grid hosted the event and its more than 100 attendees at its Melville training facility on March 6. Moderated by David Winchester, President, Clean Tech Rocks, the panel of energy experts included Mike Hervey, COO LIPA; Jim Stapleton, Manager of Energy Efficiency, Commercial, Industrial and Residential, National Grid; John Francheshina, Director of Commercial & Industrial Programs, LIPA; Tony Coppola, Managing Partner, MC Alliance Energy Group and; Rudy Holesek, President, Apollo HVAC and Chairman USGBC-.LI
Winchester welcomed the audience and iterated HIA-LI’s commitment to working with its energy partners (local utilities and members in the energy industry) to reduce companies’ energy consumption by 15% through a variety of initiatives and programs as he introduced keynote speaker Mike Hervey.
Hervey began by announcing that LIPA had not only decided to continue its model of outsourcing operations (the current contract with National Grid expires in two years), but had also completed the bid process for a new contract. Effective 2014, LIPA will be partnering with PSEG (New Jersey) to, as Hervey put it, “get a private enterprise feel with a public utility.” Hervey also stressed that there would be continuity in service as many personnel would be retained by PSEG.
Hervey touched upon the challenges LIPA faced in 2011 with a growing tax burden, the lessons learned from Hurricane Irene and plans to grow and upgrade LIPA’s infrastructure. He also discussed LI’s solar capacity, now at 70 million watts and growing – the most in any New York region, and solar programs available to businesses and residences. Asked to identify what he most wanted business owners to know, he encouraged companies to “take advantage of available savings opportunities. Rebates reduce payback time and improvements lead to ongoing savings, helping businesses with their bottom line.”
National Grid’s, Stapleton, built on the discussion of programs available to commercial users that could lead towards lower consumption and lower bills. Stapleton’s challenge is to communicate a consistent message to all users (commercial, industrial and retail) to enable them to make informed choices regarding energy reduction and give them access to $100 million in incentives that are available. “Right now, customers are doing nothing because there are so many options, it’s confusing, said Stapleton. “We’re trying to keep the process simple for our customers to make participation easy”.
LIPA’s Franchesina faces similar challenges and is working to modify incentive and rebate programs to reduce red-tape and encourage customer participation. Lighting rebates, cool roof and contractor incentive programs are some of the initiatives offered through LIPA. “Customers realize savings through these programs and get other benefits, too,” said Franchesina. “For example, cool roofs also extend roof-life and more efficient lighting improves the work environment.”
“Customers will complain about a 2-3% increase in costs, while wasting 35% of their demand-side energy!” Coppola of MC Alliance Energy Group informed the audience, “And, you can’t control what you don’t measure.” Coppola highlighted the importance of benchmarking and tracking as a path to efficiency and savings. “It’s a three-step process; establish a baseline, analyze the data and then act,” he explained. “The analysis helps you to understand what to do and what to stop.” Using the process, the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center realized more than $15 thousand in savings by accounting for holiday periods in its heating/cooling scheduling.
Holosek, the panel’s last speaker and, as owner of Apollo HVAC, an expert in heating and cooling, had additional savings tips since “this is, after facility and personnel costs, the largest cost most companies incur.” While there were a number of ways he detailed to achieve savings, including changing or improving equipment and systems, he recommended the installation of programmable controls (i.e., thermostats) as the best way to quickly, easily and, relatively, inexpensively begin to achieve savings.
As the Chairman of LI’s USGBC chapter, Holosek advocated working with LIPA and National Grid. Using the example of a local school he shared how during renovations the school used technologies that helped them achieve Silver LEED status. The utilities were able to provide over $300 thousand in rebates and incentives and led to savings in excess of $100K/year. In addition to the energy and cost savings, there were side benefits of a significant reduction in absenteeism and a 15% overall improvement in test scores.
The 2012 Energy Update provided attendees with a blueprint to being green and saving green. Get to know your energy provider and see how they can work with you to achieve efficiency. Get to know your systems and see where improvements are needed and changes can be made. Take advantage of rebates and incentives to defray the costs and maximize savings. Enjoy the benefits!
Join HIA-LI for the next CEO Series on Thursday, April 19th from 9am-11am from featuring Joseph K. Posillico, President & CEO of Posillico located at 1750 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735. For more information or to register for this event contact Jackie Ridley at 631-543-5355.