John M. Avina President,  Steve P. Rottmayer, Senior Energy Engineer Abraxas Energy Consulting

John M. Avina, President Abraxas Energy Consulting Although created with best intentions, several city-run energy efficiency programs actually hinder energy efficiency. The two programs we are familiar with (San Francisco’s Energy Performance Ordinance and New York City’s Local Law 87) require energy audits on larger commercial buildings. The intent of the programs is to save […]

Over the decades, the determination of energy savings in performance contracting has undergone an evolution from a utility bill based approach towards a more limited exercise which may sometimes be difficult to relate to actual energy savings in the later years of the contract. These limited measurement and verification (M&V) approaches can reduce the value […]

Perhaps I have become cynical over the years. As we age, we all come to realize that the best of intentions are often waylaid by miscommunication, self-interest and incompetence, and that the end result of what should be a successful plan, often falls short.  This can be, and is often, the case for energy efficiency. Every […]

October 2, 2012 It is short-sighted to hire a low cost energy auditor. In the long run, a poor quality energy audit can end up costing a building owner many times the cost of the audit. This paper details eight ways in which a poor quality energy audit can result in decreased energy savings, higher installation costs, and squandered […]

There are a few problems that work against you when trying to find a company to perform a good energy audit for you.

  • Everybody and their brother now claims to do energy audits
  • Nobody quite agrees on exactly what an energy audit is

In this paper, I am going to cover these problems and then tell you how to select a quality energy auditor and not get ripped off.

Energy Managers all too often have to justify their existence to management. They may be asked: “How much did we save last year?”, “Did your recommendations give reasonable paybacks?”, “Since the last project didn’t save any money, why would we expect the next one to?”

More and more, alternative energy contractors want to prove to customers the savings they expect. Customers often want to know that they have saved the energy and costs they were originally promised. From the customers’ viewpoint, the simplest and most understandable proof of energy savings comes from a simple comparison of electricity bills. Did the system save on electricity costs or not? In theory, a simple comparison of pre-installation bills to post-installation bills, and you will see if you have saved.

Every year energy managers need to report how much energy they saved and whether or not they met their energy savings targets. Most energy managers present reports comparing their current year’s usage to energy usage from a previous year. Savings targets are typically a percentage of that previous year’s usage. Setting targets and comparing in this manner usually does not generate an accurate estimate of energy actually saved. Inconsistencies arise from year-to-year fluctuations in weather, occupancy, production or other factors, which can interfere with savings results. Instead, an energy manager’s performance should be determined by comparing current year usage to a normalized baseline, which represents how much energy the building would have used given current year weather conditions, production, occupancy, and base year usage patterns. Energy savings targets should be set based upon this dynamic baseline. Using dynamic targeting, variations in weather conditions, occupancy, production or other factors will not hinder the accurate measure of how much the energy manager saved, and whether energy savings goals were indeed met. This paper explains, with an example, the differences between using a static and dynamic (weather normalized) targeting to demonstrate energy savings.

Utility Bill Tracking systems are at the center of an effective energy management program. However, some organizations spend time and money putting together a utility bill tracking system and never reap any value. This paper presents three utility bill analysis techniques which energy managers can use to arrive at sound energy management decisions and achieve cost savings.