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Energy Efficiency Improvements: The Time is Now to Start Saving

Energy Efficiency Improvements: The Time is Now to Start Saving              August 2015

 While the St. Louis region continues to wait for another construction boom, there is something owners can do in the interim to save money and help give the construction industry a boost – implement energy efficiency improvements.

 These improvements can pay for themselves in a matter of months and there has never been a better time to focus on reducing energy consumption, due in large part, to the available utility rebates. Savings as high as 15 percent can be achieved with a simple payback of one to two years, yielding an annual rate of return of 50 to 100 percent on the investment. 

Below is a three-step processto help maximize return on investment (ROI).

  1.  Compile Current Data.

    Set goals, collect data and benchmark buildings. This includes identifying building type, utility bills, square footage, building automation systems, occupancy, the capital renewal plan and more. Benchmarking involves determining an ENERGY STAR score and/or Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) in order to compare a building to similar buildings. It is important to review capital renewal plans as part of this process. There are many energy savings projects that are leaving utility incentives on the table.

  1. Establish a Roadmap to High Performance Buildings.

    Assess facilities with a retro-commissioning study for larger buildings, and energy audits for smaller ones. These assessments should be based on which facilities have the highest usage per-square-foot compared to similar buildings. Retro-commissioning is a detailed energy analysis resulting in a facility “tune-up” of the existing building systems. Retro-commissioning identifies the lowest hanging fruit with the highest ROI (which can be over 100 percent annually). In addition, Ameren ActOnEnergy has a specific rebate for retro-commissioning, and the analysis phase will identify many additional measures that can be planned and budgeted for the future. Energy audits can be used for smaller buildings with less complex systems, but with the same objective of maximizing savings and ROI.  

  2.  Prioritize and Implement Energy Efficiency Measures Based on ROI

    Implement the identified efficiency measures based on the results of the retro-commissioning or energy audits. Most owners start with the measures that deliver the highest ROI. Put a long-term plan in place to implement other measures based on both ROI and how it fits into ongoing capital renewal programs.

It is also recommended that a continuous processis put in place to keep data current, ensure the roadmap to high performance buildings is up-to-date, and prioritize and implement energy efficiency measures in existing buildings and as part of planned renovation projects.

It is important to remember that Ameren Missouri and Illinois and Laclede Gas have incentive programs in place that offer rebates for qualifying energy savings improvements. To learn more about these programs, visit www.ameren.com/missouri/uefficiency/business-energy-efficiency, www.actonenergy.com/for-my-business/explore-incentives, and www.lacledegas.com/efficiency/programs, respectively. Owners can also consider pledging to benchmark buildings under the 25x20 Challenge, which is a St. Louis High Performance Building Initiative organized by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter. As part of this effort, Sitton Energy Solutions is offering free benchmarkingfor buildings over 20,000 square feet in the Ameren service area. For more information visit www.stlhighperformbldg.org, or email info@sittoncg.com.

Doug Sitton, PE, LEED AP, CPMP, is the president and founder of the St. Louis, Mo., area-based Sitton Energy Solutions. He has over 30 years of diversified experience in the design and construction industry and is an energy efficiency authority known for his leadership, strategic thinking and complex problem solving. He chairs the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee, serves on the Chamber’s Board and Policy Council and is involved with a host of other area organizations and initiatives.  

 

 

 

 

 

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