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Energy Efficiency

By Frances Bernards

As a consultant for DEQ’s business assistance program, I help businesses realize the environmental and cost-saving benefits of Energy Summitenergy efficiency. The Third Annual

Governor’s Energy Development Summit held this week (June 3-4) devotes an entire track to the topic.

Why? The opportunities for energy efficiency are rapidly improving due to the availability of new cost-effective technologies. I once heard: “There is no cheaper, cleaner energy than energy that isn’t required.” Utah companies are realizing the truth in that statement. According to Chris Helmers, project manager for

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), there has been an increase in the number of energy audit requests by Utah companies over the past three years.

Have you, or your company scheduled an energy audit? No? What’s stopping you?

Energy represents the largest controllable cost of doing business. Given that 30 percent of energy in buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily, according to EPA, many companies are doing more than installing efficient light bulbs or occupancy sensors.

Utah companies are relying on energy audits and then implementing
cost-effective energy efficiency measures, such as utilizing combined heat and power technologies, installing variable frequency drives—so that pumps and motors run at optimal speeds—or upgrading old equipment. Efficiency benefits can be measured through software tools and sensor networks.

  • Hexcel Salt Lake City, one of DEQ’s Clean Utah members, benefited from an energy audit through RMP’swattsmartprogram by installing high efficiency HVAC systems, Variable Frequency Drive air handlers, boilers, chillers and fume hoods, in addition to switching to T5 lighting. Electricity reduction: 1,040,244 kWH. Savings: $1,040,244.

Utah water systems have also taken advantage of an energy audit through RMP’s wattsmart program:

  • Mountain Regional Water Special Service District increased their Energy Load Factor by running their pumps at a slower and steady rate for a longer period, using Variable Frequency Drives to ensure their motors are running efficiently, and preventing pumped water to recirculate back to the pumping facility suctions (i.e., re-pumping). Savings: $300,000.

There is no direct cost to RMP customers that choose to participate in the wattsmart program.

A common barrier to energy-efficiency projects is the upfront capital cost they require. An innovative solution may be Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, which provides commercial property owners with an option of paying for energy efficiency upgrades through assessments on their property tax bill. This makes most projects’ cash flow positive (i.e. the energy savings each year are greater than the assessment).

We can boost the competitiveness of Utah companies, improve air quality, and create and retain jobs through energy efficiency projects. First step: Schedule an energy audit! Second step: Implement energy efficiency projects over time.

  • Hexcel Salt Lake City, one of DEQ’s Clean Utah members, benefitted from an energy audit through RMP’s
    wattsmart
    program by installing high efficiency HVAC systems, Variable Frequency Drive air handlers, boilers, chillers and fume hoods, in addition to switching to T5 lighting. Electricity reduction: 1,040,244 kWH. Savings: $1,040,244.

Utah water systems have also taken advantage of an energy audit through RMP’s wattsmart program:

  • Mountain Regional Water Special Service District increased their Energy Load Factor by running their pumps at a slower and steady rate for a longer period, using Variable Frequency Drives to ensure their motors are running efficiently, and preventing pumped water to recirculate back to the pumping facility suctions (i.e., re-pumping). Savings: $300,000.

There is no direct cost to RMP customers that choose to participate in the wattsmart program.

A common barrier to energy-efficiency projects is the upfront capital cost they require. An innovative solution may be Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, which provides commercial property owners with an option of paying for energy efficiency upgrades through assessments on their property tax bill. This makes most projects’ cash flow positive (i.e. the energy savings each year are greater than the assessment).

We can boost the competitiveness of Utah companies, improve air quality, and create and retain jobs through energy efficiency projects. First step: Schedule an energy audit! Second step: Implement energy efficiency projects over time.

 visit DEQ’s page to learn more about how DEQ can assist you or your company to improve efficiency through sustainability strategies. Visit me at the DEQ/UCAIR booth at the Energy Summit—I welcome your questions.Energy Efficiency

As a consultant for DEQ’s business assistance program, I provide businesses with pollution prevention and sustainability resources. Outside of work I am an avid mountain/road biker, hiker, and skier and enjoy the music scene in SLC.

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