Uncertain energy costs, the economic recession, and reliability concerns have some corporate boards turning to energy service companies to update plants and equipment, in addition to making wise energy purchases. There are more than several hundred of them but about 30 national and international firms lead the list. Some are owned by utility holding companies, but many, like Johnson Controls that manages 600 million square feet of space worldwide, are independent corporations. A typical smaller firm, albeit with powerful connections and long experience, is Think Energy Management LLC, run by Richard G. Lubinski (www.think-energy.net). They are represented by the National Association of Energy Services Companies (www.naesco .com). Some bundle energy purchases with building energy management, and some offer specialized services, like lighting or hvac retrofits. Some upgrade projects are financed through shared savings plans, guaranteed or not, through performance contracts. Load management in areas where time of day pricing can affect the bottom line is increasing, due to more sophisticated modern equipment.
One non-typical project illustrates this trend. Larry Schuster, physical plant utilities engineer at the University of New Mexico in Albuquergue is running a $35 million capital improvement project dedicated exclusively to energy systems at the main UNM campus. The university is building a 12,000 ton chilled water production plant, replacing five boilers with cogeneration units, replacing all chillers, conducting an upgrade of the electrical system, and adding other demand side management investments.
To justify the project cost, Schuster had to develop baseline energy measurements that was difficult to do with only two main electric meters and no way to collect steam, chilled water, or gas consumption data. The solution was a Comprehensive Integrated Metering and Monitoring System (CIMMS) from Square D Company. For Schuster, having both mechanical and electrical information available on a real time basis provides “..enough information to judge how well we are doing and what we are doing it with.” The process began when the Association for Higher Education Facilities Officers chose UNM as the test bed for a grant funded by the DOE Rebuild America program. Square D can now help customers take maximum advantage of the World Wide Web to control the cost, quality and reliability of their power. POWERLOGIC® On-Line Web Services is a remote enterprise monitoring program designed to collect, manage and store a customer’s vital power and utility information. The program delivers energy profiles, billing reports, power quality analysis reports, status information and key operational parameters over a secure connection to a standard web browser. “In today’s business environment, customers want tools that allow them to save money, and improve their business performance,” said Lisa Rush, Square D Marketing Manager. “With the introduction of our new On-Line Web Services, we can now collect and aggregate customers’ utility information so they don’t have to, allowing faster and easier access to critical power data.” Details can be obtained from the Square D Power Management Organization located in LaVergne, TN (www.powerlogic.com).