Thoughts of an Expert - Interview With Joe Ivey CEO of Encompass

Nov. 9, 2001
Bottom Line Energy Issues - November 2001
We asked Joe Ivey, CEO of Encompass Services Corporation for some opinions useful to Buildings readers and got this Q & A.
What are the top energy issues facing building owners?J.I

. - Tied to the energy supply and conservation wave is information. Knowing for the first time the line-item detail of a company's energy bill. In a regulated industry, costs were fixed, unbundled, and served up without any meaningful breakdown. Now, knowing exactly what company dollars are paying for may revolutionize the way in which business views its energy costs. But, information overload on issues like conservation, indoor air quality, energy procurement, and facility services can overwhelm building owners.

What trends do you see in requirements for electrical, mechanical, and telecom building infrastructure?

J.I. - Seamless integration of environmental controls, user-friendly point of control, and information on how the facility is operating, cost to operate, and predictive maintenance services.

What can building owners do to protect themselves and their tenants from electrical reliability problems?

J.I. - The only sure way to protect yourself from the reliability of the electrical grid is to go "off-grid" through the installation of a distributed generation plant on site. This option rarely is cost justified unless the cost of downtime for short intervals is unrecoverable. A better option is to look at co-generation [combined heat and power] so small peaker plants will keep your critical systems on-line in an emergency and reduce demand charges when applicable.

Should building owners feel any confidence in these new sources of energy and the ability of the supply industry to satisfy long-term needs for energy capacity in the future?

J.I. - Though the overwhelming amount of energy production comes from traditional large fossil fuel or nuclear powered generating stations, these new sources come from smaller units that can be situated in local, industrial, and commercial areas. These plants are environmentally friendly and can be permitted in a shorter period of time. On a nation-wide basis, Encompass is involved in plant maintenance, retrofits, and upgrading to ensure that existing capacity is viable for years to come.

What is your suggestion about out sourcing energy and facility management?

J.I. - A single source has many advantages if the firm can truly provide a 'self-performed' program including engineering, auditing, design, construction, and on-going facility maintenance. Research the companies that offer these services.

What advantages does a roll-up like Encompass Services Corporation offer building owners?

J.I. - We will provide business propositions focused on comprehensive energy reduction strategies. Our ability to offer creative financing and leasing programs and the resources to provide energy generation and curtailment mitigation to our clients directly creates a competitive advantage. Visit us at

By Lewis Tagliaferre

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