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August 2014

WATER MANAGEMENT

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Energy costs are going up and up. Recently natural gas price had been increased. Electricity rates also had gone up. This trend will continue. So saving energy in all possible means is essential.

Energy as electricity or gas is used to heat water. Less the hot water a building use, less energy is needed to heat the water. The water supply authority uses energy to purify and pump water to your facility and also in treating the waste water generated in the building, back to good quality water for use. Your water bill includes cost of purifying water and sewage treatment. Hence, saving water reduces water bill and energy bill and water management is an integral part of Energy Management.

Canadian’s water consumption per capita is second to that of USA and on the average, about two times the amount consumed by other developed countries of west Europe. Thus there is a large potential for water and energy conservation available for Canada. At the same time, unit price of water in developed West European countries are more than double that of Canada and USA. If we do not manage our water use properly this gap may narrow down rapidly.

Residential sector  (rented, owned, one or multi-family houses – rental and condo housing, mobile homes not including  institutional housing like schools, barracks ) consumes more than 50% of water supplied by municipalities. Residential sector is a logical target for water demand management. It is estimated that each household could reduce water consumption by about 40%. This translates to reduction in energy for heating the water (Energy Bill), amount of water drawn from supply system and sent down sewers (Water bill) at the consumer level, reduction in energy for purification and transport of fresh safe water, transport and treatment of sewers and return good water to streams, lakes etc at the drinking water production and waste disposal facilities.

The first step of effective management is tracking your use; as the very first step of our energy audit process we bench mark your energy and water uses and set up a system for you to continuously monitor your use. Contact us early and take control of your energy, water uses and start saving money early.

THREE FAMILIES’ EXPERIENCES WITH RESIDENTIAL SOLAR IN THE ONTARIO MICROFIT PROJECTS.

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

The Ontario microFIT program was launched in 2009 as part of Ontario’s provincial government’s efforts to increase the production of renewable energy. The program provides participants with the opportunity to develop a “micro” renewable electricity generation project on their privately owned property that uses solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, waterpower, or bioenergy (biogas, biomass, landfill gas). Three families who navigated the process of microFIT solar installations share their experience by answering some questions.Click here to read New Dawn Energy Solutions clients’ experience.

Industry has seized the opportunity to capitalize on the revenue generated by the fixed return of twenty year contracts with the government’s power regulator. Individuals have also participated although the hurdle of coming up with thirty to forty thousand for purchase and finding the right service provider for the components and installation has created some unique challenges and opportunities.

The efforts put forth by individual investors in these projects have a story all their own. Those who have had success utilized several methods with varying degrees of difficulty. The questions posed to the three Ontario families who used solar installations to participate in the MicroFIT program were as follows:

1. What attracted you to the Ontario microFIT program?

Family 1: Our initial interest was environmental and quickly turned to see if it there was a reasonable profitability and if the math/projections would prove true.

Family 2: It started years ago with alternative energy awareness. When the MicroFIT program started a friend had participated and our interest was awakened. Then the project itself caught our attention and we became quite excited about the potential.

Family 3: To save the environment – any financial considerations were secondary. If the project were revenue neutral I would have still moved ahead.

2. What was your capital investment for the project? What was your expected payback period of the investment? Did your actual payback period match your expected payback?

Family 1: Thirty Three Thousand however it is notable that the taxes are rebated within the first year. Our expected payback period was five to six years however with the adjusted annualized distributions from the power authority – it will be well below the five year mark.

Family 2: Forty Thousand. The expected payback period is six to seven years. We believe we are on track to meet that timeline.

Family 3: Thirty Three Thousand. From my calculations, the expected payback period is going to be seven years however with the directional placement of the panels and the winter months it may take between seven to eight years to recoup our initial outlay.

3. How did you finance the project?

Family 1: A personal line of credit that carries at a very low interest rate as it is secured against the property on which the MicroFIT project is operating on. The interest charged on the capital that was borrowed to invest is a tax write off as well.

Family 2: We cashed in some non-registered liquid assets to finance our project.

Family 3: We secured a home equity line of credit.

4. Are there any cautions to be made aware of or advice/tips to make the process smoother?

Family 1: In hindsight – the greatest concern would be to make sure you are comfortable with the service provider whether a full service company that provides the components and installation or otherwise. Another tip would be to ensure if you are completing a rooftop installation – that you consider the quality and duration of the roofing that will lie under the panels as the cost to replace doubles with a remounting of the system already installed.

Family 2: My best advice is to beware of the misinformation that is being shared. I have heard some false tales from not being able to get insurance on your home to the fire department not being able to service the home in an emergency. Doing your own homework and getting a lot of questions answered will make the process much smoother.

Family 3: I would have to say that involvement in every aspect of the project is key. Work with your service provider/installer to ensure that they are completing the work to your satisfaction. Also, gathering as much information as possible beforehand was very helpful so as to understand what will happen once you commit to your project.

5. Would you suggest this method to others looking at this avenue and why?

Family 1: Yes, I am an advocate and have suggested the program to neighbor and family. The benefits are many fold from gaining a positive revenue stream, the tax write offs, to getting paid as an energy producer. I like to think of it like have the income of a tenant that doesn’t make noise and intrude your privacy.

Family 2: Absolutely, this is a great investment in your home, your future, and your finances.

Family 3: Yes, we have a responsibility to those who will come after us to ensure that there is a healthy environment and everyone should be doing their part to help out.

Conclusion

As the Ontario MicroFIT program evolves over time, what will remain the same is that there are those who are committed to making a contribution to the future health of the planet by becoming part of the answer to our energy needs. From profitability to being a good steward of the planet – these families have clearly shown that there are many great reasons to investigate and participate in initiatives that will lead to a better future for everyone.

This article was written by Michael Smele and originally published on AltEnergy Stocks; thanks to Michael Smele and AltEnergy Stocks.

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