Yearly Archives

2014

MEASURE – ANALYZE – OPTIMIZE LIGHTING

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Written by Narayana Asogan, P.Eng.

Before deciding on a Lighting Retrofit Project, it pays to do a lighting level audit. In a building lighting installation, one comes across areas of poor illumination and areas of over illumination. Color Temperature of light source has an effect on ambiance, activity. Lighting pattern of luminaries differs. There are guidelines and standards of illumination levels for different areas of a building based on the activity or task. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) recommends levels of illumination for different spaces in a building and based on task to be performed in the space.

The aim of a lighting retrofit project is to get the required lighting levels as a minimum for the space in question, with more efficient (or lower power consuming) lighting fitting which will result in maximum energy and money saving. By this Measure – Analyze – Optimize process, over illuminated areas are fitted with lower power luminaries or distribution of luminaries to get a more even illumination as required. Under illuminated areas are fitted with luminaries which would give required level of illumination.

In a proper lighting retrofit project in buildings, lighting levels prior to lighting retrofit should be measured and recorded. Analyzing the recorded readings help to identify the areas of over illumination and under illumination. This forms the basis for re-designing the lighting. After retrofit project, illumination levels are measured and verified to satisfy recommended levels.

Overall effect of the above approach will result not only in reduction of lighting retrofit cost and associated cost of energy for lighting, but also in better lighting levels.

Measure and Optimize technique is applicable to virtually any process using energy. If time is limited for comprehensive energy audit before lighting retrofits a lighting level audit will produce better saving and better lighting levels.

Consultants at New Dawn Energy Solutions are well versed with these techniques to maximize savings for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

SAVING ENERGY IS NOT REALLY COSTLY

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First question that come to a facility manager’s mind is “How much will it cost?”

The basic energy efficiency projects costs next to nothing! First ingredient is “Commitment” at zero financial cost.

In a building, once the management has made the commitment, then comes planning on how to implement energy efficiency. This may cost a few 10’s of dollar to have meetings among the managers, building operators, building occupants, printing of notices to inform them of the commitment and seek everyone’s cooperation.

Adopting best practices for energy saving in Operations and maintenance, lighting, heating and cooling, office equipment etc. costs nothing more than some effort in changing work style. For example, set back heating/cooling controls when building is unoccupied. Turn off lights where not required. Turn off office equipment like copiers, printers when not in use.

With the savings obtained by above zero cost initiatives, the next stage of energy efficiency could be to implement low cost improvements. Examples – replacement of corridor lights with more efficient lighting, programmable thermostats for heating/cooling controls, occupancy sensors for light and heat/cool controls for areas of low occupancy.

Perform an Energy Audit and benchmark the building to get a clearer picture of where energy is wasted. On the average for every $ spent on energy (electricity, gas) something like 30 cents are lost as wasted energy and the task of energy auditor is to identify these areas and make proposals to reduce this waste.

In house staff could do an energy audit by which the management may save audit fee. However, internal auditing results in a compromise of normal business of the building and essential functions like maintenance may be overlooked resulting in more costly downtime repairs or replacements.

What is the cost of such audit? There are incentives by the Government offering upto 50% of energy audit and rebates on capital expenditure for energy improvement. So part of the costs are paid by incentives and the other part is paid by energy savings. Typically, an improvement which pays for itself in about 3 years or less is a good investment to implement.

New Dawn ES has knowledgeable staff and expertise to conduct energy audits, arrange for incentives where available and other finance options to assist in making your building more energy efficient, reduce carbon footprint of your building, improve the property value.

Visit us at www.newdawn-es.com and fill out the “Get a free assessment” form to get your energy efficiency projects underway.

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.

BASICS OF COMING SOLAR PV AND STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

As we know the intensity of solar radiation and wind can change randomly, means electricity generated from these resources will also change randomly without any notice. In recent years wind and solar PV have been the major drivers of new electricity generation. With this increased amount of intermittent power generation from solar and wind, energy storage is becoming an increasingly important for a number of reasons including grid stability as well as more attractive economics for project owners. Pairing of PV and storage also increase grid security/ availability, for example against natural disasters.

Storage technologies come in a variety of forms including mechanical, thermal, and chemical. Each type of storage has a variety of specific technologies that can be used, and each has unique characteristics that differentiate them for the type of energy they generate, as well as the types of power sources with which they can be integrated or connected.

Chemical storage systems are generally battery-based systems that use chemical reactions to store/convert energy. Battery based storage systems have been widely used in many small to medium size applications and has received a lot of attention recently and considered one of the best potential mechanisms for large scale centralized and distributed PV installations.

There are many different types of battery chemistries and even more under development with new progress announced frequently. Given the varying nature of this storage type, the exact makeup of the battery systems can differ widely with each technology offering its own unique benefits and usages (e.g. long-term storage versus short-term regulation).

Today distributed energy generation has emerged as a more local energy source. Instead of offering energy that locals readily can purchase, distributed energy generation creates an opportunity for local homeowners and businesses to generate their own energy directly with local resources. Doing so will put more disposable income in their hands that in turn can be spent locally to boost the local economy. Distributed energy generation systems using solar, wind, natural gas and other local energy sources are also readily available for homeowners and business to deploy.

Distributed energy generation systems also can provide an attractive investment opportunity for investors looking to generate moderate returns at relatively low risk. Local economies can benefit by providing a way for locals to generate an attractive return on their money especially given the low yields of alternative fixed income investments today by accelerating the deployment of Distributed energy generation within their communities.

BENCHMARK AND SAVE ENERGY, MONEY WISELY!

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Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and most readily available energy resource to help reduce carbon pollution. Knowledgeable and licensed professionals at New Dawn Energy Solutions perform cost effective energy audits and guarantee you get fifty percent of the audit cost from government incentives and another fifty percent in energy savings.

Our energy audit starts with analyzing your utility bills and benchmarking your building performance. Then we study your building systems holistically and identify opportunities which will bring in energy savings. Analyzing the findings and the available incentives for them we will provide you an energy plan with defined priorities to take actions appropriately.

Benchmarking your building’s energy performance is the key first step, which is part of our Audit Methodology to help you understand the energy performance of your building, compares your building’s energy performance to a similar building. Benchmarking also will help you monitor your building energy performance before and after an energy saving modification.

Benchmarking is an invaluable tool for continuously evaluating energy performance of your building and will help you in many ways.

  • objective, reliable information on energy use and the benefits of improvements
  • increases general awareness of energy efficiency among building occupants
  • prioritizes poorly performing systems for immediate improvement
  • identifies best practices that can be replicated
  • identifies what opportunities are there to improve your building’s energy performance
  • helps to develop a comprehensive energy management action plan and build the business case for capital investments

Your Energy Management team has the routine function of operation and maintenance of all the energy consuming equipment of the building and monitoring energy usage. They may not have the time, though have the expertise, to analyze and localize energy wastage.

At New Dawn Energy Solutions, we have the expertise and time to conduct a targeted study to evaluate where energy is wasted and what cost effective improvements are possible to save energy and money.

Contact us on saveonenergy@newdawn-es.com or phone 416 855 9377 to book an appointment to help your energy management team.

GLOBAL SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION MAY REACH 49 GIGAWATTS IN 2014

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

As the new year dawn, businesses are looking forward to 2014. Among them is the solar industry, which is anticipating continued growth into the new year as international markets continue to expand.

At least one industry research firm has taken a bullish approach anticipating that the global level of solar installations could reach 49 gigawatts by the end of 2014. And another research firm anticipates that the world will have 43 gigawatts of solar panels installed by the end of 2014. Either way both companies are showing strong and stable growth for the industry.

Market conditions have stabilized for the solar industry over the past few years, following a period of wild growth, which led first to undersupply then oversupply of solar panels by photovoltaic manufacturers in particular. Manufacturing over-capacity and pricing erosion within the PV industry was previously a key factor in limiting annual growth to 10 percent to 20 percent between 2011 and 2013. With a more stable pricing environment and the prospects of increased end-market globalization, research firms forecasts a return to annual growth above 30 percent for the PV industry in 2014. It also anticipated that during that six-month period in 2014, 22 gigawatts of solar panels will be installed.

Phone: 416-855-9377