Wednesday, July 7, 2010

EDF Climate Corps Handbook

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has published a free guide to making your office building more efficient system by system. It has:
  • An overview of how to approach the problem (7 steps)
    • Estimate baseline energy use intensity.
    • Commission an energy audit.
    • Consider interactions between systems.
    • Perform financial analysis of possible efficiency investments.
    • Prioritize options for investment.
    • Evaluate financing options.
    • Post-implementation follow up.
  • Tips for identifying and overcoming common barriers to implementing energy efficiency
    • Structural
      • Split incentives - one who bears cost of improvements does not accrue benefits
      • short lease terms - payback period is longer than least term
    • Organizational
      • Scarce resources
      • “Language barriers” between finance and facilities
      • Coordination challenges across finance, human resources and facilities
      • Limited accountability for green initiatives
    • Financial
      • Payback period expectations are unrealistically short
      • Large up-front costs to implement some improvements
      • lack of awareness of  tax incentives or utility subsidies
  • Simple, practical suggestions for which systems to look at first (lowest cost for highest impact)
    • Which systems exist and which you should go after first
      • Lighting
      • HVAC
      • Office equipment
      • Water heaters
      • Building Automation Systems  / Energy Management Systems
      • Data centers
      • Fleet vehicles
    • Which areas to focus on and which to skip within each system
      • Behavioral and policy changes
      • Retrofits
      • Equipment replacement
    • Tips on prioritizing which improvements to make
    • Key questions to ask and information to gather around each system
  • Case studies to help justify implementing changes in any particular area.
e.g. Financial case study: Until 2001, the 1.4-million-square-foot Hewlett Packard (HP) campus in Roseville, California, was operating an EMS with limited automation, which required labor-intensive manual adjustment of controls in order to curtail energy loads during peak demand events. Using funds available from the California Energy Commission and the local municipal utility (Roseville Electric), HP upgraded its EMS and added additional sensor and control points for ventilation and lighting systems. The changes gave HP the capability to shed 1.5 MW of its 10.9 MW peak demand without disrupting occupants. HP now uses the EMS load-shedding capabilities on a day-to-day basis, saving $1.5 million annually in energy costs as a result. The EMS upgrade cost $275,000, but incentives covered $212,000 of the project cost, giving HP a payback of less than one month on the project.6
  • Ideas for presenting financial and non-financial arguments to the appropriate stakeholders in the organization.
  • High level primers and key-word dictionaries on main building systems and links to more information about them to help focus one's learning.
The EDF also has a program where companies can host a Climate Corps member (MBA student) and have that student come on site for ~10 weeks to implement an energy efficiency program based on the guidelines in this handbook.

A very interesting package for kick-starting energy efficiency at your company.