Archive for the ‘CQI Associates’ Category

Finland Awarded First Platinum LEED Embassy in United States

Friday, March 6th, 2015

IMAGEThe Embassy of Finland in Washington DC, partnered with CQI Associates, LLC, a Columbia, Maryland-based energy and sustainability management consulting firm, has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.  It is the first embassy in the US to achieve Platinum LEED certification.  This certification builds a unique transatlantic link, with the US Embassy in Helsinki being the only other Platinum LEED Embassy in the world.

CQI Associates completed an initial energy assessment of the building in the spring of 2009, then provided a list of recommendations for improving energy efficiency working toward the original LEED® Gold EB Certification.  CQI Associates worked closely with the Embassy of Finland’s staff to implement the recommendations and complete the recertification process in 2014.  “We were truly honored to be selected for this project by the Embassy of Finland, known for their great contributions and commitment to the environment,” said CQI Associates Principal, Richard Anderson. “Our teams worked together to achieve the first LEED® Gold EB Certification for an embassy in the United States in 2010 and re-certified the building in 2014 to achieve a Platinum Certification.

Green thinking impacts all day-to-day actions of the embassy.  It has a rigorous green purchasing policy, recycling is a priority and the staff is encouraged to walk, bike or drive hybrid cars to work.  The results have been worth the efforts.  Currently the embassy is using 50% less electricity and 65% less gas compared to usage in the mid-2000s.

“I am extremely proud of this achievement.  Our embassy has gone from green to gold, and now platinum.  All this reflects Finland’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and we are a leading country in renewable energy and clean technology. We are happy to share leadership in this area with our friends at the US  Embassy in Helsinki,” said Finland’s Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronde.

http://www.finland.org/public/default.aspx?contentid=319614&culture=en-US

About CQI Associates, LLC


CQI Associates, LLC is a leader in energy and sustainability management consulting.  The firm offers services that allow clients to increase profitability by minimizing operating costs of small businesses to national accounts such as Northrop Grumman.   To learn more about CQI Associates, please visit www.cqiassociates.com or call (410) 740-0667.

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Lifestyle Changes That Can Save Energy

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

There are many habits that we have which do nothing but waste energy. If you are looking to quickly and easily cut your electric bill, slightly altering some of your habits may be the best way to do that.

Habits That Waste Energy

  • Not turning off lights when you leave a room
  • When brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet when it is not in use.
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Example that toaster you may not use every day, or your phone charger when it is not in use.
  • Replace your furnace filter to reduce strain on your furnace.
  • Set the air conditioner/ thermostat lower when you are not at home.
  • Do not stare aimlessly into your refrigerator, keeping the door shut when it is not in use will save you energy.
  • If the air conditioner is on, close the window.
  • Swap traditional light bulbs for energy saving bulbs.

Utilizing some of these quick and easy tips will dramatically lower your utility bill.

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

 

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Prices Climb for the Seventh Time in Eight Weeks

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Week in Review for April 12-18, 2013 US DOE

For the seventh time in eight weeks, energy prices climbed. During this seven-day report period the average 12-month price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) rose 5.2%. The 12-month average price for peak power on the PJM rose 3.9%. 

You can easily argue that the recent price increases were fueled by the natural gas storage reports and the natural gas rig counts. Both reports would lead you to believe that the energy markets were no longer oversupplied.

On the natural gas storage front, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported our first injection of the refill season. However, the injection was below expectations. We saw an injection of 31 Bcf. The five-year average injection for this time period was 39 Bcf. We now have 32% less gas in storage than we did last year at this time. Even more concerning was the fact that storage levels were now 4.2% below the five-year average.

On the natural gas supply side, supplies leveled off because the rig counts are down. The recent Baker Hughes rig count reported that there were only 377 active natural gas rigs in the United States. Last year at this time, we had 624 active gas rigs. This means that the natural gas rig count was 39% below last year’s levels.

These reports tend to spook the marketplace and place upward pressure on energy prices. The next wild card to watch is summer demand. The concern is that demand for natural gas may be higher this summer than last because more gas will be needed to refill the storage facilities. If we experience a hotter than normal summer, we may see more upward pressure on energy prices.

PJM Electricity
PJM Graph for Electricity – 12 Month Average Peak Power Price
On-Peak 1 Year Forward Price


Natural Gas
NYMEX Graph for Natural Gas – 12 Month Average Price per Therm at the Louisiana Well-Head
(Excludes Interstate Transportation)



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Renewable Energy: New York Could Soon Be Green

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Imagine New York being powered by wind, water and sunlight instead of traditional power sources. That fantasy isn’t too far from what could be reality according to a new study led by researchers from Stanford and Cornell universities. The study cites that by 2030, only 17 years from now, New York may be able to rely on totally green energy sources for power. From the windy shores of Long Island to the sunny center of New York City itself, these places may be central in New York’s new power strategy. This plan could have a ripple effect throughout the energy community and influence more states to do the same.

Their energy goal is for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support the production of about 10.4 million megawatt-hours of energy from hydro, wind, solar, biomass and landfill gas annually by 2015. The authority was 46 percent of the way to the goal at the end of last year. This in turn could lead to 30 percent renewables by 2015. This kind of progress is monumental in the field of renewable energy. Just imagine: in a New York minute, you’d be able  to get some famous New York pizza and a cup of coffee from ovens and coffee makers powered by wind or solar power!

New York isn’t the only place making green energy strides. In March, the General Assembly in Maryland passed a bill approving offshore wind turbine development. The bill itself would require electricity suppliers in Maryland to get up to 2.5 percent of their power from offshore wind as early as 2017. And it would offer a successful developer a subsidy of up to $1.7 billion over 20 years. This could be a larger step in what seems to be a bright future for green energy sources. Trade the pizza in the New York scenario for some authentic Baltimore crab cakes eaten under green energy-lit lights, because it could very well be the future.

The benefits of green, renewable energy are many. As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, they include:

  • Little to No Global Warming Emissions - Renewable energy sources produce a negligible amount of harmful emissions compared to natural gas or coal. Increasing the supply of renewable energy would replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions
  • Improved Public Health and Environmental Quality - The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking water systems, or other important water needs.
  • A Vast and Inexhaustible Energy Supply - Throughout the United States, strong winds, sunny skies, plant residues, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished energy resource supply. These diverse sources of renewable energy have the technical potential to provide all the electricity the nation needs many times over.
  • A More Reliable and Resilient Energy System – Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Modular systems are composed of numerous individual wind turbines or solar arrays. Even if some of the equipment in the system is damaged, the rest can typically continue to operate.

 

CQI Associates has green energy solutions for your business. We are an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit our website today!

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+!

Sources:

NY Renewable Energy Study Finds New York Could Soon Be Powered By Wind, Water And Sunlight, Huffington Post

O’Malley offshore wind bill passes, The Baltimore Sun

Benefits of Renewable Energy Use, USCUSA

 

 

 

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How to Save Energy and Cut Down on Utility Costs

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Here are a few hot tips to help you save energy and cut down on utility costs – because everyone should think about going green as the landscape gets greener with the warm weather in spring. We’re offering up a few lesser known energy efficiency tips to help you save you money this season.

- Use cold water to wash laundry – it’ll keep your colors bright and saves 90% of energy in comparison to a hot water spin cycle.

    - Consider investing in a programmable thermostat to eliminate the need to keep the heat or air blasted on high when no one is at home.

      - Test out dryer balls, which are said to reduce the drying time of your clothes by up to 50%.

        - Plug your televisions and electronic devices into power strips that you can turn off with the flick of a switch when you’re not using them. Even electronics and appliances that aren’t in use suck up energy.

          - Talk with an energy management consultant, like the experts at CQI Associates, who can audit your home and offer advice on how to save energy and cut down on utility costs.

            CQI Associates is an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            There’s A New Way To Cut Down On Energy Spending — And Get Rewards, Too

             

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            Gas Up: Increased Price of Gas Attributed to American Oil Refineries

            Thursday, March 21st, 2013

            The weeks leading to the start of spring ushered in more than just warmer weather: they also saw a steep rise in the price of gas. Though President Obama’s State of the Union address pointed out that the U.S. is producing more oil on its own shores than it has in 15 years, the cost of filling up is still an issue yet to be resolved.

            So what’s causing gas stations to charge an additional 45 cents at the pump? According to analysis by the Energy Information Administration, approximately 2/3 of the price increases in gas since the start of the New Year can be attributed to what’s known as a “crack spread,” which is a measure of refinery profit margins. What this means is that American oil refiners who “crack” crude oil into gas are the party responsible for the current cost of the fuel for our cars.

            Of course, the cost of crude oil and the taxes placed upon it account for part of the refinery’s mark-up. But other contributing factors include:

            • Maintenance outages that are necessary to continue safe operations but that decrease capacity has led to less productivity, fueling the need for mark-ups
            • Regional refinery limitations and restrictions on transporting refined gasoline between oil creates price discrepancies in different areas
            • The transition from winter grade to summer grade products required to meet U.S. emissions standards and the minimal profit margin for refiners also creates incentive for increased prices

            Proposed solutions to what seems to be the ongoing issue of high prices at the pump involve setting up a reliable reserve of processed gasoline to access in times of crisis.

            We’ll be watching the cost of fueling up and reporting on any additional news related to the increased price.

            CQI Associates is an energy and sustainability management consulting firm servicing residential and commercial clients throughout the United States. To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            U.S. Gas Price Spike: Blame the Long Road From Well to Pump

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            Commercial Energy Audits: Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

            Friday, March 15th, 2013

            Monthly utility bills have you gasping for air? Concerned about conserving and applying the maxim reduce, reuse, and recycle to the way your business operates? A professional energy assessment, or audit, might be the key to helping your company go green and embrace sustainable business operations.

            To truly maximize energy savings, businesses should take a full-bodied approach to analyzing different aspects of their office’s systems. Energy expenses can be traced to a variety of sources, and commercial energy audits generally examine the following in efforts to reduce overall consumption:

            . Temperature Settings

            . Un-occupied Cycles & Set points

            . Lighting & Lighting Control

            . Energy Management Systems

            . Air Flow

            . Exhaust Systems

            . HVAC Equipment Replacement

            . Demand Management

            . Maintenance Practices

            . Staff Participation

            Using both analysis of occupant behavior and advanced technology like blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermostats, energy auditors can glean insights regarding energy consumption and develop a plan to improve overall energy use.

            CQI Associates has developed effective energy audits based on over 15 years of facility assessments, the LEED Existing Buildings Operations and Management Certification Guidelines, as well as recommendations made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our evaluation tools are a proven way to help your business determine how it can improve its operations and run a more energy efficient building.

            To learn more about our commercial energy assessments, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

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            Energy News: Energy Department and USDA Support Energy Efficiency Initiatives

            Friday, March 1st, 2013

            Imagine the fuel (and energy) it takes to power tractors, plows, tillers – the equipment that goes hand in hand with running a farm. Expensive? No doubt. The Energy Information Administration approximates that families living in rural areas spend close to $400 extra each year on energy bills than the average urban dwelling family.

            Making energy more affordable for Americans while protecting natural resources has become a federal concern; the government, its departments, and agencies have been working in recent years to address this issue. The USDA is one such department – its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), is collaborating with agriculture producers and rural small businesses to construct thousands of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The end result will be 7.32 kWhs in savings each year, which is enough energy to bring power to 680,000 households every year.

            The Energy Department is likewise making strides in this arena, with what’s been dubbed the “Weatherization Assistance Program,” which is aimed at assisting low income rural families in cutting back on utility expenses with a series of efficiency upgrades in the home. This might range from better insulation to replacement of windows that aren’t airtight, to fixing heating and cooling systems. Around since 1976, this program has been working for years to assist low-income families in significantly reducing their energy bills.

            The recent partnership between the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, and the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has created additional opportunities for more outreach to rural Americans. Some of the joint initiatives include:

            • Educating and offering technical assistance on energy efficiency and renewable energy into programs aimed at youth and adults.
            • Informing about tax credit incentives and other financing options for energy upgrades in the home.
            • Stand behind energy efficiency and renewable energy targets in rural areas to create more jobs, increase business opportunities, and boost local economies.

            CQI Associates is also a part of the movement to bring green energy to Americans everywhere. As a leading energy consultant, CQI implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.

            To learn more about our services, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            Energy Department and USDA Partner to Support Energy Efficiency in Rural Communities

             

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            Solar Energy, Drip Irrigation, and Revolutionized Farming Methods

            Friday, February 22nd, 2013

            Solar energy has been making waves (or should we say, rays?) in the way energy is consumed and produced, and now it’s beginning to bring change to rural and underdeveloped areas. In Benin, a small country in West Africa, photovoltaic panels are powering drip irrigation systems in the district of Kalalé, which has made strides in improving their food production.

            The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), launched a plan in 2007 to put solar-powered drip irrigation systems in two dry and rural West African villages, Dunkassa and Bessassi. Combining two forms of technologies – solar power and drip irrigation – that had known success separately but were not often used in conjunction with one another, SELF helped bring water to the arid areas so crops could get the water needed to thrive.

            With the dry season making up half of the year in Benin, the country has had a deficit of fresh vegetables, contributing to ongoing issues related to malnutrition and sickness, especially in children.

            Traditionally, drip irrigation systems have been powered by diesel engines that bring reservoir water through pipes and to the plant roots. SELF envisioned these irrigation systems running off of solar power in an economical fashion. Though the dual solar-irrigation systems cost around $25,000, according to SELF, the ROI is seen in two to three years. The conclusion? Though the initial overheard costs are higher, solar still proves to be cost effective over time, especially with the rising prices of fuel.

            With a grant from National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge Initiative, SELF is moving forward to shed more light on the situation in West Africa, bringing solar systems to homes, schools, health clinics, and more. It’s one step towards bringing their solar integrated development model to the developing world.Over time, this technology will be utilized in the United States to provide similar benefits by leveraging solar power in innovative ways.

            CQI Associates implements solar, wind, and renewable energy projects for public and private clients all around the country, and is committed to developing economical, green energy plans to create a more sustainable future.

            To learn more about our services, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa

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            The State of the Union Address, Energy Consumption, and Environmental Impact

            Thursday, February 21st, 2013

            Obama’s State of the Union Address sparked continued discussion of energy reform and the ongoing debate about climate change. Here’s our rundown on what the president has proposed as a part of his agenda this past Tuesday.

            - Obama called Congress to action to issue legislation that seeks to quash carbon pollution while promoting the production of clean energy.

            - Taking the energy crisis and rising environmental concerns seriously, Obama expressed his intention to develop executive actions in conjunction with his cabinet to make strides in reducing pollution, dealing with the effects of climate change, and rapidly evolving the sustainable energy market.

            - Talk of an Energy Security Trust is in the works, which would use revenue from federal oil and gas production to fund research and technology to end the need to use oil as automotive fuel.

            - Obama also announced his intention to promote the development of cleaner-burning natural gas with Congress’ help in order to protect the environment.

            Whatever may happen in the upcoming term in terms of advancements in energy and environmental care, one thing’s for sure: you don’t have to wait until legislation is made to keep up with more sustainable energy practices. The energy consultants at CQI can help public and private clients alike to optimize energy consumption, reduce environmental liability, seek out renewable energy sources, and more.

            To learn more about our services, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

            You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

            Sources:

            In State of the Union Obama Targets Energy, Climate

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