Posts Tagged ‘energy management’

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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How to Save Energy in the Summer Heat

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

In case you have spent the last week under a rock, it may surprise you to discover that spring has sprung. Gone are the cold winter days, bundling up and searching for that missing mitten. Now is the time to break out those flip-flops and switch off the heater. Thankfully, for the time being, the air-cools down dramatically at night not creating unbearable conditions for us. But, what happens when the temperature remains at a constant high in the eighties, nineties or even reaching above one hundred degrees? You will be running your air-conditioning and at what cost? Surely, you do not want to spend a whole week’s paycheck on maintaining a comfortable temperature. Here are a few tips and tricks to save energy (and money) this summer:

Not using it, Turn it off!

This seems simple enough, but how many times have you exited a room and left your computer or TV on? The same goes for your lights. What is the benefit of leaving them on when there is no one in the room? It is just wasting energy.

Turn up your thermostat.

A key way to save energy in the summer is to not make the air conditioner as cold as possible. Alternatively, even to turn it off on some of those cooler summer days. What is the use of keeping the air conditioner so cold that you are wearing a sweatshirt and shivering? A comfortable temperature should be between seventy-five and seventy-eight degrees (or even a little warmer for maximum energy saving effectiveness.)

Replace your air filters.

A quick easy way to save energy is to replace the air filters in your house. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause the system to run longer and increase your energy use. For a maximum energy saving benefit, replace the filters monthly. Air filters can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Quick Kitchen Helpers

If the option is to cook something in the microwave for a few minutes, or spend a longer amount of time standing over a stove, is it really a question of which is easier? Well, not only will cooking in the microwave save you time, it also uses less energy. Speaking of the kitchen, who enjoys washing dishes by hand? No one, your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then if you are in a super energy saving mood, let the dishes air dry for even more energy saving!

 

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2001 K STREET NW IN WASHINGTON, DC ACHIEVES LEED® GOLD FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS CERTIFICATION

Friday, April 8th, 2011

2001 K Street

2001 K Street

 

Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., a global commercial real estate brokerage and management firm, aligned with CQI Associates, LLC, a Columbia, Maryland-based energy and environmental management consulting firm, to complete the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold for Existing Buildings (EB) Certification of 2001 K Street, NW in Washington, DC.

Managed by Cushman & Wakefield, 2001 K Street, NW is a 356,820-square-foot, 12-story office building located on the northwest corner of 20th and K Streets – a few blocks from the White House and George Washington University. The building is in exceptional condition and includes a natural stone facade as part of its striking architectural design. A retail branch of Eagle Bank is located on the first floor, with floors two through eleven occupied by other world-class and globally-renowned businesses like the law offices of Clifford Chance LLP and the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. A lower level includes two mailrooms, a fitness center, and storage areas.  The facility staff began embracing green operations long before the actual LEED® certification process began. In 2008, the management team installed motion sensors for the garage lighting and later introduced a recycling program where tenants recycle mixed paper, plastics, bottles and cans.

Achieving LEED® Gold EB Certification

CQI Associates completed an initial energy assessment of the building in the summer of 2009, then provided a list of recommendations for improving energy efficiency and working toward the LEED® Gold EB Certification. CQI Associates worked closely with Cushman & Wakefield to implement the recommendations and complete the certification process.

The initial investment in the project’s green and sustainable technologies, strategies, and design resulted in an estimated savings of more than $51,000 in the first year.  With an ENERGY STAR rating of 79, 2001 K Street NW is 58 percent more energy efficient and annually saves $1.03 per square foot in energy costs when compared to the average U.S. office building.

According to Property Manager Timeeca Mitchell, “The tenants have really embraced working in a green environment. Most interior modifications are completed to meet LEED® standards, whether the tenant pursues certification or not. We are also thrilled with the response to the recycling program and have 100% participation from tenants on all floors. Everyone has really come together to be better global citizens and improve the efficiency of our working environment.”

Chief Engineer Don Bauman shared, “Every month when we receive the energy bill, we are excited to see the payback on our investment continue. At the current rate, we expect to reach a full payback in less than two years. It is very impressive, as with most significant projects in other areas of business, it may be hard to measure the return on investment. We are able to track our progress every month and it is truly amazing.”

 Reducing Costs and Consumption

Working toward greater water conservation, dual flush toilets were installed in all of the women’s restrooms and .5 gpf (low flow) urinals in the men’s restrooms, as well as low flow aerators on the restroom faucets, thus reducing the overall water usage by over 30%

Another important component to achieving greater energy efficiency was the HVAC system. As a part of the project implementation, variable frequency drives (VFDs) were installed on the Air Handling Units, cooling tower fans, and most recently on the condenser pump.  Beyond improvements to the HVAC system, occupancy sensors were added in the restrooms and office spaces. The purpose is as simple as the name: to save electricity when restrooms and offices are not in use. The building lighting also utilizes high efficiency low mercury T-8 fluorescent bulbs.

In addition to the physical upgrades, the building management team has taken great care to ensure that outside contractors performing facility alterations correctly follow green purchasing, waste management, and indoor air quality LEED® requirements in the execution of new projects. The management staff checks the building equipment two or three times a day and promptly responds to occupant concerns using a detailed work order system.

 “We were delighted to partner with Cushman & Wakefield on this LEED® Gold EB Certification project and help to further advance its global leadership and commitment to green design and operations in commercial real estate,” said CQI Associates Principal, Richard Anderson.

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Green Talk

Monday, February 21st, 2011

“Green Talk” is CQI’s new blog about energy management, energy procurement, green buildings, environmental management, sustainability, and how we are continuing to support the environment with our green community initiatives.

“CQI Associates Energy Currents” January 2011

Market rates for electricity and natural gas have been dropping to record lows this fall. Compared to the prior three years, electricity and natural gas prices are 18% and 45% lower, respectively.  Members of the commercial and electricity cooperatives managed by CQI Associates have been able to lock into contracts equal to and in most cases lower than the prior contracts issued in 2008 and 2009.  Energy rate budget stability and savings for most of our clients extends to 2013; a favorable outcome as we all struggle with the slower than anticipated economic recovery.

However, I have observed in the past four weeks the first solid and sustainable increases in market rates that may be a sign that rates will begin a slow but steady increase over the next 12 months.  We expect rates to increase by 7% based on current data.  If industrial production increases and energy demand increases, especially for natural gas, prices will go up even more than projected.

Energy Tip of the Month:

Businesses and homeowners who have florescent light fixtures that use T-12 bulbs have until December 2011 to convert them to the current T-8, T-5, or LED light bulbs.  T-12 bulbs will go out of production this year. After January 2012 it may be difficult to find the bulbs and by 2013 we do not expect any options other than to replace the fixtures.  Now is the time to consider replacing the fixtures.  Two benefits of this are:  a 12% reduction in energy costs this year, and qualification for utility EmPower Maryland program, if the fixtures are replaced in 2011.  The incentive can be up to 80% of the cost for qualified small business customers located in the distribution service areas served by BGE, PEPCO, Allegheny Power, and DELMARVA.  An additional benefit is the reduction of mercury in landfills from disposed T-12 bulbs.

If you have any comments or questions send them to me at richard@cqiassociates.com.

Richard Anderson, Principal, CQI Associates

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