A Skyscraper in Manhattan and a School in the Mountains of Colorado Aren’t Fundamentally Different According to the EPA

Holmes: Watson, what do you think about that quote from an EPA spokeswoman about the EPA’s First National Building Competition? Watson: You are kidding me aren’t you Holmes? A representative of an agency that’s supposed to be leading the way in energy efficiency doesn’t understand the difference? Sounds like someone may be lacking a little common scents. Read the Rest of the Blog  ...

Benchmarking One Building Against Another Has Little Value

Watson: Based on my research into EPA’s Energy Star Rating System for our Blog on Benchmarking, I have some questions. Holmes: Fire away. Watson: The Benchmarking and Energy Star Rating program is based on comparing one building’s energy usage with that of a similar one, whether it be a home, church, school, hospital or industrial plant, to see how you stack up, how you are doing. Their Website says, “You know what’s motivating? Finding out you’re behind the curve and you didn’t even know it. Fortunately, ENERGY STAR has the tools and resources to help you get ahead. Once you benchmark your energy performance, you’ll have a better idea what to do next. Got a low score? Time to do an energy audit and see where you may be wasting energy. The good news is you have the potential to save your organization money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!” Is that what really motivates people Holmes, to find out that their building has a low Energy Star Rating? Holmes: That’s a new one on me. In the 40 years I have been in this business I have yet to have anyone ask me how their building is doing compared to others, how it ranks. What building owners and managers want to know is whether we can help them reduce their energy costs. Watson: How valid is comparing one building to another? This is a huge and, I am sure, very expensive program that apparently many see as an effective way to reduce energy consumption in this country. Holmes: Comparing one building against another is not scientifically valid. Each building needs to be compared...

A Permanent Energy Monitoring System Saves You Money

Watson: Holmes, I know that you are convinced the only way to operate buildings efficiently on a continuing basis is by installing permanent instrumentation, an Energy Monitoring System. What makes you so certain? Holmes: You mean other than the fact that every plane, car, ship, train and every other sophisticated device except buildings is operated that way? Watson: Other than that, what makes you so certain? Read the Rest of the...

They Thought The Temperature Controls System They Bought was an Energy Management System

Holmes: Did I ever tell you Watson about my meeting with the Director of Energy Conservation and his chief engineer for one of the largest States in the country? Watson: Not that I recall. But I take it you are about to and I am sure it will be just as fascinating as all of your other stories. Holmes: I’ve never met a sarcastic dog before. Watson: I’m waiting with dog breath. Holmes: I asked him, “how many utility meters are you monitoring?” I had a strong hunch what the answer would be. The Director turned to his engineer who replied “I don’t believe we are monitoring any meters.” Read the Rest of the Blog...

What Industrial Plants Could Learn About Tracking Energy

Holmes: Do you remember when you first started to work with me and I said that all energy systems follow two basic principles, Heat In = Heat Out and Mass In = Mass Out? Well I may have fibbed a little; Nuclear reactions are an exception in that a very small amount of fuel is actually converted to a very large amount of energy. Watson: But the basic principle of Energy In = Energy Out still applies; right?  Holmes: Exactly. Whether it’s a jet engine, slaughterhouse, donut factory or Nuclear Plant, the Energy In has to equal the Energy Out. They all follow the same Laws of Thermodynamics. Read the Rest of the Blog...

Infrared Camera Exposes Hot Spots

Watson: I was reading a recent article in Plant Services about Infrared Thermography which peaked my curiosity. Have you ever used similar technology in any of your energy projects Holmes? Holmes: Only once but it was an interesting experience to say the least. Not only did it expose a hot floor in the ER in a Regional Hospital, it exposed some hot spots on an ER nurse. Watson: Really! Tell me more about the project. Holmes: I have to admit it had a few tense moments. I was in a meeting in the Board Room with the Administrator, Assistant Administrator, Business Manager, Medical Chief of Staff, Head of Nursing, Head of Facilities and Two Board Members. They all agreed that I had made a mistake when, as a small part of a large Energy Conservation Project, I had replaced an oversized fan motor in the ER with a smaller one to save energy. The ER was overheating and the modified system couldn’t cool it. That motor ran 24 hours a day. Replacing it with a smaller one would save the hospital a lot of money. It was a sound technique from the energy standpoint but one that raised a red flag in the face of Ed, the Head of Facilities. He said to the group, “anyone knows that if you are going to replace a motor you always go to the next bigger size; you never put in a smaller one”. Watson: Why didn’t you just growl menacingly and bite one of them? Holmes: To be quite honest Watson, that thought didn’t occur to me. From now on I’m going to take you with me to...