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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Energy Efficiency

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Energy Efficiency

In a March 22nd article in The New York Times, three science writers—Mike McPhate, Derek Watkins, and Jim Wilson—described how this winter's accumulated snowpack in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range may prove to be an antidote to the state's drought crisis.

High-tech airborne mapping and other specialized instruments, they wrote, have provided scientists with an unprecedented understanding of the amount of water present in the snow, and the rate at which the snow is expected to melt.

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The Best (and Worst) Retro-Commissioning Practices

The Best (and Worst) Retro-Commissioning Practices

On the afternoon of February 15, I led a presentation in front of 40 members of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA Chicago) about best (and worst) practices relative to successful retro-commissioning projects. First, I set the context for retro-commissioning, including its historical origins and relationship to the commissioning of new buildings. Next, I explained why BOMA Chicago members should care about the ComEd retro-commissioning incentive program.

For almost ten years, all member buildings have been paying into the funding pool for the utility's energy efficiency programs. Participating in retro-commissioning represents an opportunity to get back some of that money. Retro-commissioning also plays an important role in supporting credits for LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) certification or re-certification.

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What Makes a Successful Retro-Commissioning Project?

What Makes a Successful Retro-Commissioning Project?

We will host a brown bag lunch seminar entitled "What Makes a Successful Retro-Commissioning Project" later this month. The seminar will commence at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 15, in the Harris Bank Building, 115 South LaSalle Street, Chicago. Sieben Energy Associates has to date performed over 80 retro-commissioning projects, comprising over 55 million square feet of building space.

During this seminar, we will draw upon our leadership and expertise in retro-commissioning to advise members of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA Chicago) on the project attributes that lead to a positive outcome. This event is listed on the BOMA Chicago website.

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The Value of Long-Term Energy Planning

The Value of Long-Term Energy Planning

Jerry Burin, vice president and partner at Sieben Energy Associates, recently authored an article on the value of long-term energy planning. ​In his article, Jerry provides sound rationale for "the orderly execution of an energy plan aligning with the organization's other long-term planning objectives."

Rather than approaching energy management as a series of ad hoc tactical initiatives, adopting a strategic approach can achieve greater success and a stronger return on investment. The article was published in the January 2017 issue of Building Operating Management magazine and appears in three parts online.

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ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

ComEd’s Efficiency Incentive Program Offers New Benefits to Electric Customers

June saw the launch of the ninth year of ComEd's Smart Ideas for Your Business program of energy efficiency incentives for commercial and industrial customers. (ComEd is the electric utility that serves northern Illinois, including Chicago and its suburbs.) The utility's retro-commissioning program generated significant energy savings in the immediately preceding program year ending May 31, 2016. A total of 130 business customers of ComEd received more than $2.8 million in retro-commissioning service incentives over 12 months, yielding 260,000 megawatt-hours of energy reduction.

And the new program year underway in June is already bringing the benefits of the retro-commissioning incentive program to a host of new customers. For the current year, ComEd's goals include targeting energy savings of more than 280,000 megawatt-hours and distributing more than $3.44 million in service incentives. Service incentives are now available for ComEd customers whose buildings have as little as 100kW peak demand, with incentives of $10,000 to $100,000 available here.

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