In 2003, Tom and Linda Bullington purchased an old building in the small town of Bedford, PA. They began operating three small businesses on the first floor and leased six apartments on the second floor. The three businesses were Central PA Settlement LLC; Allquest Real Estate, Central PA LLC; and Branch 446, Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. They quickly realized their building needed to be more energy efficient.
The Bullingtons began by replacing all 70 windows with Low-E energy efficient windows and increasing insulation in the attic to R38. The next hurdle to overcome was an old boiler that was only 50-55% efficient. The excessive heat loss resulted in the need to run the first-floor air conditioning nearly year-round to compensate. Confronted with a confusing array of estimates and recommendations, the Bullingtons turned to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at St. Francis University and its Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) for guidance.
The EMAP environmental specialist assisted the Bullingtons in reviewing contractor estimates and making equipment selections for a new boiler with an efficiency rating of 87%. EMAP also helped the Bullingtons obtain state assistance through the Small Business Advantage Grant administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This enabled them to recuperate 50% of the boiler upgrade.
As a result of their new boiler, the Bullingtons are saving approximately $6,200 from their gas bill, a reduction of over two-thirds and a savings of 4100 therms. Plus, they are saving by not running the air conditioner so frequently. Because of the state's grant, the Bullingtons began seeing a return on their investment in just 8 months. Their more efficient boiler is also preventing about 61,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere each year.
Duncaster, Inc. operates the Caleb Hitchcock Nursing Home and Health Center in Bloomfield, CT., a non-profit retirement community providing independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing home services to residents. Its facilities encompass 450,000 total square feet. Duncaster’s residents take energy conservation very seriously and joined with management to cut energy consumption and costs. They are saving $18,000 per year as a result of their energy saving projects, cooperative efforts with Connecticut Light & Power, the State’s Department of Public Utility Control, and internal energy education campaigns.
Duncaster’s ongoing efforts began in 2004. They include the installation of ten ENERGY STAR qualified transformers throughout the facility. And all T-12 fluorescent lighting with magnetic ballasts was converted to higher-efficiency T-8 with electronic ballasts. As part of the facility-wide education campaign, Duncaster conducted a light bulb swap. Residents turned in approximately 1,000 incandescent light bulbs and received new compact florescent lights (CFLs) in return. Duncaster earned incentives through an agreement with Connecticut Light and Power for the lighting and transformer installation.
The Duncaster education campaign included energy audits in all independent living apartments aimed at educating residents on ways to conserve energy. Duncaster provided educational presentations for all residents on energy-efficiency and how they can help Duncaster meet the challenge of reducing costs. As another energy-saving measure, programmable thermostats are being installed in the independent living apartments.
Duncaster’s total energy efficiency upgrades have resulted in energy savings of 117,000 kWh, which has reduced air pollution by 187,000 pounds of CO2 per year!
Garry Kilgore established his rapidly-growing wholesale produce distribution company in 1996 to serve restaurants and groceries throughout the Sacramento, CA area. With delicate fruits and vegetables as his commodity, Mr. Kilgore relies heavily on four walk-in coolers which encompass 73,000 cubic feet of storage space with cooling from six dedicated compressors. His annual electric consumption used to be a staggering 386,000 kWh. Kilgore was also concerned that he only became aware of problems in the system's operation when there was a catastrophic failure, raising temperatures in his coolers and endangering thousands of dollars of produce with spoilage.
National Resource Management, Inc. (NRM) conducted an energy audit and recommended installation of an Energy Management Solution to control the temperature, defrost and evaporator fans in his coolers. Such a system would be connected through a Remote Site Manager (RSM) allowing 24/7 monitoring and control via the Internet and cell phone technology. NRM also advised Kilgore of the availability of a Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) Customer Advanced Technology (CAT) program. The energy analysis of his existing equipment qualified his project to receive a 75% incentive from SMUD. Based on the estimated savings, G&S Produce could realize a payback in just over seven months.
Upon installation, the new system and RSM began identifying problems quickly, including a defective pressure regulator that kept a compressor running continuously. The system also reduced evaporator fan run time by over 50%. Also, the RSM allowed for temperature setbacks when coolers were empty, resulting in an energy savings of 1–3% per degree during setback. The NRM systems collect operating information from controllers and monitoring points and sends changed information only. Customers can access information via a standard web browser and subsequently manage their equipment and improve its operation while logged in.
The NRM equipment has enabled Gary Kilgore to realize savings of 86,690 kWh, a 21% drop in his annual usage and 60% more than originally estimated. G&S Produce is enjoying $8,700 in annual cost savings and preventing about 138,000 pounds of C02 emissions from being released into the atmosphere each year.
David Powers opened Ocean Breeze Awnings and More in 1987 and began urging his clients in the Surfside Beach area of South Carolina to use “green” products and techniques in outdoor improvements such as sunrooms, decks and other features that he built for them. His award-winning energy-saving efforts, however, are for steps he took at his own facility to serve as an example of green living. Powers has also been recognized as an outstanding advocate of energy-efficient construction and operation.
Mr. Powers’ energy-saving efforts began when he contacted Santee Cooper, his local utility provider, and joined their Green Power program. Purchasing two blocks of power from alternative sources, such as methane or solar energy, resulted in a slight increase to his electric bill. His goal in doing upgrades was to offset the increase and reduce his utility bill as well. A cool roof was already in place on his 2,000 square-foot metal building. He used the ENERGY STAR small business web site, Putting Energy into Profits Guidebook, and various links to determine what improvements to make.
Lighting was a primary area of focus. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) were used to replace all incandescent bulbs. Halogen lamps in storage areas were replaced with fluorescents with ballasts. Warehouse skylights were installed to provide daylighting, with metal halide lighting used as back-up.
Two window air-conditioning units in one office were replaced with a central unit; regular maintenance was scheduled on all heating and cooling units rather than waiting for a problem to develop; and monthly changes on the air filters were scheduled. Programmable thermostats were added to two of the three central units. One window was shaded with an awning, and another awning was placed on one side of the building, providing storage as well as shade. Solar window tint was installed on all windows for further “shading.”
Extra insulation was added to all the walls of the structure, while walls, sills, and ceilings were resealed in conditioned portions of the building to prevent infiltration between inside and outside air. A seldom-used garage door was sealed and insulated and the building envelope was sealed with additional caulking and is checked annually for touch-up.
Operational modifications were part of the energy-saving efforts as well. Lighting was minimized in the showroom area when it was unoccupied, and all lights and appliances are unplugged on weekends. Employees were educated on electronic usage, such as unplugging cell phone chargers when not in use and unplugging machinery, if possible, over weekends. Mr. Powers even contacted his local utility and got free energy saving tips brochures to include in gift bags at a recent 20th Anniversary Party.
“We’ve made a lot of small improvements that for a company of our size amounts to a total change in philosophy,” Mr. Powers says.
Ocean Breeze is now saving more than 2,500 kWh of electricity annually and has reduced its energy costs by nearly $300 in addition to preventing about 4,100 pounds of CO2 from entering the air. These savings are in addition to those from the existing cool-roof, and include the added green power costs.
As Pat Lobb of McKinney, TX began making plans for his new Toyota dealership, he wanted to dramatically reduce energy consumption because he felt energy costs were a variable he could control and positively impact the bottom line of his business. To accomplish his goal, Lobb gathered a team of advisors experienced in “green” building. Pat Lobb’s collaborators include Gensler architecture firm; James Johnston & Associates, MEP Engineer; HARC, energy modeling consultant; Command Commissioning, commissioning agent; Toyota Motor Sales, and Turner Construction, contractor.
According to Mr. Lobb, he and his team studied every aspect of the design, performed digital energy modeling, analyzed multiple systems and examined return on investment based on conservative estimates of future energy costs compared to standard auto dealership construction. Subsequently, after its first year of occupancy, Pat Lobb Toyota estimates that its energy costs will be at least 20 percent below those of a similar-sized dealership of typical construction in the same climate.
One step the team took was to specify and use ENERGY STAR qualified products whenever possible.
“Our goal was that if it plugged in, it had to have an ENERGY STAR label,” Mr. Lobb says. Energy efficiency is apparent in nearly every decision. Building orientation and daylighting were among the considerations for lighting, along with using T-5 fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts, metal halide lighting and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs. Increased ceiling and wall insulation was coupled with double-paned Low-E windows, insulated water heaters and pipes, and a landscaping plan for shade. HVAC equipment is all ENERGY STAR qualified and a regular service contract is in place.
The design and build team followed guidelines established by the U.S. Green Building Council so that the dealership is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified dealership in the world. This yielded one of the three benefits listed by Mr. Lobb in addition to energy cost savings: media recognition.
Pat Lobb Toyota has also become a model in the U.S and overseas for those interested in studying cost-saving design elements. The other additional benefits, according to Mr. Lobb, are the greater comfort offered by the facility which has improved employee satisfaction and pride.
Planet Subaru in Hanover, MA strives to prove that environmental responsibility can be good for business, especially when it comes to energy-efficiency. In 1998, brothers Jeff and John Morrill took over a failed Subaru dealership and committed to operating the most environmentally-friendly business possible. They used energy-efficiency measures throughout the process of renovating an existing building and reduced energy-consumption over comparable auto dealerships by more than 30 percent.
One of the first measures was to design the facility's walls and windows to maximize passive solar heat in the winter. In addition, windows are operable and can be opened during temperate seasons so heating and cooling expense can be eliminated.
“We think working with Mother Nature is better than working against her,” Jeff Morrill says. Block wall construction provides additional insulation while river rock roofing minimizes solar absorption and reduces cooling loads. In keeping with their practical, as well as their seasonal, thinking, the Morrill brothers provide staff with warm fleece jackets in winter and air-wicking polo shirts in summer allowing thermostats to be adjusted for maximum energy-efficiency. Microprocessor-controlled, programmable thermostats have been installed in four zones to coordinate temperatures with occupancy. The overhead shop door is designed for rapid opening and closing to preserve heated or cooled air. Car wash water is recycled and residual heat is reclaimed.
All exterior lighting was upgraded and three outdoor lighting zones were created and tied to photo sensors and time clocks. In addition to the savings they realize in actual energy costs, the Morrill brothers worked with the National Grid Small Business Services Program which reimbursed 80 percent of the cost of their lighting upgrades.
The Morrill brothers have also worked to involve staff in their energy saving efforts. Closing procedures have been developed throughout the dealership stressing that all electrical devices including computers are turned off at night to reduce phantom consumption. A “Lump of Coal” award was instituted in 2006 to recognize the team member who cared most about saving energy and managers receive bonuses based on reduction in energy consumption.
Overall, Planet Subaru is saving more than $22,000 annually by saving 125,000 kWh, more than 1,300 therms and preventing about 220,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
Sendell Motors of Greensburg, PA, has grown since William M. Mohler first purchased the Buick dealership in 1980. The addition of Volkswagen, Oldsmobile and Mitsubishi franchises has required the purchase of an extra 3.7 acres of land and 13,500 square feet of facility space. Prior to expanding and building a new combined showroom and reconditioning garage, Mohler compiled three years of utilities records on the existing structures. Then, he and his staff set a goal of reducing energy use by 10 percent, even with 3,100 square feet of additional space.
Heating was the first area of focus. A waste oil boiler was installed to provide in-floor radiant heat. The multi-faceted environmental impact of this move eliminated the need for externally purchased natural gas by using the vast majority of used waste oil generated in the service department. Controls enable different areas of the building to be heated separately.
To increase electric energy efficiency, all existing exterior lot lighting was placed on controlled timers. Interior lighting in the new space is high-efficiency T5HO. The space uses solid aluminum windows with Low-E glass throughout the showroom area and a 40 percent smaller surface area is exposed for light penetration. Finally, a high-efficiency rooftop air conditioning unit was installed. Underground cabling was used to tie all electric service, Internet and television cabling, overhead music, paging and other electronics to the existing buildings. This eliminates costs as well as redundancies. Water savings were achieved with the installation of low-flow/high-efficiency toilets and water fountains to keep water usage constant even with the addition of two rest rooms, sinks and water fountains.
As a result of these efforts, Sendell Motors is saving over $8,000 annually in energy costs. Electric consumption was reduced by 40,000 kWh, natural gas by 3300 therms, and CO2 emissions by over 112,000 pounds per year!
Sonoma Wine Company of Graton, CA, is realizing nearly a quarter million dollars in annual energy savings as a result of an integrated design process coordinated with their local utility, PG&E. The firm, founded in 2003, offers crush-bottle custom winemaking services to the wine industry. Back then, Sonoma Wine had a annual bottling production of 1.5 million cases serving more than 30 wineries, in addition to the production of their own wine brands.
Recently, Sonoma wanted to double their capacity to 3 million cases a year and knew that achieving the goal required reducing energy and water use without increasing the footprint of their winery or wastewater treatment pond. PG&E helped Sonoma Wine apply for various energy efficiency programs to upgrade equipment, lighting and reduce energy and water use. The incentives allowed return on investments from six months to five years.
The first step in the upgrade and expansion process was to perform energy, water and wastewater audits. Sonoma Wine contracted with PG&E’s food and agriculture incentive program, which offers design assistance for upgrades or new construction. The program provided a consulting engineer who analyzed all winery processes and practices to identify energy and water use and devise a reduction plan which was implemented over a two-year period.
The plan included installation of T-8 fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts, solar tubes to enhance daylighting, and occupancy sensors to optimize lighting control. Insulation was increased in ceilings and walls, the water heater and pipes were insulated, reflective “cool” roofing was added. Most importantly, manufacturing process changes were implemented.
Employee awareness programs helped overcome the initial resistance to measuring and benchmarking energy and water usage. According to Natasha Granoff, director of business development, the departments now compete to achieve higher levels of reduction and new reduction strategies, partially in appreciation of their improved working conditions. Ms. Granoff also stressed that measurement and metrics were key to the program. “You cannot manage what you cannot measure,” she said.
The Sonoma Wine energy reduction program has earned media attention with various articles about their unique process. They have also been recognized as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leader for pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 15% before 2010.
Overall, Sonoma Wine Company is saving more than 1,288,000 kWh of electricity and 54,400 therms of natural gas each year. That's about $246,600 in annual savings and 2.8 million pounds of CO2 emissions prevented From being released into the atmosphere.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), like most trade associations, is concerned with helping its members be profitable. Because auto dealerships use, on average, more energy per square foot than a typical office building, NADA has long recognized that energy efficiency is an effective way for dealers to cut costs and generate savings that increase the bottom line.
In June, 2005, in order to help its members cut energy costs, NADA asked ENERGY STAR to customize a version of its Small Business Energy Guidebook tailored specifically for auto dealerships. The ENERGY STAR Guide for Dealers was subsequently published in February 2006 and mailed to about 20,000 NADA members.
NADA continued its relationship with ENERGY STAR Small Business by launching the NADA Energy Stewardship Initiative in November, 2006. This Initiative encourages dealerships around the country to meet the ENERGY STAR Challenge of reducing energy consumption by 10 percent or more.
It is estimated that if all auto dealerships in the U.S. were to reduce their energy consumption by just 10 percent, they would save approximately $193 million in energy costs and eliminate more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gases every year. The best ways for most auto dealers to improve energy efficiency are by installing efficient lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.
NADA has taken the lead in promoting to its members the many resources available to small businesses from ENERGY STAR. Promotions have included special “Green Issues” of their flagship publication, AutoExec, and the launch of reciprocal web sites to facilitate dealers’ access to information. In addition, ENERGY STAR personnel have participated in NADA conventions at the organization’s invitation. By mid-2007, more than 500 dealerships had joined the ENERGY STAR Small Business Network as a result of these promotions.
ENERGY STAR considers its relationship with NADA an excellent model for working with other trade associations to encourage increased energy efficiency.
Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) developed the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP), which assists small businesses within the state in recognizing and implementing the steps needed to increase profitability by cutting energy costs.
Since its inception in 1980, Pennsylvania SBDC has evolved into a network of 18 university-based centers and more than 90 outreach locations operating under the guidance of a State Director.
Since 1990, the SBDCs have helped Pennsylvania entrepreneurs start more than 22,000 new businesses and obtain $1.8 billion in start-up and expansion capital. More than 97,800 new jobs have been created.
Under the direction of Christopher Lynch, EMAP provides a step-by-step program to evaluate energy savings potential for small businesses. The services include an analysis of current energy usage, an on-site assessment of facilities, recommendations for cost savings and assistance in locating sources of financing for the upgrades. According to Lynch, energy efficiency is one of the easier and most cost-effective steps a business can take to prevent pollution and increase profitability.
“Payback periods are often very short and results can be substantial,” says Lynch. EMAP stresses that energy efficient upgrades most often make sense in the areas of lighting, HVAC equipment, office equipment, process equipment and motors and the building envelope.
EMAP also assists firms in the development of new energy and environmental technology. One-on-one consulting assistance is provided to help prepare and review proposals, find new commercial markets and opportunities, identify potential funding sources and to find potential project partners.
Western Appliance of San Jose, CA is recognized for their innovative marketing of ENERGY STAR labeled appliances. Western Appliance has made ENERGY STAR its “differentiator” and enabled it to successfully compete with “big box” retailers in California’s Bay Area.
Western Appliance operates 10 stores with 64 sales professionals selling kitchen and laundry appliances. The firm grew from a frontier furniture store founded by Jacob Niederauer in Bakersfield shortly after the Civil War. Although still a family enterprise, Western Appliance today focuses on consumer education and specialized promotions to earn it a position as one of the nation’s 30 largest volume retailers. In 2006, sales staff spoke directly to more than 40,000 household decision makers regarding the value proposition of ENERGY STAR major appliance purchase decisions. Semi-annual sales contests reward salespersons generating the highest energy saved through in sales.
Employee turnover at Western Appliance is a low three percent. New hires undergo six weeks of training, including a thorough instruction regarding the commitment to ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. The company uses the majority of its annual $3 million advertising budget to educate consumers on the savings achieved by an ENERGY STAR purchase. “Rate Buster” employee name tags and price tags reinforce the message.
Western Appliance executives participate in energy conference and industry associations, as well as conducting regular strategy sessions with manufacturers of ENERGY STAR qualified products. The company also works with the local utility, PG&E, and serves as a test market partner for projects such as the “Instant Energy Rebate.”
Another innovative promotion is Western Appliances’ ’Water Giveaway,’ whereby seven cases of bottled water are provided to consumers who buy new washing machines. The campaign is a demonstration of the amount of water saved with each load of laundry in some ENERGY STAR qualified machines. Customers have received 13 million pints of free bottled water and Western Appliance estimates that more than 46,000,000 gallons of water have been saved.
The ’Great Idea’ promotion giveaway awards customers with free CFLs — a ’great idea’ for energy efficiency — for the purchase of an ENERGY STAR qualified appliance. In applicable categories, more than 85% of Western’s total $12 million inventory is dedicated to ENERGY STAR labeled models.
Western Appliance estimates that, each year, more than 5 million kWh of electricity have been saved due to sales of ENERGY STAR labeled washing machines and dishwashers.