(If you missed the Part I blog post in this series about the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, CLICK HERE!)
Colleges and universities strive for climate neutrality with the ACUPCC
The scale and speed of global warming and its adverse impacts on human health and the environment has prompted a number of U.S. colleges and universities to sign the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) – an agreement to eliminate net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from specified campus operations and promote sustainability research and education. Signatories of the ACUPCC are committed to reduce global GHG emissions 80% by mid-century to avert the worst impacts of global warming and to reestablish stable climatic conditions. In addition to developing a comprehensive inventory of all GHG emissions, signatories are also required to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) outlining strategies and progress towards achieving climate neutrality (read Part I in this series to learn more about developing a GHG inventory).
Developing a Climate Action Plan
Within two years of signing the commitment, the CAP should be completed, in addition to outlining a final target date and interim milestones for achieving climate neutrality. Under the terms of the Commitment, all Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as those specific Scope 3 emissions must be eliminated and/or neutralized:
- Scope 1: Direct Emissions - emissions that are physically produced on campus (e.g. on-campus power production, campus vehicle fleets, refrigerant leaks). These sources are “owned or directly controlled” by your institution.
- Scope 2: Indirect Emissions - emissions associated with purchased utilities required for campus operation. They are indirect emissions resulting from activities that take place within the organizational boundaries of the institution, but that occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.
- Scope 3: Other Indirect Emissions - emissions from sources that are not owned or controlled by the campus, but that are central to campus operations or activities (e.g. non-fleet transportation, employee/student commuting, air travel paid for by your institution).
Many colleges and universities utilize the CAP as a strategic planning tool to drive energy conservation projects and guide in the reduction of GHG emissions. Often the CAP can be successfully incorporated into a more holistic sustainability plan. A comprehensive CAP should:
- Explain how your institution intends to achieve climate neutrality by its target date and outline specific strategies and conservation projects to mitigate emissions. Oftentimes, institutions are better served by hiring an independent energy consultant to streamline the process and facilitate the data collection, energy audits, emission calculations, reporting and project implementation to meet emission reduction targets.
- Describe planned actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and/or other educational experience for all students.
- Describe actions to expand research and community engagement to support efforts toward the achievement of GHG reductions for the institution and/or the community and society.
- Outline mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.
Evaluating energy conservation projects
The CAP should identify the largest sources of global warming pollutants, areas of greatest opportunity for GHG emissions abatement, and incorporate a comprehensive list of potential energy conservation measures for avoiding or reducing GHG emissions from each of the sources included in the GHG inventory. The emissions-reduction and savings potential of various projects should be carefully considered in order to reap maximum emissions reductions and return on investment. An energy consulting firm well-versed in energy, facilities infrastructure, engineering, and data management can help assess the viability and return on investment of each project and serve as owner’s representative to guide implementation. Various criteria should be considered when evaluating mitigation options:
- Potential to avoid or reduce GHG emissions.
- Flexibility as a step towards future emissions-reduction measures.
- Return on investment or financial impact (Life Cycle Analysis and Financial Risk Management analysis may be more appropriate than simple payback and ROI calculations).
- Potential to create positive and/or negative social and environmental side-effects.
- Relationship to other potential measures and opportunities for synergistic measures.
- Potential to be scaled upward if successful.
- Potential to involve students and faculty.
Careful analysis of the emissions reduction and energy conservation measures will enable signatories to envision possible courses of action and establish targets that are in line with the commitment to achieve climate neutrality. Once the measures have been evaluated and prioritized, early actions can be implemented. Oftentimes, energy conservation projects such as lighting retrofits, insulation, and HVAC upgrades can yield significant savings, relatively short pay-back periods and substantial emissions reductions.
Stay tuned for Part III of this series to learn more about financing options and creative energy solutions to meet your sustainability and emissions reduction goals!
About The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is a high-visibility effort undertaken by a network of colleges and universities to address global climate disruption and accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability. Each institution has committed to eliminate net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from specified campus operations and to promote research and education geared towards stabilizing the earth’s climate.
ACUPCC was first created in October 2006 at Arizona State University with 12 college and university presidents as founding members. Today, over 675 universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are signatories under the ACUPCC, representing a student population of over 5.6 million.
The ACUPCC provides a framework and support for America’s colleges and universities to implement comprehensive plans in pursuit of climate neutrality. The commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models within their communities and in providing education to accelerate climate neutrality and reverse global warming. In addition, implementing efficiency measures in educational facilities typically reduces long-term energy expenses, optimizes energy use and provides predictability for energy costs and budgeting.
As signatories of the ACUPCC, institutions have agreed to:
- Complete an emissions inventory.
- Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
- Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions (typically derived from an energy audit).
- Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
- Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.
Understanding your emissions trajectory
As a critical component of the ACUPCC, signatories are required to develop a comprehensive inventory of all GHG emissions within one year after signing the commitment and an updated GHG emission report every other year thereafter. Collecting your unique GHG emissions data can be daunting; however, understanding your emissions trajectory over time will provide a starting point for identifying potential energy conservation measures (ECMs) and developing a comprehensive climate action plan to achieve climate neutrality. Consistent with the GHG Protocol standards, ACUPCC signatories are required to report on three scopes of emissions sources, including Scopes 1 and 2, and two areas of Scope 3.
Scope 1: Direct Emissions
Scope 1 emissions are those that are physically produced on campus (e.g. on-campus power production, campus vehicle fleets, refrigerant leaks). These sources are “owned or directly controlled” by your institution.
Scope 2: Indirect Emissions
Scope 2 emissions are mostly associated with purchased utilities required for campus operation. They are indirect emissions resulting from activities that take place within the organizational boundaries of the institution, but that occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.
Scope 3: Other Indirect Emissions
Scope 3 includes emissions from sources that are not owned or controlled by the campus, but that are central to campus operations or activities (e.g. non-fleet transportation, employee/student commuting, air travel paid for by your institution).
Greenhouse gas emissions inventory process
There are three stages to the GHG emissions inventory process: data collection; GHG emissions calculation; and data analysis for climate action planning. The raw data required for a campus GHG inventory calculation falls generally under the following major categories:
- Purchased electricity, steam and chilled water
- On campus stationary sources (energy generation)
- Transportation (commuting, air travel, campus fleet)
- Agriculture (fertilizer use, animal waste)
- Solid waste (incinerated, landfill)
- Refrigerants and other chemicals
- Offsets (Renewable Energy Credits purchased, composting, forest preservation, local offset project such as paying for boiler conversion at a local K-12 school, etc.)
This data may be acquired from a variety of sources, including: campus metering, energy management and data management systems, the physical plant department, the campus planning office, local utilities, etc. Following data collection, GHG emissions can be calculated from the raw data. Although there are free calculator tools available, institutions are often better served by hiring an independent energy consultant to facilitate and conduct the data collection, energy audits, emission calculations, reporting and resulting data analysis. Following the development of a comprehensive emissions inventory, a Climate Action Plan (CAP) should be developed to include strategies on reducing GHG emissions and achieving climate neutrality.
Stay tuned for Part II of this series to learn more about the ACUPCC and how to develop and implement a climate action plan to meet your emission reduction targets and sustainability goals!
(If you missed the Part II blog post in this series about ESPCs and ESCOs, CLICK HERE!)
Why You Should Hire An Independent ESCO Owner’s Representative
Organizations should consider hiring an independent owner’s representative to manage an Energy Services Company (ESCO) when implementing an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) or an Energy Services Agreement (ESA), particularly when implementing complex, multi-year, energy conservation projects. Acting as owner’s representative, an independent energy consulting firm will objectively evaluate the ESCO’s Investment Grade Audit (IGA), validate the projected energy savings and costs, and oversee the implementation and ongoing Measurement and Verification (M&V) of the proposed energy conservation measures (ECMs).
Because the IGA serves as a blueprint for the project, any errors or miscalculations within this document can significantly impact the project’s financial and economic viability. In addition, an independent energy consulting firm will be able to guide the process and act on the owner’s behalf, particularly for projects complicated or broad in scope. Hiring an owner’s representative has proven to be particularly advantageous for the one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, in supporting its multi-year, city-wide energy management initiative to implement several energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
(Learn more about ESCOs, ESPCs, ESAs, and IGAs within Part I and Part II of this blog series!)
One of the Largest Cities in Massachusetts Launches a City-Wide Energy Management Initiative
Nestled within a harbor along the south coast region of Massachusetts, one of the largest cities in the Commonwealth sought a cost effective and efficient strategy to reduce their attributable carbon footprint, operating costs, and energy costs associated with city-owned facilities and infrastructure. By leveraging SourceOne as owner’s representative, the city selected an ESCO firm and is negotiating a performance-based, multi-year Energy Management Services Project (EMSP), incorporating guaranteed energy savings, energy efficiency and cost savings projects at 40+ sites.
During the next phase of the project, SourceOne will continue to represent the city, including reviewing the ESCO’s Investment Grade Audits for the selected facilities, overseeing implementation of ECMs, verifying commissioning of newly installed equipment, and ensuring the accuracy of M&V analysis post-implementation. Specific projects include fuel conversion from oil to natural gas at several buildings, streetlight upgrades to LED technology and other renewable energy technologies. The efficiency projects, when completed, will improve the City’s habitability, infrastructure, and reduce operating and maintenance costs.
Maximize ROI for Capital Projects with an ESCO Owner’s Representative
Businesses, organizations, and municipalities should engage an independent ESCO owner’s representative to advance multiple energy conservation and capital improvement projects. An energy management expert will confirm and validate the baseline energy use, economic analysis, proposed project scope and costs, and guaranteed savings for the project, in addition to facilitating implementation and verification of ongoing M&V. Engaging an independent energy consulting firm, skilled in energy master planning, engineering, and ESCO procurement, enables streamlined and cost-effective implementation for complex, multi-year energy conservation projects, while ensuring that energy efficiency, water conservation, and emissions reduction goals are met.
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About the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard
On September 17, 2013, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a new report titled 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. ACEEE’s new report ranks America’s 34 largest cities on their efforts to save energy and costs in five key areas. These categories cover local government operations, community-wide initiatives, buildings policies, energy and water utilities, and public benefits programs and transportation policies.
Boston Scores High In Five Key Areas
With its Renew Boston initiative, strict building energy codes, new energy benchmarking ordinance, transportation and other community-wide programs, it is no surprise that Boston was ranked the most energy-efficient US city, scoring 76.75 points out of a possible 100. Portland, Oregon, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin came in just behind Boston.
Here is a look at Boston’s scores in five key areas:
- Local Government Operations: 11/15
- Community-wide Initiatives: 9.5/10
- Buildings Policies: 21.5/29
- Energy and Water Utilities and Public Benefits Programs: 15.75/18
- Transportation Policies: 19/28
Energy Audits Quantify Energy Use and Drive Efficiencies
Energy efficiency encompasses a wide range of cost-saving energy conservation and planning initiatives to minimize energy usage, maximize savings and reduce carbon footprint. In order to address inefficiencies, energy usage must first be quantified. This is often accomplished via an energy audit by a trained engineer. The objective of an energy audit is first to quantify and analyze usage and then to identify applicable Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to increase energy efficiency and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Energy audits typically adhere to the parameters established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits and, depending on the level, encompass varying degrees of detail (historical energy data, existing conditions assessment, projected energy savings, project cost estimate, payback period, etc.).
Energy Conservation Measures – The Path to Savings and Sustainability
Energy Conservation Measures can incorporate a wide range of infrastructure and operational improvements, including; recommendations for building envelope (replacing windows, installing insulation, controlling air leakage, etc.), heating and cooling and improvements (building automation controls, heat pumps, installing thermostats, etc.), lighting improvements, implementing efficient and/or renewable energy technologies (solar power, wind power, geothermal, etc.), and adjusting building operations.
As a national energy management consulting firm, SourceOne has helped several public agencies and private companies on a wide range of energy efficiency initiatives to achieve significant economic and environmental benefits. Relevant examples include the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), the City of New Bedford, and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), to name a few. The MWRA, for example, has benefitted greatly from the implementation of a 1.2 MW Back-Pressure Steam Turbine Generator at its Boston Harbor Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant. As the Owner’s Representative, SourceOne managed the project from conceptual design to construction. Since completion of the upgrades in 2011, the plant is offsetting approximately $550,000 in annual energy costs and avoids the release of 3,591 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions.
Energy Efficiency Supports Local Economic and Community Development
The clean energy industry continues to thrive in Boston and Massachusetts, benefiting the environment, economy and local communities. The executive summary of the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard report highlights the underutilized value of energy efficiency in improving and addressing a myriad of economic, environmental, infrastructure, and health concerns:
“Energy efficiency may be the cheapest, most abundant, and most underutilized resource for local economic and community development. Considerable evidence documents that investments in energy efficiency can improve community self-reliance and resilience, save money for households, businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments; create local jobs; extend the life of and reduce the costs and risks of critical infrastructure investments; catalyze local economic reinvestment; improve the livability and local asset value of the built environment; and protect human health and the natural environment through reducing emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases.”
After reading the opening statement of the report you begin to ask yourself “Why wouldn’t cities want to invest in energy efficiency?” Saving money, creating jobs, and improving community self-reliance are powerful incentives driving energy efficiency.
What’s Next for Energy Efficiency?
While many improvements have been made in recent years by cities and towns, energy efficiency is still an underutilized resource. Every town and city in the US should leverage and implement energy reduction opportunities to both achieve energy savings and meet environmental goals. The 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard serves as an important tool highlighting best practices and encouraging and inspiring cities to become more energy efficient.
Absent the possibility of another extreme heat wave in August, it looks as though the electrical systems in New England, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic (PJM) reached their annual peak demands during the week of July 14 – July 19. An unrelenting heat wave, with temperatures at times exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, contributed to pushing up demand further and further as the week progressed. Because many Regional Transmission Organization’ s (RTO) allocate capacity and other demand-based charges to customers based on their metered consumption during instantaneous peak demand periods, SourceOne notified its customers of possible peak-day events at various points throughout the week. Depending on the operating rules of the local utility and RTO, capacity and other demand-based charges often range from 10%-30% of a customer’s total electricity cost. Curtailment of usage during peak demand periods can help lower a customer’s capacity obligation in the following year, ultimately decreasing that customer’s electricity cost for the entire year. Customers can lower their capacity obligation by implementing demand side management strategies and other traditional energy conservation measures such as replacing inefficient lighting and motors, to more dynamic methods such as load curtailment, load shifting or plant shutdown.
New England ISO
According to data published New England ISO, the regional grid operator, a peak of 27,377 MW was established on Friday July 19th between the hours of 4PM and 5PM, a day in which real-time locational marginal prices exceeded $400/MWh during 7 hours. The all-time New England system peak of 28,130 MW occurred on August 2nd between the hours of 2PM and 3PM.
Mid-Atlantic (PJM Interconnect)
PJM assigns capacity costs based on the average of the top five system peak days. At least a few of these days are likely to be pulled from the 3rd week of July. The PJM peak of 158,156 MW occurred between the hours of 4PM and 5PM on Thursday July 18th. While this is technically an all-time high for PJM, the territory has also grown in years so comparisons against historical data should be taken with a grain of salt.
New York Independent System Operator (NYISO)
The New York Independent System Operator reached a peak of 33,956 MW between the hours of 5PM and 6PM on Friday July 19, narrowly setting a new record for the region. The previous record peak of 33,939 MW was set on August 2, 2006.
MADISON — The local energy committee is aiming to shed some light on regional energy savings.
Madison’s energy committee told the Board of Selectmen recently that it is applying for a grant that could result in saving thousands of dollars per year in Madison and the five other towns involved in a regional energy savings effort by converting some town light fixtures to LED lighting.
The committee is in the process of applying for a $160,000 grant, funds that are remaining from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act. The grant would not be used for street lights, but other municipal light fixtures at town facilities and schools.
If the grant is approved, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Westbrook, Killingworth and Durham would save money because the continuous energy costs would be less, the bulbs have a much longer lifespan and pressure-based sensors could be installed to save energy further by allowing the lights to turn off when no one is on the property.
“These would be on instant-on so they could be used with a sensor system like the one that exists at (Madison’s) high school, where the sensors are under the pavement,” said local energy committee Chairman Woodie Weiss. He added that the pressure system isn’t currently used because it isn’t compatible with the fixtures.
Before the grant even became available, the idea to change town lighting regionally was discussed among the six towns after SourceOne, a Boston-based energy consulting firm working with the towns, suggested it as a cost-saving measure.
The LED project is just one of more than 100 energy conservation measures that SourceOne has identified over the past year and a half. If all of the measures were implemented, more than 10 percent of the six towns’ total energy consumption cost could be saved per year — more than the initial goal of 5 percent savings.
“The (LED project) savings are huge,” said Weiss. “Frankly, this is a project we would have considered without a grant.”
The project would save all six towns about $100,000 annually, with Madison netting about $22,000 in savings.
The grant would be distributed among the towns proportionately to the amount of town lighting they have, according to energy committee member Bill Gladstone.
He added that there would be some cost to the town because the intent is to apply for funds for fixtures, not installation, but Facilities Director Bill McMinn told him the installation costs wouldn’t burden his budget.
“I think it’s a great idea anytime we can use LEDs,” said First Selectman Fillmore McPherson after Monday’s meeting. “They are probably the way to the future in lighting, and this is a way for us to be on the forefront.”
Gladstone said there is no timeline for the project, but if they receive the grant, the money has to be spent by June 30.
“We may start the process even before we are sure we are getting the grant because if we don’t start, we won’t be finished on time,” he said. “Also, if we get the grant, it will be a demonstration and model of another regional effort that might prompt us to pursue other regional opportunities as they come up.”
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Click here to read this article on the New Haven Register website.
Read more about the Connecticut Regional Energy Commission:
The Town of Hempstead in New York received over $4.5M in federal funding for energy projects under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. SourceOne has been working with the Town as project manager and grant administrator for over 2 years. The Town is implementing a variety of energy projects that include wind, solar, ground-source heat pump systems, building energy efficiency, vehicle fleet improvements, an Energy and Greenhouse Gas database, and public outreach efforts.
During the week of December 5th, the Town’s contractor completed major construction and vertical assembly of its 100 kW Northern Power 100 wind turbine at the Town’s Hydrogen station where pressurized Hydrogen is produced and stored for use in a fleet of fuel cell vehicles maintained by the Town. Construction began in earnest in early November with the installation of the turbine foundation, which consisted of a 16 ft mono-pile of reinforced concrete mounted below ground in a corrugated metal pipe. After the main concrete pour and successful break tests after a 28-day curing period, the wind turbine was delivered to the site in sections and despite some inclement weather, the unit was assembled over the course of three days. When the project is commissioned and interconnected, the wind turbine will provide more than 100% of the power necessary to run the Town’s Hydrogen fueling station and even sell some power back to the grid, resulting in an operating vehicle fleet powered by the wind.
The Town is looking forward to finishing construction on its next round of infrastructure projects, including solar carports and a Ground-Source Heat Pump system for the Department of Conservation and Waterways headquarters.
Working with SourceOne, recommended improvements and Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) for NYPA customers, when implemented, are estimated to yield over $3M in annual energy bill savings.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) sought to obtain Independent Contractor (IC) services to implement energy efficiency projects at the facilities of NYPA electricity customers in New York City and Westchester County. NYPA is the largest state-public power organization in the United States, operating 17 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.
This initiative supported NYPA's energy efficiency work to help achieve New York State’s ambitious "45 by 15" initiative to both reduce electricity use by 15 percent below 2015 forecasts, and increase the proportion of renewable generation to 30 percent of electricity demand by that year.
Under a multi-year contract, SourceOne has conducted energy audits for NYPA customers that ranged from large public institutions to small facilities, including Grand Central Terminal, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Public Library, The Bronx Zoo and 17 others.
Through these audits, SourceOne has provided recommendations and has been responsible for the designing of energy-efficiency projects, putting them out to bid, and reviewing and selecting bidders. This has been done in collaboration with the Power Authority and the NYPA customers whose facilities are benefiting from the energy audits.
Recommended improvements have included, steam system repairs, chiller replacements, air handler commissioning, lighting upgrades, energy management and metering improvements and other ECMs that, when implemented, are estimated to yield over $3M in annual energy bill savings.
A leader in promoting energy efficiency, developing alternative energy sources and advancing clean transportation initiatives, NYPA's award-winning energy efficiency programs have contributed to helping make New York State a leader in energy savings. NYPA has undertaken energy efficiency and clean energy projects at more than 3,900 public facilities Statewide, saving New York taxpayers over $134 million a year and avoiding nearly 820,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually, which translates into the equivalent of avoiding the use of more than 2.5 million barrels of oil a year.
SourceOne, Owners Representative for the Town of Hempstead's federal energy grant projects, oversaw the implementation of two solar trackers for the Town, which has the largest township in the USA. The trackers continually adjust themselves and pivot throughout the day to directly face the sun in order to maximize the energy derived from the closest star to our earth. This latest renewable energy initiative is now in full operation at the town's green energy park located in Point Lookout. The unique looking panels, which rest atop steel stanchions, increase energy output by up to 50% over conventional stationary photovoltaic panels. Additionally, the panels stand among a host of other green energy projects such as geothermal technology, wind power and hydrogen fuel generation equipment at the town's alternate energy park.
SourceOne attended the unveiling ceremony last month. Also present were Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, representatives from LIPA, National Grid, the Point Lookout Civic Association, the Lido Beach Civic Association, New York Institute of Technology, the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, a clean waterways group named SPLASH and the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
WATCH THE VIDEO: Town of Hempstead sun-power unveiling ceremony
Shore-Side Power Pedestals A Better Way to Power Docked Vessels?
Massachusetts’ New Bedford Harbor Development Commission is installing shore-side power pedestal connections from SourceOne, a subsidiary of Veolia Energy
North America. Harbor visitors currently run on-board diesel generators to power their refrigeration units and other electrical equipment when docked, an age-old approach that is dirty and expensive. By investing in the shore power stations, New Bedford is providing a solution that is cheaper for the vessel owners and better for the environment. According to SourceOne, the project will pay for itself through the revenues generated by the power stations and reduce diesel fuel usage by approximately 310,000 gallons annually, equating to approximately 3,000 metric tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions. If those savings projections are accurate, this could be an intriguing concept for port and harbor facilities across the United States. IP went to Jules Nohra, SourceOne Project Engineer, for the complete picture. Read the full interview