Jan 012011
 
Effective Concepts LLC. is a small company out of Fargo, ND. We specialize in selling lamps, ballasts, and energy services to customers in the Fargo-Moorhead area. We sell wholesale, meaning an on-going relationship with commercial customers that are willing to trade a little lead time for better pricing. We are authorized distributors of  Sylvania, Havells, and TCP lamps and ballasts.

I have over twenty-five years of wholesale experience and a Marketing degree from Moorhead State University. I have over 35 years experience with computers, everything from programing, database design, spreadsheet modeling, to graphic design. I am also the webmaster for a number of web sites. I help out small company sites but have also done some large e-commerce sites and one page sites for nonprofit organizations. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to have a nice website or blog. – Craig Maas

 Welcome  January 1, 2011
 

I ran across the Department of Energy report on Lighting. It just came out and it is a survey or a census of Lighting in 2010.  The report is called 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization and it can be found on the DoE’s Solid State Lighting Technical Reports page. It’s a long report but it is full of charts and graphs. It gives you a good looking at what is lighting this country. There are still a lot of inefficient lamps in the field- mostly incandescent lamps in residential homes. Business and Industry has done a good job of upgrading their lighting.
Continue reading »

 

Minnesota Xcel Electric customers- now is the time!

Those of you who still have T12 lamps in your offices and warehouse be aware that Xcel Energy is offering bonus rebates on top of their already generous rebates to change these older fluorescent lamps to newer T8 lamps with Electronic ballast. (T12 refers to the diameter of the tube in 1/8″ increments. A T12 is 1-1/2″ in diameter, whereas a T8 is 1 inch in diameter. But the real cost and energy savings come from the efficient electric ballast that drive T8 lamps. )

2009 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulations require T12 fluorescent lighting be phased out in 2012 and will no longer be available. To help it’s Xcel MN customers with this change, Xcel is offering bonus rebates through 2012 for T12 to T8 retrofits, T12 to T8 optimization projects and T12 to T5 lighting systems.

Now through March 31, 2012, all Xcel Energy is offering 50% bonus rebates to their Minnesota business electricity customers. These T12 conversion projects must be completed and invoiced on or before March 31, 2012. T12 upgrades completed and invoiced between April 1 and December 31, 2012, will be eligible for up to a 30% bonus rebate.

Note: Rebates for T12 upgrades will not be available after December 31, 2012.
After 2012 there will be no more T12 fixtures sold and as of last year there are no more magnetic ballasts sold. T8s and electric ballast are proven technologies, so there is no reason to keep playing your utility company for more electricity than you need.

Rebates range from…

  • $18.00 – $28.00 per fixture standard program
  • $27.00 – $42.00 per fixture with the 50% bonus (ends March 31st)
  • $23.40 – $36.40 per fixture with the 30% bonus (ends December 31st)

Note: All rebate amounts are per retrofitted fixture. Rebates cannot exceed 75% of project cost. Applications must be turned in within 12 months of invoice date or no later than May 1, 2013.

Details can be found on the Xcel website although it takes some hunting to find the rebate forms.

 

In the current issue of Electrical Wholesaling, Jim Lucy, the chief Editor, comments on a side-by-side comparison of Fluorescent and LEDs he saw at Lowes. I’m not surprised. LEDs often have an odd color cast. LEDs are now as efficient as Fluorescents but they are still more money. LEDs do have their uses. Often they are ideal in low wattage situations like decorative lighting. I’m sure they will get better and cheap as time goes on.

But what really galled me is that the LED on display was emitting a ghoulish blue-white light that could only appeal to someone trying to duplicate the lighting in a 1950s-era Soviet interrogation room. By any measure, this display did much more harm than good to the admirable cause of LED lighting, particularly in a setting where homeowners and other potential retail customers are probably getting their first look at LEDs.

 

Recently I fielded a call from an equipment engineer in Minneapolis regarding a HVAC modeling project. He asked about my experience working with ‘Typical Meteorological Year” (TMY) data sets. I’ve modeled a number of Heating, Cooling and Ventilation jobs were I needed the fine detail that TMY data sets provide. I told him the problem I had was using a spreadsheet. I found 8760 lines made for some unwieldy spreadsheets. Instead I put the TMY data in a database and worked my models using a hybrid of database calculations and spreadsheet calculations. He asked where to get the data. It can be found from a number of different sources online. I have been using TMY2 and now TMY3 data sets* from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), other sources include…

  • TRY – ASHRAE’s Test Reference Year
  • WYEC – Weather Year for Energy Calculations
  • IWEC – International Weather for Energy Calculations
  • NCDC – National Climatic Data Center
  • TMY – Typical Meteorological Year

According to D.B. Crawley’s paper, “Which weather data should you use for energy simulations of commercial buildings?“, either WYEC nor TMY will work fine. These data sets are pretty good, however you need to keep in mind- they fail at the temperature extremes. The data sets are designed to weed out extreme tempertures in order to create smoother data sets. This can be problematic if you’re also using the simulation to size your equipment. Having said that, these TMY based models will be far more accurately modelling energy usage than using bin hours. They are also better when running what-if scenarios. In order to truly model a building for energy use, particularly where humidity control comes into play it is essential to model the energy use for each hour in a typical year- all 8760 data points.

Detailed hour-by-hour modeling using hourly weather data sets has become commonplace in the evaluation of design alternatives and the design of HVAC systems for larger buildings. For residential and small commercial buildings, calculating design loads based on high and low design temperature is still common practice. The economic issue is when the added cost of the more involved hour-by-hour modeling exercise can be expected to be justified by helping to guide the selection of equipment that provides significantly better part-load performance, resulting in tangible benefits of lower total annual energy cost and better comfort control in the building.-December 2010 ASHRAE Journal.

Other uses of TMY data sets are to adjust set-points based on outdoor temperature to control early morning pre-cooling. Both to take advantage of Lower temperatures and reduced peak demand rates. Building mass can also be used for energy storage. Off-peak heating and night cooling can be based on TMY modeling; shifting HVAC demands to off-peak hours and lower energy rates.

Some of this predictive control is finding its way down to the residential market with smart thermostats. I predict we’ll be seeing more of these smart thermostats… “A trial in 2000 households by Oncor Utilities in Texas resulted in heating and air-conditioning power cuts of 20% to 30% and annual savings up to $400. It also achieved complete AC turnoff at peak hours due to pre-cooling. These examples indicate that approximately 10% of energy to condition buildings can be potentially be saved by the use of control algorithms using forecaster weather conditions.”

*Note: The TMY3s are data sets of hourly values of solar radiation and meteorological elements for a 1-year period. Their intended use is for computer simulations of solar energy conversion systems and building systems to facilitate performance comparisons of different system types, configurations, and locations in the United States and its territories. Because they represent typical rather than extreme conditions, they are not suited for designing systems to meet the worst-case conditions occurring at a location. -NREL

 

Missouri River Energy Services (Moorhead Public Services) has five helpful hints to cut your energy costs in the summer months. I have a couple comments…

#3. Adjust cooling equipment to occupancy schedules.
In the upper midwest this provides larger energy percentage savings due to the narrow spread between the summer design temperature and the indoor temperature.
Unlike the winter where the spread would be 5% in the summer the spread is closer to 25%.*
In the evening this spread narrows more until your cooling equipment doesn’t run at all.
Note: If you are on a Time-of-Day rate, be sure to program your equipment to come back on early enough to take advantage of the lower energy rates.

#4. Upgrade lighting systems.
“Efficient lighting technologies also give off less heat, which reduces the need for air-conditioning.”
This savings is rarely calculated, but it is real and substantial. For commercial buildings. even in our cool climate, we often find cooling equipment running six months or more during the year. By cutting the internal load of your building, not only does your equipment run less, but you can also resize the equipment when it is time to replace it, creating even more savings in upfront equipment costs and maintenance.

* Calculations
(5 degree setback / (70 degree indoor temperature – (-30 Degrees) winter design temperature)) = 5/100 = 5%
(5 degree setback / (90 degree Summer design temperature – 70 degree indoor temperature)) = 5/20 = 25%

 

Bright Energy Solutions (Moorhead Public Service/Missouri River Energy Services) is offering an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate cost savings and payback potential of lighting retrofits. It can be found under the Lighting New Construction and Lighting Retrofit section of their Energy Calculators For Your Home or Business webpage.

Continue reading »

 

Bright Energy Solutions (Missouri River Energy Services/Moorhead Public Service) has added custom incentives for qualified indoor LED lighting installed in commercial and industrial facilities. “In order to be considered for a custom incentive, all LED products must be either Energy Star® qualified or approved by the Design Lights (TM) Consortium. Check out the latest Design Lights Qualified Products List and Energy Star Products. If you are considering the use of indoor LED lighting in commercial and industrial facilities please contact your local utility prior to the ordering of materials. Preapproval is required for all items to be considered in the Custom Incentive Program.”

In addition to these custom rebates Bright Energy offers specific incentives for Exit lights, reach in refrigerated case lighting, Energy Star qualified recessed downlights, and Energy Star qualified recessed downlight retrofit kits. These specific incentives are listed the Lighting Retrofit and Lighting New Construction application forms.

 

According to Brian Hammarsten of Xcel Energy, “Last year (2010) customers took advantage of more than $20 million that we budgeted for rebates and incentives for energy efficiency measures.”

Xcel is  lowering their rebate on Parking Garage Light fixtures from $125 to $85. This is due to price drops in the wholesale cost of these fixtures…

In 2010 we increased customer rebate levels on most of the products covered by our Lighting Efficiency program. These rebates help our customers offset the higher cost of more efficient equipment by funding a reasonable portion of each project, not to exceed 60 percent of project cost.

However, economic conditions changed considerably later in the year and the cost of the equipment – particularly parking garage lighting – was not as high as originally anticipated. And while reduced cost is good news for customers, it also means we must follow suit when setting our rebate structure.

 

Bright Energy Solutions has updated their rebate program for the 2011 calendar year. “All application forms have been revised and will be available at www.brightenergysolutions.com on January 2, 2011.” This applies to customers of Moorhead Public Service along with customers of Missouri River Energy Services and their utility partners. From their press release…

Summary of 2011 Changes…

New Construction Lighting Program for Businesses

  • T8 fixtures with CEE qualified 28 watt lamps and ballasts have been added with incentives up to $9 for a 4 lamp fixture
  • T8 high bay fixtures, T5 high bay fixtures, and CEE Qualified High Performance T8 Systems have decreased incentives
  • Energy Star LED recessed downlights have been added at $25
  • Energy Star LED recessed downlights have been added at $25

Residential HVAC and Energy Star Appliances

  • Programmable thermostats have been added at $25 each
  • Energy Star refrigerators have been added when an old working refrigerator is removed for recycling during installation of the new refrigerator

Food Service

  • Energy Star commercial dishwashers have been added
  • Kitchen hood and make up air unit controls have been added
  • Energy Star convection oven incentives have decreased
  • Refrigeration (See Specialty Measures Applicaton Form)
  • ECM evaporator fan motors in walk-in coolers and freezers have been added
  • LED lighting in refrigerated cases has been changed to include both new and retrofitted cases

Compressed Air Systems

  • Variable frequency drive air compressors have been added to the Motors/Pumps/VFD Program
  • Air leak detection surveys and compressed air system energy efficiency audits have been added as new programs
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