Apr 242010

Xcel is offering Energy Audits for their Minnesota business customers…

Online Energy Assessment
Xcel’s online analysis tool recognizes that every business uses energy differently. You can tailor your analysis according to industry, location, energy use history and building specifics.

On-Site Energy Audit
This service is a detailed on-site energy audit performed by an energy engineer assigned by Xcel Energy. It includes cost and savings estimates, energy-saving solutions and potential Xcel Energy rebates and paybacks.

Energy Advisory ServicesNew for 2010
Our new Energy Advisory Services program will subsidize a portion of the service provided by an Energy Adviser to assist in implementation of the projects recommended by the on-site assessment. Services included in the Energy Advisory Service. The cost is minimal – only $50 for the initial Energy Adviser consultation and an additional $35 for each energy conservation opportunity that is selected.

Call your account manager or contact Xcel’s Business Solutions Center at 1-800-481-4700 for help deciding which option works best for you. For more information visit xcelenergy.com/EnergyAnalysis.*

*Update:  Xcelenergy.com web pages change all the time. Some links in the post have moved.

Feb 032010

As of January 1, 2010 Xcel Energy has significantly increased their lighting rebates in Minnesota. Now is the time to look at updating your lighting in your business.

Rebate levels increased an average of 60% or more. This will helps reduce out–of–pocket costs, shortens payback times and lowers your overall energy costs.

This is offset by stricter rebate requirements as Codes and efficiency standards continue to increase. All T8 4-foot fixtures (including high bays and parking garages) must have a high–efficiency ballast. Xcel utilizes the CEE specifications for these ballasts which are listed on the rebate form; a list of qualifying high–efficiency ballasts is also available online. Additionally, the reflector rebate has been replaced with a Lighting Optimization rebate. The rebate calculation for compact fluorescents (CFLs) is now based on the total fixture wattage, not the individual lamp wattage.

Effective dates: Invoices must be dated 1/1/2010 or after to qualify for 2010 rebate levels. Use the new 2010 rebate applications which are posted on the Lighting program page.

Update: the Xcel program has changed again- check here for more rebate details.

Jan 302010

Xcel has announce an online Rebate calculator.

If you’re wondering what kind of rebates your business might qualify for, Xcel has a new tool that will calculate the rebate for each type of new cooling equipment. Enter the equipment details, and get an accurate rebate figure you can expect to receive from Xcel Energy.

You can access the calculator directly by clicking here or by visiting our Trade Partner site.

Update: the calculator isn’t there any more but you can check here for more rebate details.

 Posted by at 9:41 pm
Sep 302009

We have been getting some interest in LED Lighting recently. LED is a new technology that is finding its way into more lighting products. LED lighting has many good features, but for now efficiency is not one of them. For example TCP has just released a LED lamp. This TCP bulb is one of the best LED I’ve seen, but it only puts out 35 Lumens per Watt. Whereas a Compact Fluorescent will put out 55 lpw, a Standard T8 lamp will pump out 75 lpw, and a high performance T8 lamp almost 100 Lumens per Watt!

LEDs do have many advantages.

  1. Although 35 lpw is not much compared to a fluorescent it is an improvement over incandescent bulbs. A 2.6 watt LED replaces a 15 watt incandescent.
  2. The LED bulb last a long time (25,000 hours) so it is a good application where maintenance is difficult like a chandelier
  3. The LEDs are directional, this makes for a good spot lighting, but a poor area lighting.
  4. The LED is vibration resistant. They work well in ceiling fans. Our TCP brand LED lamps are outdoor rated and work well in cold locations.
  5. The TCP LEDs are dimmable and look pretty good with a CRI of 80. They look much better than some LEDs, which have weird color casts.

If you’re interested in what technologies are currently hot check out “Lighting’s Workhorses” by Jim Benya in Architectural Lighting. Pay special attention to the graph. It shows which lamp technologies are efficient and which are not. Effective Concepts has a good selection of all the lighting listed in the article: Tungsten, Halogen, Metal Halide, Ceramic Metal Halide, Fluorescent (Cold Cathode, PLs, Biax, Induction, T8, T5s, etc), and even LED lamps.

Aug 042009

The House of Representatives voted on the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009. I haven’t read the bill, and I doubt our congressmen have either, but it the idea that you can just pass a bill and magically our county’s energy problems are solved is very naive. Furthermore the efficiency targets of the bill are unrealistic even if they are a good idea. What really makes me mad is- efficiency is its own reward. If these ASHRAE 90.1 reductions were so easy to obtain everyone would be doing it for the cost savings. The fact that few are speaks volumes. The few that are, are using government sponsored utility rebates or mandated government regulations. It is never a good idea for the government to interfere with the market, especially when the outcome is so questionable. I am happy to see I’m not the only one who things so. In the August edition of Engineered Systems Magazine (page 8), they polled readers on the bill and the outcome wasn’t good. These are professionals who love energy efficient solutions, so you better believe they have more insight than congressmen who voted on this bill, or the green lobbyists who probably wrote.

Continue reading »

Jul 172009

Xcel Energy is continually updating their energy rebate programs. If your project saves energy, particularly if it cuts your electric demand, Xcel is bound to have a rebate program for you. This assumes you’re in Minnesota, New Mexico, or Colorado. If you’re in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Texas you’re out of luck. (We have offsetting lower rates and lower taxes.)


  1. Parking garage lighting retrofits
    Effective July 1, 2009, Minnesota Xcel Energy business customers converting from 150W or 175W high intensity discharge (HID) lighting to two- or three-lamp T8s or T5H0s are now eligible for a rebate of $50 per fixture. Xcel has simplified the process with new rebate forms. See the Parking Garage Lighting Application for requirements and rebate incentive information.
  2. Lighting Redesign Studies
    A complete building-wide lighting system analysis of can show you the best approach to improve lighting design or to reduce existing light output while maintaining proper lighting levels for your needs. Xcel has increased lighting redesign study incentive to 75% of the cost of the study, not to exceed $25,000, and more than doubled many of our equipment rebates.
  3. More Lighting Rebates
    Every step to lower lighting use, from installing energy-efficient lighting to adding controls or offering in-depth photometric analysis can significantly lower your customers’ energy bills and earn substantial rebates.
    A) $400 per kW saved for preapproved projects when they add their lighting system to a building control system or add microprocessor controls to lighting systems.
    B) Custom Efficiency program now offers a method of analyzing lighting projects that yield greater rebate potential for your customers.
  4. Boiler Rebates
    New boilers, efficiency-boosting add-ons and tune-ups for boilers used for space heating and/or domestic water heating now can go through our Boiler Efficiency rebate program without preapproval. Xcel offers rebates for projects that improve the efficiency of existing equipment such as boiler tune-ups, steam trap repair/replacement and boiler add-ons.

Updated Minnesota Energy Code

The long-awaited Minnesota Energy Code for Commercial Buildings will take effect on June 1, 2009. The code itself adopts the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Energy Standard with minor modifications.

The new code will have an impact on Energy Design Assistance, Cooling Efficiency and Variable Frequency Drives. Because the adoption of a new, higher energy code will result in increased minimum efficiencies.

For more information about the commercial energy code, please visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry construction codes and standards energy Web site.

Jun 192009

ASHRAE and its partnering organizations have made the Advanced Energy Design Guides available as free PDFs. The guides encourage energy efficient design in a range of building types: K-12 schools, small office and retail buildings, small warehouses and self-storage buildings and highway lodging.
They are available at www.ashrae.org/freeaedg.
The guides help to educate the marketplace on how to build energy efficient buildings that use significantly less energy than those built to the minimum code requirements.

Continue reading »

Jun 182009

image Next to Lighting, Motors are the second best area for saving money in your facility. Did you know that electrical costs account for approximately 95% of your motor’s lifetime costs? Drives and speed controls provide further savings when motors are run for long hours with light loads. This all adds up to big savings when it comes time to look energy improvements.

Continue reading »

Jun 022009

Ray and I attended the introduction of Moorhead Public Service’s energy efficiency incentive program. The program is called Bright Energy Solutions: “a unique portfolio of energy efficient cash incentive programs that will help you reduce your electric energy costs and operate more efficiently.”

The program is run through participating member utilities of the Missouri River Energy Services of which MPS is a member. Missouri River is a collection of municipal utilities operating in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. If you are a customer of one of these utilities this program is for you.

The meeting was well attended by the three partners of Bright Energy Solutions: Moorhead Public Service (MPS), Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), and Franklin Energy (Program administion.)

Ray, Chuck, and I arrived early to meet with the MPS staff. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served. Bill Schwandt, General Manager of Moorhead Public Service welcomed the guests and introduced his staff and those of MRES and Franklin.

Kurt Hauser, is Missouri River’s Energy Services Technical Coordinator. Kurt explained the constraints Missouri River Energy Service operates under. The Bright Energy Solutions program will help them satisfy Minnesota’s legal requirements and delay building new generating plants.

After the presentation, Ray and I had a one on one meeting with Kurt Hauser about the program, help we might need, and services we could provide including facility auditing. For a new program it is pretty complete. Looking at the application forms, the program should be as easy to deal with as Xcel Energy’s programs.

All three organizations reiterated they would be happy to help in anyway they can. Dennis Esienbraun (MPS, Energy Services Manager) asked to be contacted early in any project particularly if the project involved any custom incentives.

The plan is broke down into these sections…

Bright Energy Solutions Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

  • Lighting Retrofit Incentive
  • Lighting New Construction Incentive
  • Motors, Pumps, VFD Incentive
  • Cooling, Chiller Incentive
  • Food Service Incentive
  • Custom Incentive
  • Specialty Measure Incentive
  • HVAC Incentive for Residential Customers

The program offers a nice cash rebate to replace T12 Fluorescents with T8 or T5 lamps and electronic ballasts.
There is a larger rebate if you install new super efficient electronic ballasts such as the Sylvania PROStart. There is also a cash rebate for using 28 Watt T8 lamps if you already have 32 watt T8 lamps. The rebate pays for the cost difference so I highly recommend contacting us about these lamps.
There is large rebate for replacing high bay HID fixtures. This is an easy retrofit; with the rebate it pays for itself quickly.
There are also cash rebates for Compact Fluorescents, Ceramic Metal Halide Floods, LED lamps, Induction Fluorescent Lamps, and Lighting Control systems. These are all technologies we can help you will.

(Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) They quickly covered these cash incentives.
The Cooling, Chiller incentive covers: package systems, split systems, PTEC units, Heat pumps, Ground Source Heat Pumps (with an optional incentive for Desuperheaters), Window AC, Wall AC, Setback Thermostats, Chilled Water Resets, and Window Film. Obviously there are stringent requirements for these incentives but if you’re replacing equipment or adding new equipment these incentives can help pay for better equipment.
There are incentives for Motors, Pumps and VFDs. In our experience these three items usually have very good paybacks and the incentives are just icing on the cake.

Food Services
Bright Energy Solutions offer cash incentives for Energy Star rated: Solid Door Refrigerators, Solid Door Freezers, Ice Machines, Steam Cooker, Holding Cabinets, Fryers, Griddles and Ovens. So if you have a commercial kitchen and are thinking of upgrading or adding commercial electric equipment these incentives can be a big help.

Many of the incentives listed above are also available for residential customers of MPS and MRES. This includes: Furnaces, Central Air Conditioners, Ground Source Heat Pumps, Air to Air Heat Pumps, and Compact Fluorescent Lamps.

Custom Incentive
Almost anything not listed above that cuts your electric demand in the summer months can be file under the Custom Incentive. Contact MPS or ourselves for assistance in calculating the potential incentive.


Effective Concepts has all the forms and expertise to help you maximize your energy savings, cost savings, and incentive, so if you’re a customer of Moorhead Public Service or another municipality that is a partner of Missouri River Energy Services we can help you.

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/public/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4609