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commissioning Archives - Michaels Energy

Commissioning and the Symphonic Cat

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Last week I discussed the need to simplify energy codes to disallow the variable air volume systems that (1) 95% of design and construction professionals don’t understand from an energy perspective, or (2) require constant babysitting by the other 5%.  This week the topic is commissioning; another critical function to achieve real energy performance. Commissioning has become the rage for energy codes, and before long, it will be required along with all the other things that are required and not achieved. Quickly, to douse the risk of losing readers, commissioning is an oversight role that should be fulfilled by an...
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Retro-Commissioning v Commissioning; Similar Purposes, Vastly Different Approaches

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Last week, I was reviewing a scope of work for retro-commissioning, also cleverly known as RCx – and it moved me to pulling hair out by the fistful.  “That’s it”, I thought.  “I’m going to relieve my rage on next week’s Energy Rant.” [vc_single_image image="9841" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] First, there is the infamous flow/process chart for completing an RCx project.  As you may infer, I am not fond of the “Planning Phase”.  In fact, it seems this process was developed by a program implementer for the program implementer (to spend more time and thus make more money while achieving little more...
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Demand Side Market Transformation

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I was reading a couple regulatory dockets; one by a citizen and another by an intervener.  They made some good points, including a situation of being locked out of the market[1] in one’s own state, to which I replied, “Welcome to the party.”  Both dockets had a ring of “market transformation”. Our friends at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) define market transformation as, “The strategic process of intervening in a market to create lasting change in market behavior by removing identified barriers or exploiting opportunities to accelerate the adoption of all cost-effective energy efficiency...
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Integrity Police

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
There are a number of things any respectable consulting firm simply does not allow – because there is no good, reasonable, defensible, or Hail Mary excuse.  For example, there are proposal deadlines or interviews with contract selection committees for big projects.  As long as there is reasonable time to prepare a proposal there is no excuse to ask for an extension or plead forgiveness for an inept, disheveled pile of dung.  Reasonable preparatory time for a straight forward project not requiring subs might be four weeks.  A more substantial project in the $1-2 million range requiring subs should get six...
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Paint by Numbers EE

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
True or false: It’s easier to teach Pablo Picasso how to paint a house than it is to make a house painter into a Picasso-grade painter/artist.  For the answer, keep reading. I was sitting in a session at last week’s AESP conference sipping my weak overpriced Starbucks when I almost sprayed a mouthful on the bystanders sitting in front of me.  Not one, but two guys opined that it is easier to teach, for example, a refrigeration expert retrocommissioning than it is to teach a retrocommissioning/energy expert efficient refrigeration.  Allow me to demonstrate with an example, a true story. A...
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Energy Savings Rubbish

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
The best thing about working in our industry is the potential for continuous learning, unlike nearly any other field.  There are enough things to learn about buildings, manufacturing, systems, how they are built, as in design, construction and commissioning to fill a 45 year engineering career.  One always finds something “new” even in old buildings – bizarre design concepts for example.  Have you ever seen how Fig Newtons are made?  It isn’t easy. Engineers might think, what else is there to programs besides determining energy savings, simple payback and possibly ROI?  About 75%, if not, more.  There are market assessments,...
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Stalin Lives

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Various areas of the country have various weird oddities.  When we moved to the La Crosse area last decade, or the one before that, we found that apartments come with laundry hookups but no washer and dryer.  What the?  How about a friggin wash machine and dryer to fill that hole and plug into those pipes and wall socket?  So we went to a now defunct appliance joint and picked up an Amana washer and dryer – electric of course because a rental joint isn’t going to provide natural gas. I think I’ve finally talked my wife into getting the...
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No Pain? No pain.

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This will blow your mind.  How many large power plants (500 MW) does it take to cook the thanksgiving turkey across the nation – just the ones cooked with electricity?  Answer is provided below.  Guess.  Don’t be a loser.  Guess. I’ve seen perhaps 100 ads for dust collecting contraptions that everyone including the buyers know will end up under the bed, in the closet, or basement, and finally onto the garage sale to somebody else who will decycle it.  These include the things like the Ab Buster 5000 (just made it up), junk you sit on, junk you rock on,...
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Feral Cat, What Say You?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, LEED, Stimulus, Sustainability One Comment
Back in August I came close to posting a blog “Enough of the Empire State Building Already” but that one faded away.  In case you never read anything about energy savings and sustainability, the building is undergoing a $20 million renovation to improve energy efficiency.  The project would shave the facility’s $11 million energy bill (a cool $4 per square foot) by 38%.  Johnson Control ran ads in every trade magazine I get and various publications, including major newspapers, ran articles by the dozens. Coming in a close second to the Empire State Building was the Northland Pines High School...
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Upside Down Consequence of EE?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, LEED, Sustainability, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
Many posts ago, I wrote “The More You Spend, The More You Save” explaining how poor system control wastes energy but results in even greater energy savings for efficient equipment.  For example, consider an air handling system that wastes heating energy provided by an efficient boiler.  The boiler saves x% versus a conventional model, so x% multiplied by greater use (wasted energy) results in “more” savings. Recently I picked up on buzz that argues greater efficiency results in greater energy consumption.  At one point I recall reading in the Wall Street Journal an editorial that argued more efficient vehicles just...
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