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custom efficiency

Portfolio Plateaus, Levitating Golf Balls, and Code Zombies

By Energy Rant No Comments
This is the third and final edition of the history of energy efficiency and Michaels Energy over the last 40 years. The first edition, covering the Early Years Through Deregulation, spanned 1984 into the Great Depression of Energy Efficiency. The second edition described the resurgence of energy efficiency and the birth of Portfolio Blowouts in the Great Lake States and beyond. This edition covers the efficiency program plateau of the last decade and projects for the future. Lighting Technology Evolutions During the boom and plateau years from 2000 through today, lighting retrofits cycled through every sector – residential, commercial, and…
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Michaels Energy and The Boom Years of Energy Efficiency

By Energy Rant No Comments
This week, we are continuing with 40 years of Michaels Energy and energy efficiency history, focusing on the years of growth. As alluded to in the last post, The Great Depression of energy efficiency hit in 1999, or to be a bit more precise, 1998. Data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s most recent state efficiency scorecard confirm my case. While The Great Depression of energy efficiency raged, utilities got caught up in the dot.com stock market bubble. They bought telecom companies, home security, resort properties, and power generation overseas. Those ventures ended poorly, taking some to the…
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High Crimes in Custom Efficiency?

By Energy Rant One Comment
Custom efficiency programs are held to a higher standard than others (prescriptive). The customer pursuing custom incentives must wait to see what the incentive amount will be before they purchase anything. If they buy first and ask second, no rebate for you. This is not the case for prescriptive programs, where customers know they will get $75 for the purchase of a smart thermostat, or $100 for the replacement of an evaporator fan motor with an electronically commutated motor. Prescriptive participants can make their purchases and claim their rebate any time, usually before the end of the calendar year. Custom…
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Drive-By Evaluation – Buffalo Bill at Large

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Thank you to Mike Frischmann (our Director of Evaluation Engineering) for contributing to this week’s Rant. Eight hundred pound gorilla alert! Energy efficiency program evaluation “best practices” need a big overhaul. I am not talking about best practices for doing impact evaluation like the Uniform Methods Project. It’s disgusting that so much money is spent on standards like that and others, while ulterior motives drive program evaluation in entirely different directions. Purpose of Program Evaluation The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, aka SEE Action’s Energy Efficiency Program Impact Evaluation Guide, states the following are objectives of program evaluation.…
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Lily

Evaluating Custom Efficiency – The 4D Dysfunction Report

By Energy Rant One Comment
A disturbing trend with custom efficiency is sweeping the industry, and guess what, I’m going to rant all over it like black on my little spazoid Labrador, Lily, aka, Blacky. Michaels is packed to the rafters with engineers who know a thing or two about energy, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluids – all the building blocks of being an expert in custom efficiency. We know this because our job candidates get an eclectic, off-the-wall quiz when we interview them. Candidates have to leave their props and crutches on the table or in their pockets, exposing only their brain and how…
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Deemed Savings and the Variable Frequency Drive

By Energy Rant No Comments
In recent years, there has been a push by some intervenors and program implementers to move larger and larger, and riskier measures from custom efficiency into prescriptive buckets.  These include air handling system replacements, control system replacements, and of course, the variable frequency drive. To make sure everyone is on board, prescriptive savings are determined for a specific piece of equipment, or determined by preset formulae with some combination of stipulated (assumed) values and project-specific information.  This is opposed to custom savings calculations that are estimated by an engineer/philosopher according to the project specific application. Uncertainty If there are two…
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Commercial and Industrial Custom Efficiency, Entrails to Turkey Dinners

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
In the past week or two, we evaluated whether or not we wanted to respond to a request for proposal to deliver a commercial and industrial (C&I) custom efficiency program.  The metrics of the RFP were doomed to a disservice for this particular utility’s customers, and therefore, of course we passed.  What do I mean? The project term was one year.  In that year, the program needed to be designed and promoted, customers needed to be recruited, projects developed, AND implemented within the year.  Give me a break!  Here again, large C&I is treated like an upstream program for LEDs…
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Fly High and Jump!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Utility Stuff One Comment
Natural gas utilities tend to howl about making EE goals because it is much more difficult to capture savings for natural gas than it is for electricity.  With one giant exception, lighting, this isn’t really true and I do not agree.  Lighting retrofit/replacement is indeed easy for a number of reasons: Utility DSM product managers and account managers understand it. Customers understand it. Lighting upgrades improve lighting brightness and color rendering. Some level of investigative analytical study is NOT required. With the exception of early T8 electronic ballast technologies, maintenance is reduced, at minimum because the customer has new equipment…
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