Millenium Energy Company applies advanced technology and regulatory advantages to maximize energy cost reduction while increasing energy efficiency for long-term sustainability.
Advances in technology, the emerging competitive energy marketplace, and rising energy prices are creating unprecedented opportunities for reducing the cost of energy for commercial, educational, and industrial facilities, while the need for efficient use of energy and alternative, sustainable energy sources is greater than ever.
Our detailed review of current operations identifies the most cost-effective opportunities for upgrading building energy-consuming systems to more efficient methods of energy delivery and control. Implementing energy system upgrades are now very attractive due to:
- The application of exciting new technologies that have become available in recent years;
- Large energy savings and rapid paybacks, which allow financing options such as energy leases and energy bond financing, and where the payments are structured to be offset by the monthly energy cost savings;
- Energy project savings, discounts, and rebates offered by utility companies, which allow building owners to divert dollars from utility costs they are ALREADY PAYING, and which can then be used to offset energy project costs.
Energy Cost Reduction Program and Proprietary Analytical Tools
Millenium Energy has developed analytical tools that analyze each aspect of energy acquisition, conversion efficiency, and distribution. We implement Energy Cost Reduction (ECR) strategies that have no negative impact on budget or cash flow. The ECR Analysis includes a review of existing utility rates and power quality and an evaluation of alternate sources of energy, cost of equipment upgrades, or modifications, resulting in financial benefits for the total project.
This type of in-depth analysis is essential for completely characterizing the utility cost and consumption in commercial buildings. A change in consumption or demand due to equipment modification will have an impact on energy consumption and access to lower-cost energy. It is especially important in light of current changes in the utility industry and improvements in technology, both of which provide opportunities for significant energy cost reduction.
Buildings are regularly operated in a mode that is not the most energy efficient, or in a manner that does not utilize the efficiencies and capabilities of the systems installed. An energy management system (EMS), for example, is often designed without such features as:
- Specific control points (i.e. CO2 sensors, economizers, energy use sensing, VFDs), and software that is required to operate the building at reduced capacity during low occupancy;
- Real-time metering to allow for energy demand management;
- More sophisticated algorithms to control heating, and chilled water circulation, fresh air ventilation rates, and boilers;
- Incomplete equipment scheduling and alarm programming.
Building systems may not be configured for the most efficient operation due to a lack of training or operational engineering oversight. Discrete commissioning of a building’s systems can increase comfort as well as reduce operating costs in a new building by as much as 20%.
Millenium Energy provides commissioning services in accordance with LEED requirements for HVAC systems, plumbing systems, electrical power, and lighting and dimming control systems, as well as operations and theory-of-operation training for the mechanical and electrical systems. Services include design review, field observations, and functional testing of mechanical systems.
Utility Rate Analysis
Buildings are often constructed without an analysis of what the lowest energy rates from the utility might be. Millenium Energy analyzes the regulatory structure, utility tariffs, and energy loads to determine the least cost alternatives for energy supply from utilities and/or alternative energy suppliers. Cost savings can be as much as 25% in some cases, depending on load factor, service voltage, and other rate structure attributes.
Access to Low-Cost Energy
In order to minimize costs, it is necessary to access the lowest-cost electricity and natural gas. Today’s new deregulated energy marketplace offers new and varied opportunities to reduce costs. Millenium Energy can provide expert analysis of complex state and federal regulations and utility tariffs to identify the lowest-cost alternatives that will meet the metering, volume, demand, and consumption criteria for each facility application.
It is also essential to review utility tariffs to determine if it is beneficial for a facility manager to venture out onto the open market with all of its uncertainties and risks. It may be possible to reduce the cost of energy delivered to a building by choosing a more advantageous tariff, or by reconfiguring the meters or the service in order to access a better rate. Rate reductions of up to 20% are possible subject to the specific utility serving the facility, size of service, and equipment constraints.
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”
The increasing cost of energy and utility deregulation has placed new emphasis on the metering and tracking of energy cost and consumption. Digital metering technology, integrated with today’s energy management system technology, allows real-time tracking of gas and electricity, real-time viewing of electric demand, and access to totalized information at the end of each month. Real-time access to energy use information offers the capability of immediate intervention when the level of consumption exceeds preset parameters. In conjunction with the computerized controls, the HVAC systems can be adjusted instantly, increasing or decreasing motor speed, to maintain minimal energy costs.
Lighting technology also has a great impact on energy consumption and cost in a building. Older, inefficient fluorescent lighting systems can be modified with new T8 lamps and electronic ballasts to reduce electric demand and consumption by as much as 66%, as well as lower air conditioning costs thanks to reduced cooling loads. In addition, the improved lighting spectrum characteristics of modern lamps have a longer life and provide a much more pleasing building environment.
New Boiler Technology
Most boilers, even today, operate at an average of around 80% efficiency. This means that 80% of the heat energy in the fuel is converted to useful heat, and 20% is wasted in the inefficiency of the burning (energy conversion) process. Most of the wasted heat is exhausted up the boiler exhaust stack. When fuel prices (mostly natural gas) began to rise dramatically, it became more cost-effective to use more efficient boiler technology. The modern boilers are more costly, however, due to the high cost of fuel, replacing a less efficient boiler with a 93-95% efficient boiler may have a shorter payback than installing a “standard efficiency” (80%) unit.
Variable Speed Drives and Demand/Occupancy-Based Building Operations
Most of the electric motors in use today operate at constant speed, from the time they are turned on to when they are turned off. Since the motors operate at constant speed, they consume roughly the same amount of energy at all times during normal operation. Motors fitted with Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) allow the motor speed to vary based on the requirements of the system. Energy use can be reduced in an HVAC fan unit, for example, when the weather is mild and heating or cooling requirements are minimal or when the buildings are at partial occupancy.
Digital Energy Management Systems
Digital and Internet-based telecommunication technology and have brought a new dimension to the control of building energy consuming systems. Control algorithms that were once considered too costly or not practical are being widely integrated into HVAC operating strategies to maximize efficiency and improve comfort. Development of Internet browser-style software simplifies the user experience and offers more powerful report generation. Also, wireless technologies offer a much wider range of low-cost installation and access options.
Computerized and Direct Digital Control (DDC) of energy systems have recently had a number of major technological advancements. Open architecture protocols have been developed for digital communications loops and new software is now much more powerful and user-friendly than ever before. Energy management technology has followed computer and Internet development, and systems are now fully integratable with some of the legacy systems. New control points or equipment (fans, pumps, boilers, meters, etc.) can be added as “plug and play” technology.
It is now possible to operate building HVAC systems based on occupancy, and the energy demands of each building. Until recently, heating and cooling fans were designed to operate at a constant speed (100%) for all conditions, regardless of how many occupants were in the building. The new control systems will slow fans down and reduce system capacity when the building is at partial occupancy. Buildings will consume much less energy during early morning and evening periods, holidays and weekends, and semester breaks without sacrificing comfort or air quality.
One of the most important aspects of the new generation of digital EMS is the ease and simplicity of the user interface. Since these systems are Internet-based, the interface is designed so that if you can send and manage email, you can navigate the system. In addition, Wi-Fi applications allow alarms to be sent to cell phones and graphics to be viewed through wireless devices.
On-Site Electric Generation Technology
On-site electric generation technology can have attractive benefits in many applications. Commercial buildings pay some of the highest rates for energy. Since HVAC systems and lighting account for 90% of energy costs in many buildings, upgrading lighting and motor technology and taking advantage of regulatory changes can result in dramatic savings on utility bills. With “on-site electric generation,” the total electric ECR for a facility could be even greater. In addition to lowering energy costs, on-site generation provides greater energy reliability since it can be used as backup power during power outages and emergencies. We will review options for utilizing on-site generation for both back-up and cost reduction applications, which can significantly reduce energy costs, improve reliability, and offer increased energy security.
Application of Renewable Energy Technology for Long-Term Sustainability
This can have attractive benefits in many applications. Solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies have become much more cost-effective. Also, “light harvesting” and dimming technologies that were either too costly or unreliable are now being applied with much greater frequency as technology improves, energy prices continue to increase, and concerns surrounding climate change continue to escalate. Millenium Energy helps public and private groups design projects that meet LEED certification and Energy Star designation standards.
Environmental Footprint Reduction
Reducing energy use also reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere as a result of burning the fossil fuel needed to produce energy. This reduces the need for mining or extracting fossil fuels, as well as U.S. dependence on foreign fuel imports. Energy efficiency is one very important aspect of good environmental stewardship that must be practiced by all in order to minimize potential negative effects on our global environment.