A building energy strategy must be multi-pronged. Suggestions are to look holistically at the building. I look almost entirely at major expenses that can be reduced and then executed in an environmentally sensitive manner. To recap, CI Works has already in just 4 months reduced our electricity usage to the tune of 9,000 kWh per month on average through our lighting upgrade, recently completed and greatly appreciated by tenant businesses and employees.
We are continuing to work on and expect additional savings from:
$ Installing smart thermostats throughout the building
$ Evaluating efficiency of HVAC units and specifically motors
$ Patiently working through the installation of an EV charging station for employees’ use through the very painful utility incentive world
Now: The Big Swing – install a 190kW DC solar array on the building roof of 11 Chestnut St. – illustrated above. The picture of the building roof above was prepared by Summit Solar and shows that we are not leaving much roof uncovered. Summit is a tenant here at CI Works and will be installing the array on the roof. Triple word score – and Summit will have a demo to share with their other clients and prospects for solar roofs. Innovation and collaboration!
The chart below projects expected financial results based upon actual use for the past 12 month period. As you can see, some months of the year we will be able to generate more electricity in the aggregate than the building uses (April - August). The chart does not include the savings that we expect from the reduced electricity use resulting from the completed lighting project mentioned above. Bear in mind that this chart represents electricity usage only in terms of benefits derived. It does not include the amount of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent required to generate this power from the grid or the financial benefits.
Financial results – the cost of the solar system is entirely paid for through Massachusetts SMART program cash incentives, Federal ITC tax credit, and system depreciation benefits related to renewable energy. Additional savings are expected from rooftop energy generation versus grid purchase – adjusted upward in future years for expected annual price inflation from the utility on a conservative basis.
End result – positive cash flow to CI Works over 30 years (expected life of the equipment) of over $1.9 million from electric bill savings alone. This number does not include either the cost of the system nor the benefits that paid for it explained above. Who DOES NOT like the idea of not having to pay your utility large $$$ amounts each month and suffer electricity bill confusion? Commercial businesses and building owners need to be aware of these types of financial benefits available to their companies….and at the same time being good environmental stewards.
Side note – CI Works had intended to utilize the state Commercial PACE program to finance the purchase – which is actually done through a commercial lender anyway. There is no state or municipal financing included – so what has taken 4 long years to obtain approval in a state where the Governor and most other elected officials claim to be environmental stewards? In order to take advantage of existing tax incentives and SMART ‘blocks’, we are proceeding forward in 2019 with direct commercial financing and then will re-finance through PACE – if it ever becomes available – as soon thereafter as possible.