Energy efficient operations are becoming a priority in commercial and industrial sectors across the world especially since energy costs are climbing at a rapid rate. Due to their large consumption levels, these sectors are often hit the hardest.
It is no secret that energy efficiency can save large manufacturers and commercial companies a fortune in energy costs. [Building owners and tenants benefit from energy efficient buildings and Energy efficiency-an energy source not to be underestimated). However, financing can often be an inhibitor to investments in energy management and efficiency but Constellation Energy Group has removed this obstacle by putting together a robust and valuable business offering for its customers.
The US power retailer in Baltimore, Maryland, has taken a very innovative approach to helping its commercial customers manage its energy consumption in a highly cost effective way-by enabling them to combine energy supply purchases with efficiency measures.
Energy efficiency without up-front costs
Its Efficiency Made Easy (EME) product is aimed at giving its commercial electricity supply customers the ability to fund energy conservation measures such as energy efficient lighting, building automation controls, and HVAC upgrades without an up-front capital expense.
According to Constellation, EME customers are saving on average 21% on their electricity consumption and subsequent costs. Customers are also benefitting from the reduced maintenance time and costs required for updated, more efficient equipment and systems. The costs of these solutions are included over the term of a customer’s supply agreement.
Because no upfront capital is required for the upgrades, customers are able to accelerate project time frames or complete upgrades that would never have been possible in the past. In most cases, customers realize an immediate savings on energy costs from reduced energy use.
Bringing energy efficiency matters to the forefront
EME enables commercial customers to combine energy supply purchases with efficiency measures. This holistic approach by the energy supplier is encouraging CFOs and facilities managers to initiate discussions about energy management. Additionally, energy management technology providers leverage EME to help their customers fund much-needed upgrades. For example, energy management platform developer Telkonet has partnered with Constellation to offer its hotel customers the opportunity to install the company’s newest in-room energy management control system through EME. Last year, eCurv, Inc., a supplier of demand management software services, began offering the EME programme to its commercial clients. The programme gives customers the opportunity to fund the installation of eCurv’s QPAC (Queued Power Access) software as part of their Constellation electricity supply agreement.
Modeled after the digital queuing technology that has enabled the exponential growth in the service capacity of the mobile wireless and IT sectors, eCurv’s QPACservice automatically queues the access of electric loads, such as HVAC systems, electric pumps, motors, battery charging, heating and refrigeration equipment, thereby avoiding expensive peak demand events.
From January 1, 2012, through September 10, 2013, EME programme participation grew from just seven to 67 customers. During that period, EME projects saved customers more than 84 million kWh in electricity use. While the average annual kWh savings was 21% per customer, some customers achieved as much as 54%.
In addition to kWh savings, Constellation says EME projects completed through September 10, 2013, have helped to avoid the release of more than 59,000 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 12,292 cars off the road, according to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.
Piloted in 2011 in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, Constellation expanded EME to competitive electricity markets nationwide in 2013. Customers include companies in industries like office buildings, grocery stores, schools and universities, hotels and medical facilities.
It’s not difficult to see why EME received a Platts Global Energy Award, “Energy Efficiency -- Energy Supplier”, in 2013. The award recognizes demand side programmes that help consumers and businesses save energy.
Preparing for efficiency in the energy sector
While energy efficiency is good news for businesses and the environment, utilities will need to prepare themselves for the drop in energy consumption levels by exploring new revenue streams. [Engerati-Utilities Could Miss The Growth in the Smart Building Sector.]
It is only a matter of time before commercial customers will expect their local energy supplier to have a programme ready for them.
Constellation’s foresight and innovativeness is already setting it apart from other competitors. By incorporating the cost of energy conservation measures to the supply agreement, Constellation has created a win-win situation. Customers get to meet their energy efficiency goals and reduce their bills and Constellation gets to enjoy an additional revenue stream and keep their customers. [Opportunities growing for forward-looking utilities.]