January 29, 2015
Schools in Orange, Virginia have found an innovative way to save money. By applying state-of-the-art energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings, they were able to dramatically cut energy use and operational costs. During the implementation period of the project, several Orange County Public Schools reduced energy consumption by nearly $300,000 – a much higher savings during the construction period than originally projected.
The 18-month improvement project was performed by ABM Energy & Building Solutions and included building envelope improvements, lighting enhancements, HVAC equipment, control upgrades, and more. The project is set to create savings of $9.2 million over a 15 year period. To date, the projected savings is $297,669. The original projected savings was for $130,000 during the construction period.
The energy improvements fall within a state-sponsored energy conservation program that allows school divisions to make energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements to their facilities and use the costs savings to pay for those improvements. Through its Bundled Energy Solutions (BES) offering, ABM assisted the Orange County Public Schools in the utilization of the program to perform the vital facility upgrades. The majority of the savings in Orange County have gone toward paying back the contract fees, and the increased efficiency is expected to continue after the financial obligation is satisfied.
Because of the success of the project, the school board is considering adding a second phase to the project that will make improvements to more schools in the Orange County Public Schools division as well as the sports center. This phase could produce up to an additional $90,000 in energy savings and approximately 19% improvement.
Read the original Fredericksburg.com article for more details.
January 13, 2015
As electric vehicles (EV) become more mainstream, many parking facility owners want to install EV charging stations as a convenience for their employees and tenants, a revenue-generating amenity for customers, and a competitive differentiator for their business. However, cost is a big hindrance, as well as other factors such as electrical capacity and availability of funding.
Lighting upgrades can shed light on this problem and provide an innovative solution! Through a lighting makeover, facilities can take advantage of the latest high-efficiency lighting technology to reduce the overall electricity load of a parking facility, allowing for EV charging stations to be installed without having to replace or rewire the existing electrical system. At the same time, high-efficiency lighting and automated controls can significantly reduce energy use and cut utility bills almost in half. And with the right service provider, it can be done with zero impact to your existing operating budget!
A recent article by the Green Parking Council highlights how the City of Oakland did just this at one of their most popular parking facilities. Partnering with full-service EVSE and energy solution provider ABM, the city reduced energy use by 45 percent and off-set the electric grid enough to implement several EV charging stations. And, by leveraging federal and local energy incentives as well as ABM’s creative low-interest financing, the city was able to pay for the entire project with its guaranteed utility cost savings. There was no upfront capital required, and they were able to contribute positive cash flow to the existing budget.
Read the full Green Parking Council article for more details.
December 10, 2014
Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in Perrysburg, Ohio has implemented a comprehensive improvement project to provide critical infrastructure and efficiency upgrades to its six schools. The district leveraged ABM’s Bundled Energy Solutions program to fund the project through the $4.9M in energy and operating costs they expect to gain over the next 15 years. There was no upfront capital required, no increased taxpayer burden.
The customized solution includes building envelope improvements, lighting enhancements, occupancy sensors, HVAC equipment and chiller retro-commissioning, control upgrades, and water conservation methods. In addition, existing boilers with low operating hours were relocated to create additional savings for the district.
Perrysburg’s energy improvements fall within Ohio’s HB264 state energy conservation program. Ohio HB264 allows school districts to make energy efficiency improvements to their facilities and use the costs savings to pay for those improvements. ABM assisted Perrysburg Exempted Village School District in the utilization of Ohio HB264 to perform the vital facility upgrades.
“The driving force behind this project was creating a strategy to meet key facility needs without increasing taxpayer burden,” explained Aura Norris, SPHR, Executive Director of Human Resources and Operations for Perrysburg Schools. “ABM’s expertise with budget neutral solutions for other schools was a big factor in our decision making process, and we’re very pleased with their solution to relocate existing boilers in good working order, which has created additional savings.”
Read the complete press release for more details.
November 24, 2014
It seems that every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. However, today as oil prices drop, solar electricity is predicted to be as cheap as, or cheaper than, average electricity bill prices in 47 U.S. states by 2016. That’s right, after years of competing against cheap oil and natural gas prices, solar seems to be going mainstream according to a recent Bloomberg article based on a new Deutsche Bank report.
“Grid parity” describes the point in time at which a developing technology will produce electricity for the same cost to ratepayers as traditional technologies. That is, when the new technology can produce electricity for the same cost as the electricity available on a utility’s transmission and distribution “grid.” According to the article, solar has already reached grid parity in 10 states that are responsible for 90% of U.S. solar electricity production.
Prices for solar will continue to drop as the technology and financing becomes more affordable, pushing 36 more states to reach grid parity by 2016. This downward trend is because solar is a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. It will soon undercut even the cheapest fossil fuels in many regions of the planet, including poorer nations where billion-dollar coal plants aren’t always practical. The price of limited fossil fuels, however, tend to go the other direction and only get more expensive.
So while today solar is only responsible for less than one percent of energy capacity worldwide, a recent estimate by the International Energy Agency claims solar will be the world’s biggest single source of electricity by 2050.
For more information and detailed charts, read the complete Bloomberg article.
November 12, 2014
Did you know Americans throw away enough office and writing paper each year to build a 12-ft high wall stretching from New York City to Los Angeles? If that paper were recycled, 100 million tons of wood could be saved each year. Change requires action so celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15 — a national initiative to help keep America beautiful.
At some point, landfill diversion efforts run up against common opposition such as infrastructure or budget restrictions, and many facilities are left wondering how they can realize the next breakthrough on the path to Zero Waste. Implementing complex collection and disposal procedures or driving end-user participation through education and outreach can lead to diminishing results.
To break through this, facilities services vendors such as ABM have developed large and impactful recycling programs, and work with customers and recycling vendors to create effective landfill diversion programs.
For example, ABM has helped numerous organizations through its On-Site Trash Sorting program, a proprietary janitorial service in which employees sort recyclables from trash safely and sanitarily by hand. ABM is pleased to be helping a major tech company in the Seattle area by sorting roughly 3,150 pounds of waste each day for the organization and diverting nearly 30 tons of waste each month from local landfills as measured by hauling vendor records. In addition, ABM is currently in negotiations to expand the program, which creates a growing number of full-time positions making a quantifiable impact on the environment.
It is important that everyone does their part! Spread the word about America Recycles Day by joining the #americarecyclesday conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about ABM’s recycling solutions at https://www.abm.com/pages/green-recycling-programs.aspx.