Inspiration for Energy Retrofitting

Personal experience, that’s what! We all need to learn things for ourselves, but once we do, there is tremendous satisfaction in helping the next person not to make all the same mistakes. Some people always insist on making all their own mistakes and not listening. You can’t help them, no matter how hard you try. Fortunately, some people are eager to listen and learn and those are the people I want to work with.

I worked in the shipping industry, first as an operator of dry bulk carriers in the range of 20,000 to 80,000 dwt, including an early car carrier, the New Horizon, a bulk carrier with hoistable car decks that exported grain from the US Gulf to Europe and brought back Volkswagen Beetles to the US. I experienced the first major oil crisis and how suddenly the biggest daily expense on a ship was no longer the crew, but the fuel bill. The world changed and finding ways to operate more economically was a repetitive theme in that industry. I was involved in several ways over the years in trying to help figure out rational ways of dealing with the issue and it was not always easy, but needless to say, the world did change a lot, particularly when container ships started to be built for significantly slower speeds than they once were and size more than speed became the preferred way of increasing capacity. For many years, ships were built to go faster and faster, because the cost of fuel was insignificant, but over time slow steaming became the rule

In my private life I was not always as smart as I was in my professional career, and often neglected to do my homework. I only realized this in 1997, when I sold a home of 19 years and realized that by doing just what the neighbors did in terms of energy management, I really had failed myself. I failed to figure out the smart solutions. I just did what everybody else did.

Since 1997, I started to take more of an interest in the topic and eventually, in 2007, I became briefly inolved in a venture with GSHP, Ground Source Heat Pumps, which was supposed to launch after two pilot projects. The first was a water heating system for the Tarrytown Housing Authority, which was successful. The next project was a project for an apartment building in the Bronx – a hot water system also – and it was a disaster… which I discovered in about 15 minutes going through the financial/engineering model for the system. It had been sold as 70% of the BTUs coming from the GSHP and 30% from a jigh efficiency natural gas water heater, but there was a simple math error and the system instead was accidentally designed for 30% of heat coming from the GSHP and 70% from the natural gas backup and the whole thing was designed wrong. Oh well. I ended up being an expert witness for the owners in an arbitration…

Ever since that time, I became more and more interested in helping owners of buildings large and small to figure out the correct economics for retrofitting. The whole story came together around a series of technologies that together provide from about 30 to 60% reduction of energy consumption in bulldings, which is life changing. In some cases this can lead to an economic replacement of your HVAC system, but in some cases that is not even necessary, if we can provide better control technology to manage the excess capacity. That is the beginning of drastically lowering operating costs and increasing the value of the asset. Through our website, we provide the consultative experience to help you sort out what is best for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *