energy
the big picture.
    What growing energy costs mean for you?
Lou Rugulo P.E.
   

Key Facts
Dramatic increases in energy usage occurring
Electric demand has grown over 35% in the past ten years. Consequently, increased electricity capacity constraints, transmission and distribution delivery issues and electricity reliability are creating unique new obstacles in today’s business landscape.

Dramatic increases in energy prices occurring
Natural gas cost jumped from about $2 to $3 in 2003, to about $6 in 2004 and to $10 to $12 in 2005. Oil has risen from $30 per barrel to the $70 range. Expect electricity cost increases to follow by way of various fuel adjustment charges that typically appear on future bills. Energy costs are likely to remain high due to the rapid energy demand growth in the industrializing economies of China, India and others. The world’s peak oil production seems to be occurring in this decade, and after this, some claim that production declines due to aging wells and production equipment will cause supply to remain tight and keep prices from falling.  This peaking of oil production combined with increasing demand is predicted to result in a rapidly increasing price for oil until alternate energy sources become economically viable.
In an effort to improve air quality, an overwhelming proportion of new electric generation is via natural gas.  This increase in demand has driven prices higher, and seems to have eliminated the summertime drop in gas prices that had historically occurred.  To compound this, speculators are becoming more active in Natural Gas markets, introducing more uncertainty into a market that historically was driven mostly by supply, demand and weather.

Most existing commercial buildings operate inefficiently
The United States commercial building sector alone is comprised of 3.4 million air-conditioned buildings.  The existing building inventory contains about 50% of the square footage below 20,000 sq ft (CBECS). Most buildings have dysfunctional energy consuming systems which cause 20% to 40% in excess energy consumption (Culp 2004).  Industry research has repeatedly shown that marginally functioning systems such as economizers or Building Management Systems can not only not deliver the potential savings, but instead results in excess energy usage.  Industry research has repeatedly shown that marginally functioning systems such as economizers or Building Management Systems may not fail to deliver the potential savings, but result in excess energy usage.

 

Skilled Energy Engineers in Short Supply
Energy engineering in buildings crosses several disciplines.  A few universities have undergraduate and graduate curricula focused on energy efficiency in buildings; but typically these  skills must be developed through time, experience, and participation in professional societies and trade groups.  Texas A&M has one of these programs and graduates less than 10 skilled engineers per year.  Other universities graduate similar numbers of energy efficiency engineers. To have an impact on the 20,000,000,000+ square feet of existing buildings, this number must increase. One engineer can successfully oversee only about 500,000 to 1,000,000 square feet. The US therefore needs 20,000 to 40,000 engineers to meet this challenge and we currently have a few hundred experienced engineers with this specialty.  Unfortunately many business entities rely on already overworked facilities personnel to provide this function.  As day-to-day operational issues continually take precedence (as well they should), energy conservation efforts often get delayed.  Staff turnover also complicates long-term energy conservation planning.  In the absence of energy reduction plans, when equipment fails, the most expedient or least cost replacement option is often chosen because time will not permit the engineering or procurement lead times that an energy conserving option might require.

Energy efficiency has been demonstrated to reduce consumption and pollution, with efficiency gains of 20% to 30% possible using existing technology for individual applications.  In the built environment, a 20%+ reduction typically has a payback of 1 year at 2005 energy prices.  The scarcity of skilled building energy efficiency engineers severely limits our ability to achieve broad coverage of energy efficient technology. Implementing energy efficiency on a US wide scale will require 10+ years to organize, educate and implement.  Although some increased application of energy efficiency will occur naturally and will be quite beneficial, wide application of energy efficiency will not occur without a massive program focused on building energy efficiency.  The alternative involves economic and social disruptions from increasing oil prices. Translation – the US has not yet developed a sufficient infrastructure to widely deploy the current state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology.

 The unique combination of the above factors point to the value of a totally new solution.......
Business entities are very familiar with relying on temporary employees for engineering services such as facilities and design, yet have never considered (or been presented with the alternative of) contracting for Energy Engineering services on an as-needed basis.  By taking advantage of Mr. Rugulo and his team, hand-picked for their particular expertise in the industry, Amicus Energy Solutions provides clients with the unique opportunity to work with the industry's finest and most experienced energy personnel in an extremely cost effective manner.  Clients also are guaranteed to get employees that are up to date on the latest energy conservation practices and technologies on a short-term basis.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   


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