success stories

Brae Burn Country Club Cuts Energy Use by 7.8% with SEE The Light Energy Awareness Program

Cambridge, MA

SITUATION

Brae Burn Country Club, located in West Newton, Massachusetts, is one of the most prestigious Country Clubs in the Northeast. Brae Burn's long-term members and its Board of Directors were interested in fostering a more sustainable/green operation and in cutting costs by improving energy efficiency.

Management noted that their energy expense and consumption increased in 2009 vs. 2008 by over 15% (Table 1), and acknowledged that they needed to take action to reverse the trend.

Brae Burn issued a Request for Proposal for energy consulting services, to include procurement, O&M initiatives, and employee engagement/energy awareness. Multiple consulting firms submitted proposals; several were selected to make in-person presentations to the Brae Burn management and Board of Directors.

Kilojolts ' (KCG) winning bid was chosen on the basis of price, experience, and its broad scope of energy efficiency services including KCG's employee education program SEE The Light Energy Toolkits for private Clubs

SOLUTION

KCG met with Brae Burn's "Green Team" managers to introduce SEE The Light and plan the program roll-out. Each Green Team member then met with his or her employees to introduce SEE The Light and begin the education/training process to modify employees' energy-wasting behaviors and work processes.

Based on a walk-through audit, Brae Burn knew it had to focus first on three critical SEE The Light Energy Tips

Turn it Off, targeting lights and equipment in the kitchens and offices

Don't Be a Drip, tackling water waste in kitchens, offices, and locker rooms

Check Temperatures, focusing on HVAC, DHW, and cooking temperatures

Measuring/Verifying/Encouraging Success

Goal setting Brae Burn's management set a conservative goal of 5% reduction in energy use for the first year of SEE The Light.
Measurement Brae Burn tracked changes in energy consumption through SEE The Light energy benchmarking software, using the measurement MBTUs/sf/year.
Incentives To garner quick employee adoption, management added a competitive component, setting aside 10 percent of the verified energy/water-sewer savings to fund a bonus program for distribution at the employee Christmas party. Management continuously communicated and verified progress/shared results with their employees (energy consumption reductions and associated carbon offsets).

RESULTS: 7.8% REDUCTION IN CONSUMPTION

Brae Burn's Fiscal Year runs from November through October; therefore the verification data covers November 2009 through October 2010. The rollout of SEE The Light occurred in two stages; first with management starting in Q1-2010, then with the entire Green Team in Q2-2010.

The first (fiscal) year of SEE The Light implementation indicated that the program was a success with the software's Roll-Up Report revealing an aggregate improvement of 7.8 percent over 2009. And that was just the beginning. The trend continued with the December 2010 data indicating normalized (for weather and read periods) daily consumption (kWh/Day & Therms/Day) trending in the right direction.

Cambridge, MA

Kilojolts Coaches Cambridge On Using its "GreenSense" to Cut Electricity Usage 5.2% in the First Year

Some Departments Post 12+% decreases overall

SITUATION

The City of Cambridge (MA) wanted to develop an energy awareness program to reduce energy consumption throughout City facilities by promoting energy-efficient practices among employees. The program needed to align with Cambridge’s commitment to climate protection and fiscal responsibility and integrate with City’s existing sustainability programs, such as green building construction and recycling.

Ellen Katz, Fiscal Director for the Cambridge Department of Public Works, spearheaded the energy awareness program with a work group of city employees across multiple departments and disciplines. Katz also retained Kilojolts as its “Coach” for the program. Kilojolts provides a variety of energy management services to the City of Cambridge and had conducted highly successful energy awareness programs for other clients in recent years.

The planning team selected a conservative goal of 5% reduction in energy usage 12 months from the date the energy awareness program launched.

SOLUTION

The Energy Management Work Group, along with Kilojolts, developed Cambridge GreenSense, a branded energy awareness program that encouraged City employees to adopt energy-saving work practices.

The results of a series of walk-through audits of selected City buildings confirmed the team’s assumptions that the prime opportunities for reducing energy waste were:

  • Lights left on in unoccupied spaces and after hours
  • Computers and other office equipment left on overnight and on weekends;
  • Heating/cooling controls issues in all seasons of the year
Program development tasks included:
  • Develop four Energy Tips attacking the prime areas of opportunity
  • Train 70 Energy Champions, who volunteered to be GreenSense ambassadors, in motivating and educating their fellow employees to follow the GreenSense Tips
  • Write, design, and distribute materials to communicate each Energy Tip, including:
    • Champion’s Energy Guides, like the "teacher's" manual for Champions
    • Posters; informational stickers, PowerPoint presentations
    • GreenSense Intranet site
  • Track monthly energy usage data and produce quarterly performance reports

RESULTS

Cambridge employees responded with great vigor to the GreenSense initiative. After the first quarter, Katz analyzed energy usage, year-over-year, across all participating city buildings. The results? A 10% decline in electricity usage in 36 city buildings — double the original goal set by the GreenSense team. The electricity reduction was equal to the amount of energy needed to power 14 homes in one year.

The results for individual departments were even more striking. The public works department slashed electricity use by 17%. The fire department and City Hall cut its usage by 14% and 13%, respectively.

Results after the second quarter of the program confirmed that employees were continuing to use their “Green Sense.” Electricity consumption decreased 1.5% in the second quarter as compared to the same months last year despite the excessive cold and snow of the winter—in January alone, the heating need was 35% greater than it was the previous year. And again, individual departments stood out. City Hall reduced energy consumption 12% in the second quarter and the fire department cut 8% off its electricity usage, year-over-year.

At the close of the first year, Cambridge cut its municipal buildings' electricity usage by 5.2%.

Kilojolts Helps Papa Gino's and D'Angelo's Reduce Energy Costs by 5%

THE CLIENT

Papa Gino's has 166 restaurants and D'Angelo Sandwich Shops has 150 shops located throughout New England. Each is a highly recognizable brand with a reputation for quick, convenient, high-quality, and value-priced meals.

SITUATION

Papa Gino's/D'Angelo's' (Papa Gino's) was eager to take full advantage of the benefits available to its stores with the advent of gas and electricity deregulation. However, the Company lacked the internal capabilities to navigate the new deregulated marketplace. Papa Gino's decided to retain the services of an energy consultant who could act as the company's advocate and identify immediate opportunities for savings.

Papa Gino's turned to Kilojolts to act as its Virtual Energy Manager and assume responsibility for the company's energy conservation and cost reduction initiatives. The company 's primary objectives were:

  • To quickly reduce energy costs
  • To reduce energy waste and encourage employees to conserve
  • To identify and take advantage of low- and no-cost savings opportunities

SOLUTION

Gas and Electricity Negotiations
Acting as Papa Gino's Virtual Energy Manager, Kilojolts first initiated a review of the company's gas contracts. KCG assembled an RFP, invited several energy suppliers to bid, and ultimately negotiated favorable, reduced gas rates for Papa Gino's.

KCG then repeated the process for electricity, selecting a supplier and negotiating better rates.

Energy Awareness Program

Kilojolts developed a custom energy awareness program for all Papa Gino's and D'Angelo's locations. The easy-to-use program included:

  • A 10-step Energy Handbook with simple steps for conserving energy
  • Informational posters and stickers to remind employees to conserve
  • Quick Audits to assess each restaurant's progress
  • Results tracking

Lighting Projects

An accomplished lighting designer, Kilojolts' President Mr. Markowitz also initiated several energy-conscious lighting projects for Papa Gino's, including lighting retrofits and reduced pricing on bulbs and light fixtures. A great percentage of the lighting retrofits were eligible for an instant rebate program, significantly reducing upfront costs.

RESULTS

A 5% reduction in cost!
During the first year of the program, with Kilojolts acting as a Virtual Energy Manager, Papa Gino's reduced its energy costs by 5% vs. the prior year through a combination of savvy utility negotiations and employee conservation measures.

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Spearheading An Effort to Return Millions of Dollars to Business from Improperly Collected Electricity Sales Taxes

SITUATION

While working as the Energy Manager for a leading supermarket chain, Gary Markowitz discovered that all investor-owned utilities were collecting sales tax on the commodity portion of electricity delivery. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' legislation of March 1998 specifically prohibited further collection of this tax once customers took advantage of deregulation. Mr. Markowitz contacted a number of major New England companies to determine the impact of this impropriety. His research revealed that the utilities were collecting millions of dollars from their customers, with no evidence of where the sales tax funds were going. Mr. Markowitz then contacted the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE), which referred the matter to the state Department of Revenue (DOR.)

SOLUTION

After three months of red tape and delays by the DOR, the DOR provided a clarified Letter Ruling of the tax code. Simply stated, customers taking advantage of deregulation through a third-party supplier should not be subject to taxation on the electricity commodity portion of their bill. By bringing this ruling and research to the attention of the DTE, Mr. Markowitz succeeded in opening up a case with the department's Consumer Division, dealing directly with Director Claudine Langlois. The "wheels of justice" were thus set in motion.

RESULTS

Within just two weeks, the DTE confirmed Mr. Markowitz's assertion that the major investor-owned utilities in Massachusetts were collecting the sales tax, which amounted to "several million dollars," according to Ms. Langlois. The DTE secured an agreement from these utilities to refund improperly collected taxes beginning with the October 1999 bills, which, according to Ms. Langlois, "was as a result of Mr. Markowitz's persistence." The utilities had to revamp their entire billing process to reflect this ruling, ensuring that no further improper collections would be made.

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Saving A Regional Supermarket $750,000 in One Year through Fiscal Control and Energy Conservation

SITUATION

The energy management program of a 53-store regional supermarket chain lacked direction and organization. The company's energy accounting was based strictly on cost rather than usage; energy bills were simply paid without being audited and historical consumption records were non-existent. In short, the company was not prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by energy deregulation, With no on-staff resources to implement an energy program, management turned to energy expert Gary Markowitz for assistance.

The company's initial goals were to:
  • Increase energy awareness among employees
  • Establish a complete set of energy records
  • Create performance benchmarks
  • Identify the least efficient stores and work towards improvement

SOLUTION

Phase 1:

Putting the Fiscal House in Order Mr. Markowitz began his assignment by putting the Client's fiscal house in order.

The action steps included:
  • Auditing and reorganizing energy consumption data; verifying energy bills; establishing normalized benchmarks
  • Changing the expense accrual accounting system, allowing accruals to follow current rate and consumption patterns of all operating units
  • Presenting statistical benchmarks to store managers and incentifying them to improve overall chain performance
  • Auditing inefficient stores for obvious operational flaws correctible through no/low cost solutions

Phase 2:

Building an Energy Conservation Culture Using the benchmarks to measure each store's energy efficiency, Mr. Markowitz determined that most exceeded the national average for supermarket energy usage by a considerable amount. To build a culture of energy conservation, Mr. Markowitz wrote the “Supermarket Manager's Energy Handbook,” a simple, 12-step program for store managers. Written in layman's terms, the Handbook introduced no-cost and low-cost methodologies for reducing energy consumption. Mr. Markowitz conducted walk-through energy audits with store managers and established a store-level self-auditing system for tracking results.

RESULTS

In the first quarter of full implementation (4th quarter of FY 1998):
  • The entire chain reduced energy usage by nearly 5.5 percent
  • Several stores reduced usage by more than 15 percent
  • In less than six months, total chain-wide cost avoidance savings attributable to this one program exceeded $750,000

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Cutting Energy Costs for a Supermarket Chain by $500,000 through Creative Negotiations

SITUATION

The Massachusetts electric utility industry was deregulated in late 1998, paving the way for large organizations to negotiate reduced energy rates. Energy manager Gary Markowitz proposed that the New England supermarket chain with which he worked team with its national buying organization TOPCO (representing more than 3,900 member facilities nationwide) to form a national aggregation. As a precursor to a national aggregation, Markowitz conducted a regional pilot project including the New England chain and another TOPCO member. The goal was to aggregate the two chains' electrical loads and solicit an attractive offer for the electricity commodity.

SOLUTION

Mr. Markowitz developed a comprehensive, innovative bidding process that attracted some of the largest national suppliers in the electricity field. By presenting a true picture of the combined loads and physical characteristics of both chains, and encouraging prospective suppliers to provide inventive combinations of energy services, the aggregation received extremely competitive bids.

RESULTS

The merger of the New England chain with an offshore company in late 1998 made the negotiation of a multiple-year contract infeasible. Furthermore, the merger prevented the other TOPCO member in the trial to continue due to competitive complications. (Although, using the knowledge and bid documents they acquired from Mr. Markowitz, the other chain negotiated a one-year contract with substantial savings.) In light of these changes, Mr. Markowitz was still able to negotiate a favorable one-year deal for the New England chain, netting more than $500,000 in cost avoidance savings. In summary, Mr. Markowitz was able to conclude a difficult negotiation to the benefit of both TOPCO members. A creative bid process, coupled with aggressive negotiation and persistent communication with suppliers and corporate management, resulted in highly favorable electricity rates for both companies.

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Putting Gas Deregulation to a Client's Advantage: How Kilojolts Helped A National Retailer Avoid Close to $1 Million in Cost

SITUATION

The Client, a leading candle designer, manufacturer, and retailer had recently gone public and was seeking innovative ways to rein in operating costs and maximize shareholder value. Management was particularly anxious to cut soaring energy costs, especially natural gas. The company had installed a thermal oxidizer to remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) from the exhaust air at its manufacturing plant, and anticipated a dramatic increase in natural gas usage. When Kilojolts approached the organization in early 2000 to discuss its energy management needs, it was ready to take action. The company was interested in addressing a number of energy management and conservation issues, but since its first priority was natural gas, which had been deregulated in the state since 1996, Kilojolts tackled the gas project first.

SOLUTION

Kilojolts initiated a fast track process for renegotiating the Client's gas contract. He believed natural gas prices were about to skyrocket and knew he had to move quickly to secure the most favorable price.

The Process
  • Kilojolts issued a full Request for Proposal (RFP) to six pre-qualified suppliers. KCG was seeking not only a gas supplier but an energy partner who would also be interested in alternative energy technologies, electricity supply, conservation, and demand control strategies
  • When the initial bids came in, the top suppliers were all within 5% of one another on cost. Therefore, the negotiation process centered on which company could best provide value-added energy services as well as work with the Client to insulate it from nomination/balancing penalties.
  • With the natural gas market fluctuating day by day, two finalists were invited to make in-person presentations and to “sharpen their pencils” on the bid.
  • After an intense negotiation process, Select Energy of Berlin, CT was chosen as the winning bidder. Select immediately locked in the Client's Basis pricing, the service portion of transporting natural gas over the interstate pipeline system.
  • Kilojolts advised his Client to lock in the NYMEX (the commodity cost) price only when the pricing stabilized to his client's advantage.
  • In fact, Kilojolts advised the company to lock in the NYMEX price just three days prior to an unprecedented price jump in the market in October 2000.

RESULTS

A $900,000+ Cost Avoidance!
According to the Client's Chief Financial Officer, had his company stayed with the rates charged by its local utility, instead of seeking better pricing in the deregulated marketplace, it would have paid more than $900,000 more than it did over the calendar year. In 2001, the Client returned to Kilojolts to negotiate its natural gas contract. Through this re-bid process, Kilojolts was again able to take advantage of low pricing and locked in a two-year Basis and NYMEX pricing. Select Energy was again awarded the contract. With a successful natural gas negotiation behind them, Kilojolts and its Client have begun to implement a company-wide energy awareness and conservation program to instill a culture of “energy thrift” among its 3,000 employees.

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Water Conservation Reduction at Leading Laboratory

SITUATION

Water consumption at a leading defense contractor's laboratory was on the rise due to the addition of personnel, new water treatment facilities, and the expansion of office/lab space. The Plant Engineering department, in conjunction with the Facilities Operations department (of which Kilojolts' President Gary Markowitz was a senior member), saw opportunities for reduction in water usage and, by extension, sewer usage, throughout the lab complex and its subsidiary installations

Past conservation efforts had focused on reducing water consumption in process-related uses. However, no attention had been paid to reducing water consumption for domestic uses, such as lavatories and kitchens.

The departments initiated a study to evaluate the possibilities of reducing water/sewage use. Team members reviewed water consumption records from the town's Water Department; past water conservation measures; estimates for water consumption by end-use; options for further water usage reduction; and estimates for future savings.

SOLUTION

The team implemented a number of solutions to rein in water usage at the lab complex:
Fix leaky faucets Leaky plumbing fixtures with a rate of leakage at .5 GPM for a full year wastes 351 CCF of water/year or $790/year.
Retrofit toilets Installation of a specialized product saved significant water without reducing the efficiency of the flush. Savings is typically 33% of current water usage.
Reduce flow in sinks Installation of pressure-sensitive flow restrictors on the hot and cold-water flex feeders assure that water will be delivered at the specified flow rate and pressure.

RESULTS

The lab reaped significant financial benefit from the water conservation solutions:
Total Project Cost: $37,700
Total Project Savings: $34,915 per year (1991 Dollars)
Overall simple Payback: 1.08 years
Estimated % water savings: Town A supply line 19.4%
Estimated % water savings: Town B supply line 9.8%
Overall estimated % water saved
(Both towns' supply lines vs. previous year)
14.6%
Savings Normalized
4.80 CCF/occupant/year
4.47 gallons #4 oil/occupant/year (70 % Seasonal Efficiency Boilers)

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