Energy Audit

ENERGY EFFICIENCY MATTERS

For my internship, I worked with Conservation Services Group (CSG) located in Westborough, Massachusetts, which is a non-profit, energy efficiency company that operates throughout the country. It works in collaboration with state agencies and various utility companies (including NSTAR and National Grid) by helping them  design and implement energy efficiency programs, and giving suggestions and recommendations for them to meet their energy saving goals. The utility companies then use these energy efficiency programs and have home energy specialists or auditors go into residential households and corporate buildings to give them suggestions on how to make their home/building more energy efficient  (known as a home energy assessment or audit). CSG is the top energy efficiency company in the United States of America and I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for such a prestigious and well know organization.

During my time as an intern at CSG, I worked on various projects and case studies in the marketing department of their organization. I worked on several case studies related to customer engagements and the contact center. The purpose of these case studies was mainly to try and figure out ways to make the customer engagements smoother and as timely as possible, and determine anything that might be inconvenient to the customer. I went to the contact centers and actually witnessed the process of signing a customer up for an audit or home energy assessment and what it looks like from both ends (the employee and the customer). I was also able to go on an actual home energy assessment with the auditor (or energy specialist), who was an employee of Mass Save (a partner of CSG). This gave me a perspective on what actually happens in the home energy assessments that CSG helps the utility companies design and implement. Additionally, I got to go to Boston and see the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, speak about his organization called Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. They are dedicated to “accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in Massachusetts—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts.”. This was a very enjoyable experience for me and made me feel good to know that my MA governor cares so much about helping to promote clean energies.

An environmental issue that CSG is attempting to mitigate is the rapidly growing rate of climate change. By promoting energy efficient practices and technologies, CSG is helping to reduce the amount of energy that our country is consuming. Since large amounts of energy in the US are created from fossil fuels, we consume less fossil fuels when we use less energy and emit fewer damaging greenhouse gases (GHG) into our atmosphere. Not only is CSG helping to reduce climate change but they are also saving people money in the process because by using energy efficient technologies and practices in your home you also save money on your electricity bills, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year.

My internship experience was made so much more memorable and enjoyable because of the wonderful and caring employees at CSG who made me feel that they cared about me as a person and wanted to help me succeed. They made me feel comfortable working at CSG on a daily basis which spurred me to work harder and do the best job possible in whatever was asked of me.

By Trevor MacDonald  ‘15

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major + Business Minor

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Introducing an Energy Auditing Tool to the Rhode Island Public Sector

My name is Andrew Hintlian, and I am pursuing a double major in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island. Participating in this locus of study gave me the opportunity to take part in the yearlong URI Energy Fellows Program through the Extension Outreach Center. Throughout my engagement in this internship, I worked with the Rhode Island Public Energy Partnership (RIPEP) Team. RIPEP was a three-year initiative supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) to achieve an overall energy savings of 20% throughout approximately 100 buildings in Rhode Island’s public sector. I took part in analyzing the energy usage data from about 50 of those municipal, state, school and water facilities.

Building Energy Asset Score (AST)

This past summer, I earned the opportunity to take on a lead role in the program by introducing an auditing tool to four school and municipal departments. The DOE’s Building Energy Asset Score (AST) is a free tool that uses a building’s structural data (lighting, HVAC systems, structural assemblies, etc.) to calculate an energy efficiency score. AST provides energy efficiency scores between 1 and 10, 1 meaning the building uses more energy than it should and 10 meaning it uses less energy than expected. A current and potential score are provided to highlight what the building can achieve from completing suggested projects. As part of the RIPEP initiative, I was tasked with collecting building information for at least 30 public facilities.

andrew_hintlian

Data Collection Process

To make sure we achieved our goal of collecting data for 30 buildings, we first contacted those municipalities, school districts, and state agencies that showed prior interest in the tool and a high level of engagement in the RI Public Energy Partnership. We received responses from North Kingstown School District (10 buildings), Cranston School District (5 buildings), Warwick Municipality (10 buildings), and the University of Rhode Island Capital Projects (6 buildings). Once we received feedback, I was able to schedule meetings with the community directors to rationalize the best approach in collecting data. We found the best way to collect this data was to start by viewing blueprints and upgrade schedules. If there was any missing information, we would perform on-site visits to attain the remaining building characteristics. The data was then entered into the Tool’s online database to receive scoring and efficiency reports. Once the buildings were scored, we met with customers again to discuss findings. Using the results, we offered recommendations on how to use the tool to identify next steps for energy efficiency investment

Customer Takeaways of AST

The intention of introducing this tool to the Rhode Island public sector was not necessarily to provide building results, but to show the usefulness of the tool. When presenting results, I focused on three takeaways that the customers can achieve from independent use of AST.  One benefit was the creation of a central database of building information. Through consistent use of this tool, the Asset Score compiles building structure and efficiency information into a single location accessible by the building operator with just the click of a button. Another takeaway is the fact that it can be used alongside Energy Star Portfolio Manager (PM) to provide further knowledge of the building. PM is a tool that the RIPEP Team used with our Rhode Island partners to analyze building energy consumption values through examining utility bills. Using the Asset Score alongside ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager Tool can compare how a building could be performing to how it is actually performing. The final takeaway we wanted to achieve was to streamline next steps in energy efficiency project implementation for these partners. By introducing this unique tool to this public sector, they can use its feedback to schedule preliminary energy audits directed by the results, continue using the tool as a resource for planning future projects and updating building structural characteristics, and understand changes in energy consumption over time from collaborative Portfolio Manager reports.

Working on RIPEP has helped to shape me professionally, and enhanced my familiarity with entry into the energy workforce. I knew I made the right choice with the Energy Fellows program as I got to partake in work that not only interested me, but challenged me to a large extent. I’ve also become more confident with my leadership and professional communications skills from my constant involvement around the office, work meetings, energy tabling events and trainings. My hope for the future of AST project implementation is that this program will help Rhode Island achieve a more sustainable future through improved energy awareness.

by: Andrew Hintlian

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics & Marine Affairs Double Major

December 11th, 2015

Energy Efficiency Matters

For my internship I worked with Conservation Services Group (CSG) located in Westborough, Massachusetts. CSG is an energy efficiency company that operates by working in collaboration with various utility companies and state agencies throughout the country and helps to design and implement energy efficiency programs for the utility companies to use. CSG gives suggestions and recommendations on how the utility companies can meet their energy saving goals. The utility companies fund the energy efficiency programs and CSG helps them with the implementation and design. The utility companies then use the programs and have home energy specialists or auditors go into residential households and corporate buildings and give them suggestions on how to make their home or building more energy efficient, also known as a home energy assessment or audit. CSG operates throughout the country and is a non-profit company. CSG works in collaboration with well-known utility companies such as NSTAR and National Grid. Also, CSG is actually the number one energy efficiency company in the United States and I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for such a prestigious and well-known organization.

During my time as an intern at CSG I worked on various projects and case studies in the marketing department. CSG supplied me with my own desk, laptop, computer monitor, and various desk supplies that I used to complete different projects throughout my internship. I worked on several case studies related to customer engagements and the contact center. The purposes of these case studies were mainly trying to figure out ways to make the customer engagements smoother and as timely as possible, and determine anything that might be inconvenient to the customer. I went to the contact centers and actually witnessed the process of signing a customer up for an audit or home energy assessment and what it looks like from both ends (the employee and the customer).

CSG

Also, during my internship I was able to go on an actual home energy assessment with the energy specialist, who was an employee of Mass Save (a partner of CSG). This gave me a perspective on what actually happens in the home energy assessments that CSG helps the utility companies design and implement. Additionally, I got to go to see the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, speak in Boston about his organization called Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). MassCEC “is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in Massachusetts—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts” (http://www.masscec.com/). This was a very enjoyable experience for me and made me feel good to know that my Massachusetts governor cares so much about helping to promote clean energies.

An environmental issue that CSG is attempting to mitigate is the rapidly growing rate of climate change. By promoting energy efficient practices and technologies, CSG is helping to reduce the amount of energy that our country is consuming. Since large amounts of energy in the U.S. are created from fossil fuels, when we use less energy we consume less fossil fuel and emit fewer damaging greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emissions are the number one cause of climate change. By emitting less green house gases through the conservation of energy, we are in effect slowing down climate change. Not only is CSG helping to reduce climate change but they also are saving people money in the process because by using energy efficient technologies and practices in your home you also save money on your electricity bills, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year.

What I enjoyed the most about working for CSG was all of the wonderful and caring employees that made my internship experience so much more memorable and enjoyable. After working for CSG I really got the feeling that they cared about me as a person and wanted to help me succeed. Working with such friendly and caring people really made me feel comfortable working at CSG on a daily basis and made me actually want to work harder and do the best job possible in whatever is asked of me.

By: Trevor MacDonald ‘15

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major

Business Minor

December 18th, 2014