Keep Pace with the Transforming Energy Market

In the United States, the industrial sector accounts for about one-third of the country’s total energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. On a global scale, this number grows to more than half, with the industrial sector consuming 54 percent of the world’s total delivered energy.

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Healthcare facilities are one of the top five energy-consuming commercial building types, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These facilities often have opportunities for no- or low-cost updates to improve energy efficiency, and many utilities across the United States have designed programs specifically for large campuses.

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In 2016, more than $10 billion in incentives were available as part of commercial energy efficiency programs across the U.S. and Canada. These incentives, which are primarily self-administered by approximately 3,300 utilities, all have varying requirements and specific stipulations to qualify. For businesses with multiple locations spanning multiple utility territories, managing the incentive qualifications, submission process, and payments can be complicated.

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OSF HealthCare, an 11-hospital health care system serving Illinois and part of Michigan, has been committed to reducing its energy usage for almost a decade. In fact, Ameren Illinois recognized OSF HealthCare for its efforts with the Ameren Illinois Energy Savings Projects Excellence and Environmental Award in September. But even after completing more than 140 projects to save 6,148,950 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity – enough to power 638 homes for one year – OSF HealthCare was on the hunt for more saving opportunities.

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Nearly all utilities rely on third-party contractors to promote and implement energy efficiency programs. These contractors, or trade allies, act as an extension of utility staff in order to promote, sell, and install energy efficiency products and services.

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LEDs have taken the energy efficiency industry by storm. It’s no secret that LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than any alternatives. However, for the commercial lighting sector, all LEDs are not created equal. That’s where the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) comes in.

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), industrial sector energy use accounts for more than 30 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Further, the EIA projects this percentage will continue to increase over the next 30 years. This growing energy use opens doors for substantial energy savings.

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Variable-frequency Drives (VFDs) in HVAC units currently provide one of the more effective ways organizations can invest in energy efficiency. However, companies just starting to explore this option, or unaware of its savings, need to act fast. Legislation is expected to make VFDs code, which could end the opportunity to receive energy efficiency rebates on the technology before it is mandated 

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Production and IT teams share a similar goal - to create value for their organization. Their responsibilities, however, are often at odds with each other. Production is commonly judged by the output produced, while IT is evaluated based on system uptime and cybersecurity defense.

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Most water and wastewater facilities in North America were built decades ago with little, if any, consideration or attention given to energy use or energy efficiency. Now, water and wastewater utilities spend approximately $4 billion each year on energy costs. For wastewater specifically, energy usage represents up to 30 percent of total operation and maintenance costs, and as energy costs rise so do operating costs. In fact, energy is the largest controllable cost of providing water and wastewater services to the public, so progressive wastewater agencies are recognizing the benefits energy efficiency programs can deliver at their facilities.

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