Monthly Archives: February 2018

Future of US Energy Debated Between Industry Pros and Federal Government

The Trump administration has proposed several new rules, repeal of existing rules, and other policies in order to promote coal as a fuel for power plants and to promote nuclear energy. One of their arguments is that the US grid is in a crisis and the more sources of energy the greater the resiliency and reliability of the grid, which will help the economy grow. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy requested that older power plants receive federal subsidies to continue to operate and to enable others to store up to 90 days of fuel on site to enhance reliability given problems with the grid.

In the latest budget proposal, the Trump Administration recommended a decrease in federal funding of renewable energy from about $2 billion to about $0.5 billion, by 72%. Most of this decline would be sharp reductions in research spending, including an 82% cut to research on fuel efficient vehicles, an 82% cut on research into bioenergy technologies, and a 78% cut for solar energy technology research. Congress must approve this for it to go into effect. The Administration proposed a similar large cut in renewable energy programs in the previous year, but it was rejected by Congress.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), many members the president had appointed, rejected the arguments about grid reliability. In January, FERC voted down the idea of subsidies for coal-firing, saying that keeping alive older and less efficient plants would not improve reliability. Promoting such energy sources would put the US and its businesses at a disadvantage compared to other countries which promote more competitive energy sources, such as green energy and natural gas, to their businesses.

FERC argued that the grid is not facing a crisis, and that subsidies or preferred treatment for coal or nuclear plants would hurt a competitive electricity market and drive up costs for businesses and consumers. FERC went on to say that it should not favor any market that is costly and non-competitive. FERC also said that current US problems with the grid do not originate from sources of fuel, but, rather, from transmission shortcomings, such as downed power lines. The commission did go on to say that there is room for improvement of the nation’s grid and asked regional transmission organizations and independent system operators for their ideas on improvement.

The Trump Administration has been working to repeal many Obama-era environmental regulations that would hurt coal-fired power plants, combat climate change, and reduce subsidies for renewable power. In many cases, they have succeeded. However, many major US businesses support not only the Clean Power Plan, which President Trump is attempting to repeal but also the Paris Climate Agreement, which the President has announced the US will withdraw from. Such major firms include Alcoa, Berkshire Hathaway, DowDupont, EMC Corp., and General Motors.

CCES can help your firm become both energy efficient and more flexible in terms of the fuel sources it uses to benefit your bottomline. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Reducing Water Usage Saves Energy, Too

While the focus of this blog has been on energy use and demand and greenhouse gas emission reductions, it should not be forgotten that an effective sustainability and self-improvement plan addresses other issues, such as water conservation, solid waste generation (or lack thereof), etc. A recent study indicated that while California was just short of meeting its goal of a 25% water use reduction in 2015, when most of the state was in a severe drought, the policies implemented in the program did result in additional benefits. See

Coming off a four-year drought, California ultimately reduced water usage by 524,000 million gallons. In addition, it was determined that this action resulted in a decrease in electricity usage of about 1,830 GWh, which exceeded electricity savings achieved by investor-owned electricity utilities’ efficiency programs during the same period. In addition, significant declines were seen in natural gas and oil usage for generators in water service. This also resulted in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of about 524,000 metric tons of CO2e.

California implemented a Water Action Plan, with strict guidelines for continuing to manage water use in the state. These guidelines were localized to the needs of the state’s 410 urban water suppliers. Businesses and homeowners have and will continue to face restrictions such as bans on wasteful practices such as hosing sidewalks and watering lawns after rain. Strict planning, measurement of water use, and reporting were also required.

These results should not be a surprise as previous inventories have indicated that water transportation, treatment, distribution and end-use consumption account for 19% of total electricity demand in California. With significantly less water to manage and use, electricity demand would be expected to and did decline.
This can be a lesson for other states, counties, and communities that wish or need to decrease total energy usage and/or greenhouse gas emissions. Reduced water usage (particularly, reduced waste) will lead to significant energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

CCES has the experts to help your entity reduce water, as well as energy, usage waste and maximize the financial gains for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation discussion about the matter at 914-584-6720 or at

Condenser Coil Cleaning: Low-Cost Option To Save Energy

By Richard Fennelly, CoilPod, LLC

The vast majority of building owners who have invested 5 or 6 figures for good, reliable roof-top heating and/or cooling units do not invest so wisely in the area of maintenance. Many operators have informal or no maintenance procedures to ensure that the equipment you paid so much for will operate properly, at a high efficiency, and for a long time before needing replacement. One common, but critical, example are self-contained condenser coils that are not cleaned on a regular basis under a preventative maintenance protocol. They are allowed to run dirty, causing more electric usage than necessary to operate. This is not just wasteful, but in an age of rising energy costs, needlessly expensive. Investing in cleaning the coils will result in significant energy cost savings.

One refrigeration expert recently stated: “Eighty percent of operators do nothing, no maintenance, ever. Maybe 20% do some, but not enough”. Source: Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

Coils need cleaning at least quarterly for the following benefits:
(a) reduced electrical usage;
(b) reduced service calls; and
(c) prolonged equipment life.
Dirty coils are the main reason for service calls. With routine quarterly maintenance, operators have virtually no breakdowns. Sources: Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), San Ramon, CA and Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

And, of course, this leads to cost savings. Exemplary yearly savings per unit if the coils are clean: Electric energy savings of from $220 to $625, depending on the type and size of unit (or from about 46% to 50% electric savings). Source: Cool Savings Project – FSTC and the City of San Francisco.

What is the best way to clean coils? Compressed air can quickly and effectively remove deeply deposited dirt/debris deep inside the coil’s structure. Source: CoilPod LLC (manufacturer of the COILPOD dust hood – described at The data presented below was developed by the Food Service Technology Center (San Ramon, CA)/City of San Francisco Environment Department and announced at the RFMA (Restaurant Facility Managers Association) and CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association) 2015 annual conventions. The electric rate used was at $0.11/KwH:

Double Door Merchandiser (6 yrs old): Dirty: $1,325/year/unit
Clean: $700/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 89.3% = $625/year/unit

Larger Double Door Fridge:                     Dirty: 24 kwh/day/unit = $950 /year/unit
Clean: 13 kwh/day/unit = $517/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 83.8% = $433/year/unit

Single Door Freezer:                                   Dirty: $546/year/unit
Clean: $289 /year/unit
Wasted Electric: 88.9% = $257/year/unit

Double Glass Door Fridge:                          Dirty: $439/year/unit
Clean: $219/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 100.5% = $220/year/unit

Similar energy usage reductions and cost savings were observed from other restaurant equipment whose coils were cleaned regularly, as presented at the 2015 RFMA meeting.

In August 2017, a summary report was released stating that a total of 10 units were examined with coil cleaning giving savings ranging widely from 2% to 49%, with the average being 17%, representing savings of $138/year-unit at $0.11/KwH. The electric rates in the NYC Metropolitan area and other large cities are significantly higher than this, meaning potential cost savings would be higher.

CoilPod, LLC is a major vendor in the coil cleaning industry. Their compressed air system helps to maintain coils and have them work optimally, using less electricity, reducing costs.

CoilPod Contact: Richard Fennelly,, 914-819-8937, for more information.

U.S. Saving Energy And Reducing GHG Emissions – By Staying Home

Because of changes in technology and culture, Americans are spending more time home than ever before. Working from home, shopping online, streaming movies (instead of going to the movie theater), even “staycations” and otherwise “chilling”, Americans are travelling less and a new study shows that this has made a difference in our carbon footprint. See

New research suggests that these new technologies and their acceptance enable Americans to spend more time home, reducing energy use, and, with it greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Researchers found that, on average, Americans spent 7.8 more days at home in 2012, compared to 2003. For people 18 to 24, it is 14 more days at home and 4 days less time travelling in a year. They calculated that this reduced time going to work, the mall, restaurants, etc. reduced national energy demand by 1,700 trillion BTUs in 2012, or 1.8% of total energy use.

The reduction in time travelling appears to have the greatest impact on energy saved and GHG emissions reduced, as energy intensity of travelling is 20 times greater than staying at home. Even the time Americans travel is more efficient than in the past, saving energy. Decades ago when most families had a breadwinner and a homemaker, the worker commuted to work and returned straight home, while the homemaker would go out shopping. Now it is more common that the person returning from work stops off at the store to buy some things on the same return trip. This reduces total miles travelled.

The trend is certainly solid of more and more firms allowing workers to work from home. Online services and video conferencing allow the worker to be as efficient at home where the energy intensity is lower than in most offices. At the same time, companies are saving money and energy by consolidating office space. The growth in the U.S. of entrepreneurs working at home instead of renting space is another likewise trend.

One additional growing HR trend that appears to be increasing energy use is the nearly doubling of part-time workers in the U.S. during this period. More employers are hiring people on a part-time basis only, and many workers survive by holding more than one part-time job, raising the potential commuting distance and time and, thus, energy use.

CCES has the expertise to help your company manage and reduce energy use by the design of your facility and audit and upgrade of your energy using equipment. We can examine your operations and advice you on how to take advantage as employee counts change. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at