Category Archives: Air Pollution

Interest In New Gensets Is Growing

The number of facilities choosing to generate their own electricity using generators or “gensets” is growing. Companies are recognizing that the physical and business impacts of even one severe storm can undo all the planning a business does and even wipe out or severely hurt the business. In addition, with the acceptance of climate change as real the chances of a severe storm impacting a facility will rise in the future. A facility having its own secure source of electricity independent of the grid and its wires and vulnerable infrastructure can better ensure that basic functions can be maintained in a storm, saving personnel and processes and having electricity to maintain operations during such events. As a result, the genset market has been growing.

Part of this growth is due to another phenomenon, some utilities provide financial incentives for facilities to procure and operate gensets to relieve them as they are unsure of reliable power and don’t want to hurt key users in their area. In addition, several such programs require the genset operator to go off the utility’s grid and operate the genset for distinct periods during peak demand periods (hot weather) to relieve pressure on the grid. These programs, often called “Demand Response” or DR, can be lucrative for facilities. The utility pays most of the capital cost of the genset, the facility fully owns it, and they get paid a fee each time a DR event occurs and a genset is used.

One complication of such programs, however, is environmental. The federal Clean Air Act, followed by nearly all states, specifically exempts from permitting and meeting emission standards gensets that are used only in emergencies (this includes the necessary regular exercising of a unit). However, once a facility uses a genset in a DR program, this exemption goes away. Therefore, facilities entertaining joining a DR program must set aside budget and effort to obtain the proper air permit (or modify its existing one) and comply with any applicable emission standard. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is the most common pollutant that is regulated. If the NOx emissions of your genset exceeds the regulatory standard, it may be necessary to retrofit the unit with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) or equivalent technology. The cost of such a retrofit can approach 6 figures. The USEPA designates models as meeting certain “tiered” standards. Tier 4 gensets are the most advanced and will likely currently meet all applicable emission regulations. Tier 3 gensets probably meet most of them. Tier 2 units probably do not meet many of them, again, if applicable. So if you are procuring a new genset, look to invest in a Tier 4 which should meet all applicable NOx emission standards. Particulate matter (PM) is sometimes regulated, too. A sure way to meet any PM standard is to combust natural gas, not to mention it is currently cheaper than oil. Natural gas-fired gensets are particularly selling well these days.

Finally, another variation of the genset that many facilities are considering is combined heat and power or CHP, where both steam and electricity are produced by the unit. The improvement in efficiency can save significant fuel costs. It is important for an experienced engineer to evaluate whether your demand for both steam and electricity and when the demand occurs will make CHP a good investment.

CCES can help your firm determine whether a genset or a CHP can be beneficial for you, as well as manage its procurement, installation, testing, and use to maximize the financial benefits. We can determine likely financial costs and savings. We can perform the needed environmental permitting and determine whether it meets existing applicable emission limits. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Growing Proof That Improved Indoor Quality Results in Healthier Occupants

Harvard University scientists recently published an article in the journal Building and Environment summarizing 30 years of public health research demonstrating that improved indoor environmental quality directly results in better health outcomes. “The Impact of Working in a Green-Certified Building on Cognitive Function and Health” by MacNaughton, Satish, Laurent, Flanigan, Vallarino, Coull, Spengler, and Allen, Building and Environment 114 (2017) 178-186

One recent research project utilized 109 participants from 10 buildings in 5 different US cities that met ASHRAE Standard 62.1 (2010) ventilation requirements and had low indoor total volatile organic compound concentrations. In each city, buildings were matched over time by tenant, type of worker, and work functions. Buildings were distinguished concerning whether they had achieved green certification. Workers were administered a cognitive function test of higher order decision-making performance twice during the same week while indoor environmental quality parameters were monitored. Workers in green-certified buildings scored 26% higher on cognitive function tests, controlling for annual earnings, job category and level of schooling, and had 30% fewer sick building symptoms than those workers in non-certified buildings.

These outcomes may be explained by a number of indoor environmental quality factors which certified green buildings must meet, such as temperature control and lighting. However, the findings suggest that the benefits of green certification standards go beyond measurable environmental quality factors. The researchers have given the name “buildingomics” to describe the holistic approach for examining the complexity of factors in a building that influence human health. They believe further research will identify how these different factors lead to positive cognitive and health results.

In response to this growing trend, the USGBC has recently developed and issued new building standards to maximize indoor environmental quality known as WELL. The first buildings are being evaluated for whether they meet WELL standards and the first practitioners are studying for and becoming accredited as WELL professionals. See: https://www.wellcertified.com/

CCES is growing our expertise about WELL, as well, and can provide for you information about the standards and be able to provide insight and perform a study to demonstrate whether your existing or planned building meets WELL standards and, if not, what can be done to meet the WELL certification standards, including estimated costs to achieve WELL, and to maximize the health and financial benefits of WELL certification. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Breathe Easier: What To Do About Indoor Air Pollution By Jackie Edwards

If you think about air pollution, your mind conjures up images of smog, fog and busy city streets. You don’t necessarily imagine that your home or workplace could be a major perpetrator of pollution, that could actually be one of the main factors contributing to conditions like asthma, COPD, and even skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. It is estimated that the indoor air we breathe could be between two and five times more toxic than the air we breathe outdoors. Given that productivity loss due to sick time off is a growing issue for workplaces, how did it get to be such a problem, and how can we address it?

Household items are part of the problem

While the main causes of indoor air pollution are combustion related, one only need to look deeper into the home or office to find more surprising causes of such issues. Items such as furniture, carpets and flooring, and personal care products – everything from shampoos and hairspray through to air fresheners and cleaning products. https://www.budgethomeservices.com/the-air-in-your-home-is-dirtier-than-outside-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

They all have the potential to contribute to indoor air pollution.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018511/

Air pollution explained

The USEPA rates outdoor air pollution using a scale on the Air Quality Index, or AQI. The levels are registered as follows:
Good = 0 to 50
Moderate = 51 to 100
Unhealthy for sensitive groups = 101 to 150
Unhealthy = 151 to 200
Very unhealthy = 201 to 300
Hazardous = 301 to 500

Outdoor air in most urban places in the U.S. falls in the 100-150 range.

At risk groups

Unsurprisingly, it is children and the elderly who are most at risk from indoor air pollution, as active children breathe in more (polluted) air per body weight than adults and seniors have weakened defenses. Conditions like asthma are the ones that are more likely to keep children out of school than any other. Mold and mildew in damp classrooms can also contribute to indoor air pollution and breathing difficulties.

Similarly, the elderly can also be troubled greatly by chronic breathing problems, that are contributed to by unclean air, particularly if they live in sheltered accommodation or are living in a care home where heating has to be on to a high level and at all times of the day.

But even working age adults are vulnerable to illnesses caused by indoor air pollutants and could lose significant time at work or suffer pre-mature death if not addressed.

How do we address these issues?

One of the key ways to help solve these issues is proper and adequate ventilation throughout the home or workplace. Keeping doors and windows open or on a vent facility to keep air circulating all the time can be of real benefit. While commercial buildings are designed for a constant ventilation flow, sometimes such systems do not work or are not optimal. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/improving-indoor-air-quality

However, that’s not the only thing you can do:
• Make sure any appliances that are flammable are adequately ventilated.

• If you have a clothes drier, make sure there is no blockage and it ventilates the dust outside rather than inside.

• Storage of chemicals, paints, inks, garden poisons, and kerosene or gasoline should be kept strictly away from where workers spend the most time or any living quarters, preferably locked in a safe space outside.

• Try not to overuse candles, smoke indoors or the grill on your oven

• After you’ve bathed or showered, open your windows and keep them like this for at least forty-five minutes, but preferably longer.

• Adding air filters to bedroom spaces can make a difference to people at both ends of the age spectrum who suffer from breathing problems, as can installing a professional HVAC system to your home.

New, Supplemental and Complementary Green Building Standards: WELL

The most widely used green building rating system in the world is LEED, created by the US Green Business Council (USGBC). LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and the standards provide guidance to help building owners and managers conserve energy and water, reduce waste, and minimize building and occupants’ environmental impacts. LEED has been well received and more and more new and renovated buildings are becoming LEED certified. Building owners are beginning to reap real, significant financial benefits of their LEED-certified buildings.

However, for some LEED is a standard with limited benefits. Some company and building owners realize that their tenants, whether residents, employees, shoppers, or students, are more concerned with their health. Can buildings contain features that will improve the health and welfare of occupants, making them happier and more productive, as well as raising the asset value or driving demand for the space?

The USGBC has addressed this by publishing such unique standards called WELL Building Standards, or “WELL” for short. WELL consists of features across seven concepts that comprehensively address the design and operations of buildings as well as how these features impact and influence human behaviors related to health and well-being. The seven concepts addressed in WELL standards include:

• Air
• Water
• Nourishment
• Light
• Fitness
• Comfort
• Mind

Like LEED, WELL standards contain mandatory pre-requisites across these areas that all WELL-certified buildings must meet at a minimum, as well as a point system that must be satisfied for WELL certification. These standards to improve the health and well-being of occupants include, but are not limited to, proper ventilation, reducing the level of indoor air pollutants, improving drinking water quality, reducing infiltration of water, promoting the use of natural light, and having specific building areas devoted to improve fitness and relaxation. Like LEED, WELL has a system to accredit professional practitioners, so having an accredited WELL professional on your certification team means being professionally guided to achieve WELL certification. Innovation in design and building operation to optimize meeting WELL standards is also rewarded.

WELL is a new program, and the first initial projects are being undertaken now and the first professionals accredited. How much will a WELL-certified building benefit a business, in terms of worker health, reduced sick days, improved productivity, etc.? The data will be collected and we will soon be able to validate the claims. However, there is no question that the common sense standards can only succeed in reducing sick days, improving both health and morale, and raise confidence and motivation, critical in sales.

If you are interested in learning more about WELL standards, learning whether this is the yardstick that is best for your building or business, and determining what it takes to become WELL-certified, contact Ms. Bonnie Hagen of Bright Energy Services today at bonnie@brightenergyservcies.com or at 914-425-1376 or Marc Karell of CCES at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Environmental Risk and Compliance in Aftermath of an Emergency

How do we treat environmental compliance in an area hit by an emergency? Do we suspend environmental rules and procedures as people and land recover? Or do we treat it as nothing has happened? The recent tragedies of Harvey and Irma put this question in perspective.

As Hurricane Harvey left destruction throughout southeast Texas, it was natural to allow residents to return to their homes as soon as it became passable to make their way back. However, was it safe to let people return so quickly?
The USEPA reported that over a week after Harvey hit Texas, over 800 wastewater treatment plants were still not fully operational and there were releases of untreated wastewater from sanitary sewers. 13 Superfund sites in the hardest hit areas were not even visited yet by the USEPA, although it was likely that the flood waters carried some toxic material with them. Over 100,000 people had no access to safe drinking water weeks after Harvey hit. Was it safe to allow people to return without a basic assessment of these issues? Did the government put the residents at further risk of health impacts by allowing a premature return? Remember how in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the affected area was declared “safe”, and many rescue workers came, only to face debilitating health effects in the future because the air still had high concentrations of ash and other toxic compounds.

In addition, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Governor Greg Abbott suspended many environmental rules, such as waiving the requirement to operate pollution control equipment and regulating operations at different types of facilities on the theory that these efforts could hamper the recovery from the hurricane. These suspensions include air emission and effluent restrictions, as well as performing certain operations, maintenance, testing, and reporting and spill reporting and response requirements of hazardous waste, of which the heavy rains and winds carried outside of containment areas into areas where people may be exposed. Texas also issued guidance allowing local authorities to perform whatever recovery activities it believes will be most effective, even if there are environmental implications. It should be noted that this applies to state rules only, and does not apply to federal rules.

The scope of the suspension is only applicable where normal operations are unsafe due to the conditions and compliance would prevent or hinder actions needed to recover in coping with this disaster. The suspension is only valid in the areas hit by Harvey and only for the time that the area is considered a disaster area.

However, was this the proper decision? Might suspending rules and procedures increase the environmental impact and the risk of exposure to pollutants in the air, water, and solid areas?

Further study will determine whether these were risky decisions or prudent given the circumstances. Lessons will be learned.

CCES can help your firm assess the technical aspects of compliance with and risk from environmental regulations in your state and locality. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Some Environmental Legal Updates – August 2017

Things change so quickly, but here are a few new items that have gone on this summer. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had been very vocal about how he feels EPA regulations have hurt industry and job creation. Since taking office, he has quietly begun an effort to repeal or not to enforce several Obama-era environmental rules.

On July 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nixed EPA Administrator’s Scott Pruitt’s attempt to delay a rule limiting methane leaks at oil and gas facilities. The rule requires companies digging for natural gas to plug leaks of methane, which would help them recover natural gas they can sell, as well as reduce emissions of a potent greenhouse gas and air pollutant. As part of his effort to ease regulations for industry, Pruitt decided, instead of having the rule repeal, to instead achieve the same end by suspending the rule’s compliance deadlines. The EPA had argued that the Clean Air Act allowed the EPA to do this (temporarily suspend a rule) while considering objections that could not have been raised prior to the rule’s issuance. However, the court found the claim to be false. The objections were clearly shown to have been raised earlier.

Pruitt’s actions to repeal or reduce enforcement of rules have been done very quietly without proper public notice or comment. The Administrative Procedure Act requires EPA to seek and respond to public input before taking major deregulatory steps. But Pruitt has been attempting to bypass that requirement by suspending rules indefinitely without public comment, instead of repealing them. Suspension can only occur for rules before they go into effect. Therefore, he has been successful in only suspending rules that had just been promulgated at the end of the Obama Administration, but had not gone into effect yet.

Once a rule goes into effect, elements of the rule, such as what is compliance and when it goes into effect cannot be suspended or altered without a request for public comment, and serious review of such comment. This has not stopped the EPA from suspending compliance deadlines for several rules after those rules went into effective.

On July 18, 2017, the EPA published in the Federal Register its proposed rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2019. (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-07-21/pdf/2017-14632.pdf). The proposed volume requirements represent decreases from current standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and renewable fuel. Only the requirements for renewable fuel is essentially the same in 2018 and 2019 compared to 2017. Comments on the proposed rule must be received by August 31, 2017.

While the proposed reduction in the amount of renewable fuel is relatively small, many in the biofuels industry are concerned that it sends the signal to the market that the U.S. renewable fuel industry will no longer grow. The proposed volume requirements may undercut the Administration’s goal of reducing U.S. reliance on foreign energy and reviving U.S. manufacturing, despite President Trump’s repeated pledge to support the ethanol industry.

Please note that this should not be considered a legal interpretation in any way. For further information, speak to a qualified environmental legal representative to fully understand new or modified rules and how they may affect you and your firm. CCES has the technical experts to help you keep abreast of new rule changes at the federal and state level and how to address them to impact you as little as possible. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

It Is Not Only Climate Change; Evidence That U.S. Toxic Air Pollution Still Harms Many

Of course, Climate Change is a big news item. How can it not be? The entire scientific community is in agreement that mechanisms are in place that will cause drastic changes to our climate and, therefore, our whole economy and way of life in a relatively short time. And President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement has heightened the concern. Many in the media, when addressing Climate Change, show pictures of people walking around with masks over the faces and or stacks with large quantities of colored smoke escaping into the atmosphere. That has little to do with Climate Change. In fact, what it represents is a different, serious problem, and that is emissions of toxic air pollutants which can affect the health of people downwind of a source. While the U.S. has made great strides in the last 40 years of bringing down the ambient levels of many toxic compounds, a June 2017 study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that toxic air pollution is still a major problem, and leads to the premature deaths of thousands of Americans each year. See: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1702747. This is particularly true for the pollutants ozone and PM-10 (fine particulate matter).

The study estimates that about 12,000 lives can be prolonged annually by reducing the ambient level of fine particulate matter by 1 microgram per cubic meter below the current USEPA standards. The Clean Air Act requires the USEPA to revisit emission standards of criteria pollutants every 5 years, and adjust them accordingly based on the latest scientific knowledge. A House Committee recently passed a bill slowing down the oversight to once every 10 years.

A recent article in Scientific American (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-other-reason-to-shift-away-from-coal-air-pollution-that-kills-thousands-every-year/) discusses this in detail, and recommends continuing the movement to shift away from coal-fired power plants to natural gas. This trend has been touted as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus, addressing Climate Change. However, the article points out that these benefits are actually minor because increased digging for natural gas and other leaks leads to greater methane emissions, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The article points out that replacing coal-fired with natural gas-fired power plants would be more effective extending live, reducing hospitalizations, which would save the US economy tens of billions of dollars each year in hospital costs and productivity gains.

Yes, let’s focus on Climate Change because of the extreme, irreversible changes that are likely to occur if not properly addressed. But let’s remember that while the U.S. has made progress, there is still a ways to go to further protect public health in the U.S. and worldwide due to toxic compounds that are emitted from the same sources.

CCES has the experience to assess your emissions inventory and to develop a cost-effective plan to reduce emissions to meet regulatory requirements and improve your impacts. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Be Careful Of What We Say In Environmental Communications

There has been a lot of talk and concern about the lack of scientific thought in many of the pronouncements of the Trump Administration. Scientific facts are discarded and simplistic non-truths are becoming the backbone of some decisions in the energy, environmental, and health areas. I don’t mean to play politics here, but this seems to be predominantly the doing of the “Tea Party” and other right-wing groups, trying to deny the validity of climate change and the importance of environmental stewardship, all in the name of “small” government or short-term economic and jobs growth.

As an engineer and citizen, I feel this is terrible. But, this has been well-covered, and I don’t wish to “pile on” here. I do want to note that this is not unique to the right wing of the US political spectrum. I have seen examples of scare tactics and lack of reasoning from the left wing environmental community, also. We need to be vigilant and hold all sides accountable. Everyone (right or left) is entitled to their opinions, but not their facts.

What brings this to mind is an environmental group local to where I live (which shall remain nameless) which puts out many misleading emails and articles, that a common situation is so untenable, that it will lead to public health or environmental disaster. The other thing they do is attack a certain facility or process, demanding it be shut down without discussing what would replace it.

I know the person who runs the organization. She’s smart and has quite a personal story. I have tremendous respect for her. But she has only superficial knowledge of environmental matters, and, again, feels that everything is a tragedy about to happen.

A few years ago, we both gave presentations at a local environmental event. I gave an overview for the general public about what climate change is and what scientists know about it. In explaining greenhouse gases, I stated the fact that GHGs are not in and of themselves toxic even at elevated concentrations, but cause the trapping of radiation to conserve energy from leaving into outer space. We have lived in balance with a certain GHG concentration in the atmosphere, but now are affecting it adversely. Afterwards, she took me aside and berated me for saying anything “positive” about GHGs. They were the bad guys, in her view, and needed to be seen as such. I challenged her to find any published article that states that GHGs have direct toxic effects and I’ll personally apologize to the event organizer and reach out to every attendee with a correction. She never did (of course). I told her the only way we can fight climate change effectively is for the public to fully understand the topic. It is not simple (“good guy” vs. “bad guy”) with a simple solution if only governments understood as she does.

Her organization is sponsoring a movie about zero waste and she put out an email about it and advocating the shutdown of our county’s waste-to-energy facility. It releases toxic compounds, she wrote, affecting all our health. We are in a dangerous area with high ozone and particulate levels. We must shut down the facility ASAP.

There are so many holes to her arguments. Zero waste is a great concept; I am for it. However, cities (San Francisco comes to mind) have had this as a formal goal and spent millions to research and implement and has failed. This is not something that will be achieved overnight. Even if the techniques and technologies are developed to do so, there is always the implementation by cities, counties, etc. and the willingness of the public to use them (many don’t like change or an added expense). As for the waste-to-energy facility, yes, it is certainly not emissions-free, but it operates under a Title V Permit which mandates compliance with several state and federal air quality rules specific for such facilities, developed with public health in mind. It has continuous emission monitors and does annual testing to ensure these emission standards are met.

The county that the facility is in (as well as where the movie is being shown) was recently moved from severe to moderate ozone non-attainment, and has not had an exceedance in nearly 3 years. Besides, it has been demonstrated that most of the ozone forerunners come from sources many miles upwind of our county. This facility is not the cause of the current ozone non-attainment, nor would shutting it down solve this. The county meets the particulate attainment standard (why did they say it does not?).

Finally, the statement from the group demands the immediate shut down of the facility. Fine. But what would one do with the garbage? The alternative is to truck it to a landfill, hundreds of miles away. Given the size of the facility, that would mean hundreds of trucks traveling this distance daily, combusting diesel fuel oil. The use of any fossil fuel is another frequent target of their attack. So they are indirectly promoting a solution they oppose. Conveniently not mentioned in the email! Not to mention this alternative would require many workers to be in contact with the waste, risking their health. And not to mention the methane gas and other pollutants potentially emitted from the landfill. Methane is 21 times more potent than the CO2 emitted from the waste-to-energy facility.

So, we in the environmental community also need to be careful what we say in our writings. That what we say and write is scientifically grounded, thorough, and accurate; is not wishful thinking nor simplistic; and that alternative scenarios are thought through.

I am curious your thoughts and experiences. Please let me know what you think of this.

CCES can help your company develop a science-based, effective environmental and energy program that can meet achievable goals and can help you communicate this with the public and with regulators. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com

Simple Step To Make Your Workplace (and Home) More Safe and Sustainable

A very simple step you can do to make your workplace more sustainable, healthier, and, ultimately save money is to purchase and use less toxic cleaning supplies. Such a move does not involve great technical planning or effort nor upfront payments. It is simply changing Purchasing policy to regularly purchase only less toxic cleaning supplies.

Cleaning itself is a critical part of any warehouse or industrial facility – or, even a paper-pushing office. Removal of bacteria, fungi, spilled chemicals, etc. rarely occurred in history, as it was not until the 19th century we knew of the “germ” theory that many diseases were caused by microorganisms. Cleaning of any surface, room, carpeting, walls, etc. is important in the maintenance of a well-functioning workplace, and thus, it is important to purchase and use effective cleaning solutions, which also reduces odors, which can be annoying and distracting for workers, and, in some cases, toxic.

The problem is that cleaning detergents, antibacterial cleaning agents, and chemical fragrances used regularly for these functions leave chemicals behind on surfaces, such as walls, floors, desks, equipment, toilets, and countertops. Many of these chemicals are volatile, evaporating into the indoor air we breathe, entering our lungs and blood stream which transport them around our body. Remember, these are effective cleaning solutions because they kill microorganisms; these same compounds can easily get inside us, possibly harming cells and organs and can stay in our bodies for some time. Growing public health literature links some of these compounds to cancer and other diseases. Given the amount of time we stay home, exposure at home to such compounds lead to many calls into poison control centers or emergency rooms.

And if that is not enough of a worry, the USEPA, which is supposed to address and regulate the use of toxic compounds in our environment, has not done a good job overall. TSCA, the main applicable regulation, has only tested and regulated about 1% of the estimated 80,000 potentially toxic compounds in cleaning solutions. States and consumer groups have tried to pick up the slack, but there are still many compounds common in home and office cleaners whose potential effects are not clearly understood.

Fortunately, growing demand has resulted in new alternative products that do a fine job of cleaning surfaces, while using less or non-toxic compounds. It is worth researching what is available, how well they work, and on what surfaces or problem areas. Once acceptable cleaning solutions are found, maintain the list and implement a Purchasing policy that only those brands are procured and used in the future. No hassle, no planning or major expenditure. It all becomes a part of your company’s everyday policy.

And a good way to improve the health, productivity and attendance of your workers, which always makes economic and sustainability sense.

CCES has the experts to help your firm develop and implement policies that will improve your local environment, reduce energy use, and improve productivity. Contact us to discuss today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Out-of-the-Box Approaches To Saving Energy

Many articles in this blog/newsletter have been written with conventional approaches to save energy: mainly on new technologies, or applications of old technologies, or behavioral or operational changes. I hope you have taken them seriously, implemented some, and reaped the benefits. If you haven’t, it’s never too late!
But there are other, unconventional approaches – some you have thought about in other contexts – that can successfully save energy, as well. One is using advanced scheduling and resource planning applications and software. This may be relevant to you in order to better utilize resources and staff, to better distribute inventory, to better produce product. But improved scheduling and organization can also save energy. An excellent article in a recent Chemical Engineering Progress discusses this concept well: https://www.aiche.org/resources/publications/cep/2017/march/improve-production-scheduling-increase-energy-efficiency.

Advanced production scheduling (APS) software uses mathematical algorithms and logic to optimize the use of inputs (resources, equipment, and labor) to develop schedules to optimize production or inventory given constraints. By improving equipment effectiveness, reducing changeover and startup timing, and improving supply chain utilization, not only can a facility schedule more effectively and predictably, but it can also save resources. And among the resources saved by more efficient scheduling of processes is energy and, as an extension, energy costs, as well.

Therefore, look into upgrading your scheduling processes, including obtaining the best APS software available for maximum benefits.

Another newer technology that can save energy and costs, but not thought of that way, is the driverless car, something that will likely soon be implemented. Of course, a lot of publicity about driverless cars centers on safety. Can one be driven safely in one’s neighborhood or across the country without an accident (or very few)? One thing that is forgotten is that with software and algorithms, controlling a car (and not a human with limitations and performing actions based on emotions) becomes more direct. The software can determine the true route of the shortest distance travelled, not the guess of a person. The software can control the movement of the car so that it is consistent and has fewer stops and starts. All this should lead to improved gasoline mileage and with that, gasoline costs saved, not to mention air pollution impacts reduced, too. Multiply this by millions of cars driven this way, it could lead to a great savings in overall gasoline or diesel usage worldwide (and improved air quality on the ground level). This is of particular interest in the trucking industry, which would look favorably of reducing labor and fuel usage.

CCES has the experts to help your entity find ways to save energy and energy costs, whether through conventional, proven technical upgrades of existing systems, changes in behavior, or “out-of-the-box” approaches. Contact us for more information today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.