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

Trump Administration Repeals Obama-era Fracking Rules

The Trump Administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Registry on December 29, 2017 a revision to reverse a 2015 rule that contained strict standards for how one performs hydraulic fracking on public lands.

For the Administration, this is part of their ongoing effort to rollback regulations and to encourage domestic energy production that will reduce energy costs for businesses.
This final rule is a rescission of most of the Obama-era rule whose effective date was June 24, 2015, which contained standards for fracking operations on public lands, including identifying the chemicals and the nature of the mixture of water, sand and chemicals injected to loosen shale oil and gas from rocks where it has adhered. It also contains standards to reduce the chance of contact between the mixture and underground supplies of drinking water.
This brings the debate about fracking back to the fore.

While oil and gas companies and their supporters want greater freedom to perform fracking operations, environmentalists were split. Some wanted an absolute ban on fracking, as they desire a carbon-free future and have an energy future dominated by renewable energy. Others understood that promoting natural gas, which emits greenhouse gases at about half the rate of coal, and enabling it to be plentiful and cheap in order to displace coal, leading to progress in meeting climate change goals and eventually be replaced by renewables as its costs decline in the future. Obama Administration leaders took this latter tack, encouraging fracking to reduce energy prices, yet protecting the environment and public health, too.

In opposition to this, oil and gas developers argued their fracking processes were continually improving over time and there was little evidence of harming drinking water supplies. These groups sued to stop the 2015 fracking regulation without success. With the new administration more sympathetic to oil and gas company concerns, it was a matter of time until the Obama rule would be repealed or altered. Oil and gas companies understood that many states had its own regulations protecting drinking water supply and the local environment, and were willing to comply with each state’s rules as they work in those states.

CCES has the experts to keep you up-to-date with technical interpretations of federal and state and city rules on energy and make sure you get the best information. Marc Karell, P.E., Principal of CCES will speak about recent new New York City energy rules at the New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting on Thurs., Jan. 25 at 9:20 am. See for more details.

USEPA Announces 2018 Renewable Fuel Standards

On December 12, 2017, the USEPA published in the Federal Register final volume requirements and associated percentage standards for its renewable fuel standards (RFS) program for calendar year 2018, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2019. See:

As can be seen in the table below, he annual volume quotas for how much renewable fuel must be added to gasoline and diesel are virtually unchanged from 2017. These values set national standards for distributors to reduce the overall use of petroleum-based fuel.

Final Volume Requirements                     2017            2018            2019
Cellulosic biofuel (million gallons)           311               288                 –
Biomass-based diesel (billion gallons)       2.0                2.1              2.1
Advanced biofuel (billion gallons)              4.28              4.29              –
Renewable fuel (billion gallons)               19.28            19.29              –

The reaction to this was mixed. Many had feared that the USEPA would reverse the trend and lower significantly the required introduction of various biofuel, which current leadership sees as a hindrance to business. For them this is a victory.

However, many in the renewable fuel industry saw keeping requirements pretty much flat as harmful to business growth. The National Biodiesel Board and the governor of at least one corn-growing state complained that keeping requirements flat would harm many U.S. business sectors, including farmers, producers, truckers, and consumers.

Meanwhile, the petroleum industry was also disappointed with the flat RFS volumes of the coming year, and that the USEPA’s failed to repair a flawed program that answers to corn and other interests.

CCES has the energy experts to help you assess your fuel and electricity sources to maximize financial benefits and to strategize to ensure you have reliable fuel sources. Contact us today at or at 914-584-6720.

Lowering Energy Costs of Data Centers

Data centers and their servers within them are of growing importance to companies. As companies have painfully learned during non-functional periods, such as breakdowns, severe storms, or blackouts, the cost for a company of losing data is tremendous. It has been cataloged that many companies went out of business as a result of hurricanes or other natural disasters that caused data centers to stop functioning and lose data. After all, a lot of what a company is its data. Without which (for controls, sales, marketing, etc.) it can be existential. Even “small” companies realize the importance of a high-quality data center system.

Therefore, in utilizing larger and more redundant equipment and systems, companies are finding themselves paying a heavy energy cost penalty. Not only must they operate large amounts of energy-using equipment, but to prevent malfunctions (often due to excessive heating of systems), such data centers are often cooled 24/7 to very low temperatures, extracting a cooling energy penalty, too.

What can be done to maintain the reliability of a data center, or but save some energy costs, too?  The federal government’s Energy Star lists 12 items an operator can do to manage and minimize energy use and costs of a data center. See: These include decommissioning non-functioning systems, consolidating under-used servers, utilizing fans with variable speed drives, utilizing HVAC with air-side or water-side economizers, and others. The webpage lists several case studies.

Another way to reduce costs and improve reliability is to implement combined heat and power (CHP cogen) systems to supply electricity for data centers. CHP utilizes the waste heat from a boiler that would otherwise be lost to produce electricity, reducing the amount purchased from the local utility. Early data centers were often located remote from other offices or facilities of a firm, but the more recent trend is to co-locate a data center within an existing facility, often the corporate headquarters. This makes CHP more appealing, as it can produce electricity and steam for multiple functions besides a data center.

According to Persistence Market Research (, growth in CHP for data centers in the U.S. will be at 3.4% annually through 2024, as business owners see rising energy costs, and need to minimize the rising usage with maintaining a reliable data center. A growing number of utilities encourage companies to generate their own electricity and putting less demand onto the grid, and will provide financial incentives to incorporate. Revenue sales of CHP systems for data centers is estimated to reach $277 million in 2024, and will be predominantly high in five high-use energy states known to have corporate and data centers, California, New York, Washington, Texas and Massachusetts.

Data centers with greater and more sophisticated servers will become more common as the risk of losing data through natural disasters or loss of power becomes recognized as a critical issue for a company’s survival. These more redundant systems have an energy penalty associated with it, therefore, driving efforts to maintain such systems in a reliable manner while minimizing energy costs.

CCES has the technical experts to help you assess all of your company’s or building’s energy needs and be able to have you function normally and reliably, while reducing your energy costs and getting additional financial benefits, as well (improve sales, reduce O&M, etc.). We are here to maximize your financial benefits for utilizing smart energy conservation methods. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Upcoming Trends In The LED Market

The use of more energy efficient LED lights to replace incandescents and fluorescent lights has reduced total carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017, according to a report issued by IHS Markit, or by 1.5%.

LEDs achieve this because they are more efficient than current light sources, using, on average, 40% less electricity for the same amount of light compared to fluorescents and about 80% less electricity than incandescents. An incandescent filament source needs about 7 watts to produce about 100 lumens of light. A fluorescent source needs about 2 watts to produce the same light. Metal halides and high-pressure sodium bulbs about 1 watt. LEDs, however, can produce this same amount of light using just 0.5 watt. Given this differential at many thousands of facilities, encompassing hundreds of thousands of light sources, that is many megawatts of power not needed and, therefore, all the more oil or gas or coal that needs to be combusted to make that power. Thus the major reduction in CO2 emissions.

Although LED lights are more expensive than current light sources, these electrical reductions make converting to LED lights quite economical, “low hanging fruit”.
Initially, there was objection to LED lighting based on their inability to be dimmed or the quality of light not being complementary to certain uses. But in time, these issues have been resolved, and LED lights today are dimmable and can have its intensity altered.

Upcoming Trends

Case studies have shown that spaces lit by the right LEDs have a whiter or higher quality of light, resulting in better worker productivity and better school performance. More vendors are specializing in such LEDs that will more likely result in better performance as their way of separating themselves from the pack.

Another item that has been driving the LED market is government or utility incentives. Such organizations have paid some of the upfront cost to building owners willing to change out large quantities of lights because this represents a relief to a stressed utility infrastructure. However, as LED light prices have been coming down, these organizations realize that the pure economic benefit of a building upgrading their lighting with LEDs is great enough; incentives will not add that much to the fine payback LEDs result in. The trend in utilities is to use incentive funds for other, more expensive energy-saving technologies and less for LEDs.

Finally, LEDs were initially more popular in states like NY, NJ, CT, MA, and CA, partially because energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing is part of their cultures, but also because the economics were better there because electric rates are higher in those states than in others. However, with more competition and the further drop in LED prices, even in other US states where electric usage rates are lower, converting to LEDs makes a lot of sense financially. Expect to see sales rise in the Midwest and the South.

CCES has the experts to help you assess whether now is the time to convert to LEDs for your commercial space. We can evaluate potential savings, payback, and IRR for you to determine if this is the right time. If you go ahead with a conversion, CCES can manage the project for you, saving you time to concentrate on other things, while ensuring that anticipated cost savings and other benefits are achieved. You reduce cost without the hassle. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Environmental Evaluation of the Trump Administration’s 1st Year

December 2017

Recently, President Trump boasted about the number of regulations he repealed or otherwise inactivated, as the most in history. We’re not sure how factually true that statement is, but it certainly is true that the most active agency in carrying out this de-regulation was the USEPA. There have been a number of roll backs of Obama Administration rules and initiatives, headed by the Clean Power Act, as part of the Trump Administration’s desire is to encourage coal production. A recent article also stated that not only has the agency lost much in the way of personnel, but it is enforcing existing rules with much less vigor than in the recent past, even under a past Republican administration. See

In addition, the Trump Administration has cut drastically environmental and public health research and has scrubbed mention of Climate Change from its websites, educational materials, and conferences, including terminating research in these areas.

One of the few areas that the USEPA has remained active is in Superfund cleanups. The degree of cleanup has accelerated in the past year. Many think prioritizing certain Superfund cleanup projects coincides strongly with where valuable mineral and oil and gas deposits are found, which can be profitable for future owners or miners in the area.

However, one other area that has disappointed many in the environmental community is the President’s vigorous attempt to free up federal land for mining and oil exploration, including the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and several national parks, such as Bears Ears National Monument, in which President Trump announced that the section of this monument that is protected from private use and exploration will be reduced by 1 million acres or 85%, the largest reversal of national monument protections in US history. The proposed change has been challenged in court by conservation groups.

The good news in all of this is that this news has galvanized the environmental community and many citizens, worried about the impacts of repealed environmental rules on the health and wellbeing of millions in this country. Many states will maintain and strengthen their rules. Several political candidates have discussed environmental concerns, something that rarely happens. In addition, global images, such as extreme haze and people walking around with filters in India and China have shown all the importance of smart, workable environmental regulations.

However, all in all, 2017 was not a good year for environmental protections and governance in the U.S.

CCES has the experts to help your company stay in touch with environmental regulations and provide technical assistance on how to comply in the least expensive, yet reliable way, without disrupting operations. Contact us today at or at 914-584-6720.

Climate Change News End of Year – 2017

Trump Administration Reiterates Objection to Paris Climate Agreement

The big US climate change news of the year is President Trump’s announcement that the US will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord because developing nations would get to play by a different set of rules from those of the US. The Paris Accord is voluntary, however, as each country would determine how much greenhouse gas emissions it can reduce. At the time the Accord was signed, the Obama Administration said it would decrease US GHG emissions by 28% by 2025. The U.S. is already about halfway to meeting the goal due to large turnover of coal-fired power plants to natural gas and other changes, triggered by market forces. Meanwhile, China said that its GHG emissions would rise before tapering off around 2030 because of power plants already operating. As a developing country, China would be permitted to prioritize growth, even though it is the world’s largest GHG emitter. In addition, the richer nations will contribute to a $100 billion fund, seen as an investment, to help developing nations reduce GHGs. These areas are what the current administration object to, although the US would be the only nation in the world not to be part of the Accord if it pulls out.

While President Trump, despite discussions with world leaders, reiterated his desire for the US to pull out of the Paris accord late in the year. However, a series of horrific disasters (several major hurricanes and rain events and wildfires in California) in the second half of this year have widely been analyzed as having been worsened by climate change. As a result, public opinion polls indicate a solid majority of Americans (even conservatives) believe that climate change is real and harmful, and a majority believe the government should do something about it. Whether that will cause President Trump to reverse course and stay in the Paris Accord is unknown.

In the meantime, a number of US states and cities have stated that they will pursue policies that would reduce GHG emissions in alignment with those required of the Paris Accord. California is perhaps the most resistant to the federal rejection of the global agreement, and is looking to forge an agreement with other nations and provinces to establish a market-based system to encourage major GHG emitters to decrease emissions by global standards. Massachusetts has confirmed its goals initially formed through their Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. Both New York State and New York City have active plans to achieve the same goals.

EIA Projects 0.6% Annual Growth in GHG Emissions

The US Energy Information Administration projects that growth in global GHG emissions from energy-related sources will drop to 0.6%/year through 2040 despite increased energy consumption. See GHG emissions rose by about 1.8% per year from 1990 to 2015.

The EIA says that this decrease is/will be caused by the continued switch to renewable sources of energy, estimated to rise in use by an average 2.3% per year between 2015 and 2040. Nuclear power consumption is estimated to increase by 1.5% per year over that period. The small rise in GHG emissions is still projected despite these advances because of increases in energy-using processes due to projected business growth.

The EIA projects the average growth in commercial energy use of 1.2% per year from 2015 to 2040, with the highest rates of growth in developing nations.

US Supreme Court To Rule on Solar Power Growth and Regulation

On December 1, the US Supreme Court announced it would hear a case about whether a utility can charge ratepayers a fee for having solar panels. SolarCity initially sued Salt River Project, an Arizona utility, over its 2015 decision to charge a fee for solar power systems operated by individuals. SolarCity argued that these fees were implemented in order to make rooftop solar systems too expensive to be competitive, in violation of federal antitrust laws. Salt River Project argued that they had the right to levy this fee as part of its statutory pricing process, exempting it from federal antitrust laws.

A district court and circuit court made different rulings. The US Supreme Court expressed interest in deciding whether utilities are exempt from antitrust laws in its decision and rate and fee-setting process. The Court’s decision, expected in June 2018, will be closely watched by the solar power industry for its future ramifications.

CCES has the technical experts to help your entity (company or municipality) remain knowledgeable about changes in climate change rules and policies throughout the US, and about changes in technologies to help you assess the right policy and GHG emission reduction goal that is right for you. And to enable you to maximize financial benefits from addressing climate change. Contact us today at or at 914-584-6720.

DOE Plans Major Changes To Its Appliance Energy Conservation Program

On November 21, 2017 the US DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) that provides notice DOE is considering wholesale changes to its energy conservation standards program. The current program for reducing energy consumption contains mandatory, minimum efficiency standards for appliances and other consumer, commercial, and industrial products that must be revisited every six years. The RFI suggests that the Trump Administration may replace this mechanism with a more market-oriented one. The RFI specifically solicits feedback on how trading schemes might be applied to energy conservation. The Federal Register notice was published on November 28 (see giving interested parties 90 days to comment (February 26, 2018).

The Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) requires the DOE to set minimum energy conservation standards for over 60 consumer, commercial, and industrial products. Manufacturers and importers must test and certify that their covered products meet all applicable energy conservation standards prior to initial distribution and annually after that. EPCA also requires DOE to review each energy conservation standard at least every six years for potential revision. This contains an “anti-backsliding” provision, preventing the DOE from loosening energy conservation standards for any reason.

The Trump Administration has put on hold several new energy conservation standards promulgated late in the Obama Administration. DOE Secretary Perry has called this program “overly burdensome”.

The RFI solicits feedback and suggestions on how market-based approaches might be used to improve energy efficiency. The RFI uses as a model established market-oriented approaches in other areas, such as the automotive corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which permit automobile manufacturers to average the fuel efficiency of their automobiles across their entire fleet rather than have to comply with the individual fuel efficiency standard of each vehicle class. The RFI also cites the USEPA Acid Rain Program, a large regional cap-and-trade program, which succeeded in achieving significant reductions in power plant SO2 and NOx emissions by creating emission credits to be bought and sold to meet mandatory reduction goals. The RFI wishes to achieve energy use reductions at high efficiency and reduced cost.

The RFI is the DOE’s first significant attempt to modify the energy conservation standards program since it was enacted in 1987. Any changes to the rule can significantly impact energy and electricity usage and with that energy costs for all businesses and residents nationwide, greenhouse gas emissions and management of our electric grid, including the number and types of power plants nationwide. The public and manufacturers and importers of appliances have until February 26, 2018 to submit ideas and comments to the DOE for consideration in its redesign of the program.

CCES has the experts to help you plan and design your energy management program to maximize the direct financial benefits of minimizing energy use, including the most energy efficient equipment. Contact us today at or at 914-584-6720.

Another Financial Benefit of Energy Efficiency: Improved Space Utilization

This blog and newsletter have published many articles substantiating the many different ways a building owner, manager, or tenant will benefit financially from implementing smart proven energy efficiency strategies. Besides saving on one’s direct energy bill, there is improved asset value, making space more attractive to increase demand from tenants, reduced O&M, and higher productivity and retail sales. Now here is another one. Philips Lighting recently released a study estimating that businesses globally could reduce their office space per employee by as much as 50% and realize savings of up to $1.5 trillion just in reduced rental costs if office buildings were refurbished to the most efficient current standards. $220 billion of the savings is estimated for North America. Real estate costs are a major concern to any business; any opportunity to reduce the fixed cost of rental space can be very beneficial. See:

These estimations were based on the results of an actual move by a major Deloitte office into a space considered very advanced in terms of energy efficiency. Deloitte reduced their space utilization from 50.2 sq. ft. per full-time employee to 24.9, not only saving on the amount of space they needed to rent, but on their energy costs, too, as they had less space to condition, light, and service. Deloitte also attributed increases in worker productivity and wellbeing in the new space, in part, due to the energy efficiency improvements.

The new office space used by Deloitte uses LED lighting and smart technology allowing employees to adjust the lighting and temperature at their own workspaces via a smartphone app. The system also provides building managers with real-time data on both energy usage and office utilization to help maximize energy and operational efficiency, based on data collected by sensors embedded in the lighting.

CCES has the technical expertise to help your office or any other space become more energy efficient, whether your goal is, like Deloitte’s, to be high tech or whether your goal is more modest. We can help you incorporate the right technology for your budget and goals to attain the greatest financial benefit, whether it be controlling real estate costs, utility costs, or to boost productivity and asset value. Contact us today at or at 914-584-6720.