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Energy Smart: Make Improvements, Save Money and Offset Costs

By Green Coast on 29 Jan 2016

GCE Services Senior Building Engineer Joe Ryan is always on the lookout to save money for his energy management clients. Ryan and his team specialize in improving building performance in our hot and humid client, and better performance means more comfort and lower energy bills. Energy auditing and programming changes will yield significant savings, but sometimes the initial cost of some equipment upgrades can seem too costly.

To solve this dilemma, Ryan suggests the Energy Smart program, which offers cash rebates on energy efficiency improvements. Entergy New Orleans administers the program and many thousands of Entergy customers have taken advantage of it, but Ryan says that much of this has involved a cookie-cutter approach such as changing light bulbs. He says for more robust savings and efficiency, clients should think a little bigger.

“Instead of swapping lights, we’re recommending control changes and other types of improvements,” Ryan says. “It is a longer process, but there can be much bigger savings.”

KIPP New Orleans Schools is realizing those big savings. GCE Services had already been working with KIPP when Ryan recommended the Energy Smart program. Considering GCE Services’ track record, KIPP was receptive.

“In general terms, when Green Coast started with KIPP, it was able to evaluate the Guste Elementary School, make suggestions and that resulted in some pretty drastic savings,” says Jarmell McGill, Director of Facilities for KIPP New Orleans Schools.

Ryan suggested enhancements to the Guste’s chiller and boiler plant and connecting controls to the building’s automation system. He pointed out that Energy Smart would reimburse KIPP for the improvements, netting significant savings, more efficiency and overall comfort. After Ryan reached out to the Energy Smart program to get preliminary approval on the improvements, KIPP contracted to have the work completed.

GCE has been overseeing the process and will verify project completion. McGill says he’s assembling invoices now for reimbursement and is very satisfied, and adds that the benefits of the program will be long term and ongoing.

“As budgets tighten, this school will spend much less on energy bills and that’s more money that we can spend on students and programs,” says McGill.

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