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GCE Services Provides Energy Savings to City of New Orleans

By Green Coast on 26 Oct 2018

Energy Cost Savings at Fifth District station. 
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Energy Cost Savings at Fifth District station.

What started out as GCE Services showing the City of New Orleans where and specifically how much it was allocating for energy costs has evolved into GCE implementing changes that prolong the life of equipment, improve comfort and save significant money for the city. For one New Orleans Police station, that means thousands of dollars in annual cost savings.

“When we began working with the City, there was no one analyzing the energy costs,” says Joe Ryan, GCE’s director of energy services. “We used Wegowise, an energy tracking and benchmarking tool, to benchmark approximately 100 City-owned properties in terms of overall type and size, so we could provide an apples to apples comparison in terms of energy use and determine data such as energy use per building square foot.”

Armed with that data, GCE began performing energy audit site visits for various New Orleans buildings including libraries, police stations, recreation centers, courts, City Hall and the New Orleans Museum of Art. The GCE team would go into a property and measure how, where and when energy was used, identify issues such as malfunctioning equipment and maintenance issues and look for opportunities for improvement.

“While it’s important to compare on a macro level the energy use in buildings, you have to analyze individual properties, because each is unique in terms of design, when it’s in use, the number of people inside it and other factors,” says Ryan. “Most buildings use automated systems nowadays, but you have to really understand the system.”

Ryan points to NOPD’s Fifth District station as an example. The building, which is only a few years old, is occupied 24/7, yet many of the rooms sit vacant throughout the day and night, so cooling or heating them as if they are continuously occupied wastes money and energy. That was the case for the roll call room, which was occupied for only a few hours a day with the problem worsening when one thermostat stopped communicating with the rest of the system. The result was combatting thermostats—one cooling and one heating the room—and that meant losing thousands of dollars.

•With the audit, we saw the problem and solved it,” Ryan says. “We replaced the thermostat, and now the room is set to “unoccupied“for most of day. Sounds simple but you need a trained team to gauge the situation, pinpoint the problem, and then determine a cost-effective solution.”

These little fixes at the Fifth District station are saving the City an estimated $37,000 annually. With GCE entering the third phase of the City contract—energy management, implementation, and energy savings—Ryan says that many of the city-owned properties will net substantial energy and cost savings.

“Our services pay for themselves in multiple ways,” Ryan says.“Besides saving money on the utility bill, we’re making the buildings more comfortable for the people working in them—no need to wear sweaters in August—and we’re prolonging equipment lifespan because it’s not used as heavily, which means even more savings”

2018 Estimated Annual Savings
5th District Police Station – $37,000 (vs. 2017)
Coroner’s Office – $31,000 (vs. 2016)
Juvenile Court – $70,000 (vs. 2017)

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