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Seeking the truth part one

Energy efficiency and the consumer

Written by: Patti Hagewood – Energy Analyst and edited by Karen Koch CPA – Partner & Manager of Energy Services

This is part one of a two-part series written by the experts of Bedford’s energy division. Please check back next week for part two. 

In the 1970s, our domestic energy policy and the world-wide oil market fell into a crisis that rocked American politics and reshaped the world market for crude oil. This crisis along with shortages in natural gas supplies, prompted much concern in our country about energy.

Environmentalism came to the forefront and the modern environmental movement grew exponentially at the state and national levels; much in part due to political pressure applied by special interest groups including scientists as well as fisherman, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Deregulation gained momentum in the 1970s and energy brokering became a legitimate business model.

The energy industry in its youth, was the playing field for just a handful of forward thinkers embarking on a new business plan to take advantage of what was sure to provide plentiful opportunities in the very near future.

Now, in this day and age, the energy industry has become an integral player in most all American markets.

There seems to be a new company popping up every day in every part of the country advertising how they can help businesses save money by becoming more energy efficient.

Claims are made about improving the efficiency of buildings through more efficient equipment and practices, super insulated building materials, automated systems that do just about everything but make your coffee, and so on.

Energy audits are an everyday occurrence, in both residential and commercial environments, outlining the steps one must take to be energy efficient. Most of these steps require an outlay of cash…sometimes a significant one.

But ever since the very first snake-oil salesman pitched his less than effective remedies, there are more than a few rather unscrupulous characters out there ready to take your money at the drop of a hat.

This is extremely prevalent in the energy industry, since most business people don’t know the first thing about energy engineering. Contractors throw out HVAC terms such as, SEER, EER, AFUE, static pressure, IAQ, CFM, etc.

A sheer multitude of lighting applications are available and the costs for different system types range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Relatively few business owners will know the difference between a T5 lamp and a T8 lamp, and which one would be the best fit for the space to be lit. But the price difference is significant, and many times the more expensive of the two will be promoted and sold to the unsuspecting CEO, just so the provider can make a few extra bucks.

Unnecessary bells and whistles will be added to energy management systems that have little to no effect on installed equipment. Said systems are many times incorrectly programmed and actually end up costing the user more than they normally would without the system.

This is the end of our first part of a two-part energy series. Next week we will share the second half which is a continuation that builds on this first article.