Energy Consulting

Energy Consulting is a key part of Low Carbon Engineering and it comprises many different applications of basic engineering and energy analysis. If we want to reduce cash or carbon for a facility, energy systems and energy use are going to be our target zone. When we optimize energy use, we reduce the carbon resulting from the facility’s energy loads and just as likely reduce the cash required to meet these loads. Energy consulting is another area where “Finding the Fit” is a key goal – usually the best economic fit from option dictated by facility physical space constraints and energy load profiles.

Energy Consulting Services

The implementation of a cogeneration or other energy system into an existing building can change several normally static aspects of building operations, including utility rates. The impact a new system will have on current/future rates and costs should always be a strong factor when determining system feasibility.
Power Purchase (or Energy Purchase) Agreements are an unavoidable aspect of building management. Agreements that do not provide benefit to both parties involved are destined to fail. DSM has reviewed and been consulted on many of these agreements, and it’s become yet another place where Finding the Fit applies. We specialize in these agreements as they pertain to cogeneration, but also to steam. DSM has been involved in the development of Steam Purchase Agreements for residential communities purchasing steam since the companies inception.
An improperly sized utility meter will never be able to read a facility’s energy usage accurately, which can lead to multiple issues. Metering entities will compensate for inaccurate use readings, typically through adjusting the bills a facility receives. The other issue with inaccurate readings is that any energy analysis or feasibility studies done for the facility will not reflect correct usage; if the baseline is wrong, anything relying on it will also be wrong. DSM has worked with several facilities with improperly sized meters, and provides sizing evaluations and accuracy validation to correct the underlying issue.
We believe that an investment needs to be monitored, even after it is installed and working. Providing a monthly status report including updated current offset costs like grid electrical costs and boiler fuel costs provides a current picture of how the investment is performing and any operating modifications that will optimize economic performance.
The main purpose of using on-site cogeneration is to reduce energy costs, no matter the size of the plant. This is particularly true of “off-grid” cogeneration plants serving islanded residential communities; analysis should be periodically performed to compare the costs of running the islanded plant versus connecting back into the local utility grid. The key question to be answered by the analysis is will the possible options, as far as lowest cost supply, enable the cost of connection to be recovered in an acceptable time period?
For facilities utilizing district steam combined with in-house systems to meet peak thermal loads, a steam back-up tariff is often instated by the utility provider. Our analysis is focused on whether it is more cost effective for the facility to continue using a combination of utility steam and in-house equipment to meet needs, or if it is more economical to eliminate the need for district steam all together. Eliminating district steam is achieved by increasing thermal capacity internally, which can be done through a combination of gas-fueled boilers, cogeneration, geothermal and domestic hot water gas heaters.
The rising cost of fossil fuel-based energy has led to increasing interest in ways to economically meet energy demand, as well as how to reduce the amount of energy needed overall. Sustainable consulting is strongly based in the installation of new “green” energy systems, like solar PV arrays and wind power. But installing renewable energy systems doesn’t always make economical sense (especially in existing facilities) and it’s not a one size fits all kind of package. Retrofitting existing systems with better technology and control can yield significant savings across the board; everything from installing LED lighting to utilizing low-flow toilets will reduce a building’s carbon footprint.
See our Sustainability page for more information.