Peak Demand Loads Will Cost You

Monday morning, you walk into the office and are hit by a wall of hot, humid, musty smelling air. You reach for the thermostat and crank up the air conditioning, lowering the temperature in an attempt to more quickly cool the building.

While it hasn’t yet warmed up enough for most of us it won’t be long before those air conditioning units are in full drive and you see those energy bills soar.

Commercial energy bills are not charged a consistent rate, however. The rate that they are charged may increase significantly due to higher demand loads. When you walked into the office that morning you turned on the air conditioner as well as all of the lights, which needs a whole bunch of energy all at the same time to get going. This is what causes a demand peak, and you are being charged for it. The same situation occurs if you are in a manufacturing setting and start a new line, or turn on a few pieces of equipment at the same time.

These high rates charged for your peak demand don’t necessarily stop when you turn off all of your equipment, or your temperature regulates and the AC units slow. The rates are often charged in 15 minute intervals. You could be paying these very high rates when you are not using that same intensity of energy.

So how do we stop these peak demand charges? Different buildings require different strategies. Some organizations increase automation, others use lower draw equipment. Finding the combination of solutions is the key. Be sure the company you contract with are looking at a full Energy Solution, and not simply pushing their product. A gradual approach to energy management will end up costing you more; an energy management company will look at your site as a whole and manage the projects within the improvement plan, leaving you free to run the business.

Going Solar from Coast to Coast

Bobby Magill wrote a great article for Climate central towards the end of February regarding solar installations on both the east and west coast of the country. This is great news as we have been hearing about the high solar adoption in California for some time now, and it looks as though the east in on track to make a significant dent in their own utility scale renewables with over 4.0 MW of utility scale solar development underway in North Carolina alone.

Texas is still a ways behind North Carolina for adoption, though groups such as the Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) and their local counterparts such as the Houston Renewable Energy Group (HREG) are doing their part to socialize solar as a great opportunity for energy generation in Texas.

Check out Bobby Magills article for more on the state of solar:

The Business Case for Going Green

The average business attributes 30% of their expenses to energy costs. Of that an average of 68% is attributed to items which can be significantly reduced through an energy management system, with improvements affecting your lighting and your climate control making the biggest difference. The value of these changes is not only in the immediate savings seen on your monthly bill, but the cost avoidance of significantly reducing or even eliminating your maintenance costs in these areas.

While the short term benefits of property improvements can be impressive, with payback periods as low as 1.2 years the case for your Energy Management System becomes even stronger when taking into account the increase in property value. This increase is dependent on multiple factors including original energy usage, mitigation strategies and extent of the energy management system, for example the inclusion of a solar energy system increases the property value more than any other EMS element.

With over 50% of Americans considering the green factor or the environmental impact of the companies they are dealing with this provides you with some powerful marketing material that can help you capitalize on this market. Progeneration energy, as a part of our Energy Management Systems can help you develop or provide the marketing material to ensure your business takes full advantage of this opportunity.

Other companies capitalizing on the advantages of going green are Wal-Mart and Kohl’s, to name two of the biggest renewables contributors with 105.1kW and 55.2kW of solar energy generation capacity, respectively. Property management and residential trusts are also taking notice with Prologis and Harts having 99,589 kWh of energy generation capability combined. Not only does this offset their energy expense, but research is showing that businesses that are going green can charge more.

The vacancy rate for a residential building is approximately 3% lower than in a comparable building without the same improvements. That same building with energy improvements, when marketed as a green building can charge rents 8% higher than its neighbor.

“This is all well and good, Erika, but its December and we don’t have the budget to be considering a full energy management system right now.” Ask us about our financing options and how we can work with your budget, your current spend availability in order to best take advantage of the opportunities available to you in energy. Getting rid of your energy bill within the next 5 years is worth giving us a call to find out more.

Furthermore, while addressing the components of your energy management system one at a time might initially seem preferable in the short term it will cost you significantly more in the long run. This is due to a number of factors related to project implementation. By taking advantage of a systems approach we can reduce system design costs, negotiate preferred rates with suppliers and ensure a cost effective method of implementation with the least impact on your business operations.

Energy Bills on the Rise

The price of electricity has gone up. Although you won’t see a significant difference in your electricity bill right away, eventually you will.

In June, changes were made to what utility companies could charge for wholesale electricity. The price increased by $2,000 per megawatt-hour to $7,000 per megawatt-hour. Last year the Public Utility Commission of Texas capped the price per megawatt-hour at $5,000. And the hike isn’t over, next year it will increase to $9,000.

What this could mean for retail customers is an upward pressure for longer term electricity rates. According to consumer advocates, since most customers are locked into a fixed retail contracts, prices shouldn’t be affected right away, but it will.

“When those prices are allowed to go higher, it does add some cost to electricity overall,” said Jake Dyer, a spokesman for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power. “Sooner or later, those costs end up trickling down to end-use customers.”

According to energy experts, wholesale price changes can increase volatility in costs retailers pay for the power they sell to customers. Meaning it’s more important for customers to pay close attention to the details of their plans.

Research shows that real-time wholesale electricity prices averaged $33.71 per megawatt-hour last year. The good news, retail providers buy most of the power they sell to consumers under futures contracts that guarantee a purchase price. The wholesale price for power spikes when a higher demand for electricity approaches the generation capacity available on the grid.

Typically summer time is when wholesale prices increase, but winter months have seen a spike in prices too. Earlier this year when cold weather hit Texas, it increased the demand for heating at times when plants were down for scheduled maintenance.

So to make sure you’re getting the most for your buck when cooler temperatures invade Texas, here are some tips that could help you save on your electricity bill.

  • Use a programmable thermostat to control your main heating source.
  • Make sure your building is properly insulated and all cracks in windows and doors are sealed.
  • Keep your heating system well-maintained and serviced.
  • Supplement the efficiency of your business heating system by admitting as much sunlight as possible to your establishment and using ceiling fans to push warm air that rises to the ceiling back down into the room.

For more information on how to get the most energy for your buck, contact Progeneration Energy at (844)776-3637 or email us at

On The Move!

We are moving to serve you better! Progeneration Energy outgrew its location and has moved to find more space so we can continue to grow our team to build the best solutions for you! Now located at 340 N Sam Houston Parkway East. We are in the process of getting settled and looking forward to showcasing our products and services and working with you to customize and intentionalize your energy strategy!

LEDs- A Bright Choice

Florescent, incandescent, LED, oh my. This is only one decision of several when it comes to selecting the lighting best suited to your property. Often, when our lights go out we replace them with the same bulb, after all, we already know it works; or possibly going for the price conscious option, in an effort to reduce expenses. By using the inappropriate positioning or type of light you are actually spending more both directly and indirectly on your lighting then you should be. Progeneration Energy can help you wade through these options and help you get set up with the best options to save you money

  1. Drastically cut your maintenance costs! LED lights last up to 10 times longer than compact florescent lights, and much longer than your standard incandescent lights.
  2. Due to using a solid structure, instead of a filament, LED lights are more durable and much less likely to break.
  3. Energy efficient- depending on your current lighting, LEDs require between 3 and 30 times less energy, which translates directly to lower energy bills.
  4. Keeping you cool. LED lights don’t heat up like your traditional bulbs, reducing the stress on your A/C system, meaning less maintenance and less energy.

Progeneration Energy’s Green Light program allows you to improve the efficiency of the lighting at your building with financing options to help you manage that up-front cost. Contact us for a more information on our Green Light program and how we can help you become more energy efficient.