11 Sep

Bright Employee: Paul Banel

Bright Power Bright Employee

We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Paul BanelMeet Paul Banel, Front End Developer.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?

I like working with bright, like-minded people who care about the impact of their work and who can see beyond the small steps that lead to that impact. It’s great to create software to enable that work and to help find ways to promote energy efficiency and reduce waste on a large scale.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?

One of my early projects was to create custom Microsoft Office software to streamline the process of creating energy audit reports. Now our engineers spend less time writing and more time fixing and improving buildings. In another project, we created a small web application to work with building system designs from an ancient engineering software. That application reduced design time from hours to minutes and allowed us to scale those projects quickly.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?

Paul runningI kind of founded Bright Power Boulder, an unofficial outpost. Another software teammate moved here in the summer. I moved to Colorado for running. I train with Run Boulder AC to race anything from 1500 meters on the track to 100 miles in the mountains of Leadville.

When I started at Bright Power I worked with a lot of different people to solve their random problems and created process improvements that have saved hours of work and are still used today. I aim to reduce waste in all aspects and I love using data and scripts to do that.

You work remotely in Colorado. How do you stay connected to folks in the NY and CA office?

I started working for Bright Power in the New York office and was there for a little over a year before I moved, so having those relationships helps. We use Slack and it allows me to stay in the loop. I can find the information I need to easily and if I need to reach out to people, they are there. It’s almost like being in the office with them and Slack is fun to use. 

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?

I think MoBIUS, our energy management service, has the potential to be the most impactful service on a day-to-day basis. Seeing what’s happening at a building in real time allows issues to be fixed before a resident notices and before it becomes a major problem for a client.

20 Aug

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update: August 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

Winter rates begin to rebound.

The Bottom Line

As we mentioned last month, something had to give. A combination of hot weather and low storage amounts can’t result in low pricing forever. Now, in the last two weeks, pricing has finally ticked up. The January gas rate has increased from $2.96 to $3.17/mmbtu since 7/18. Opportunities to lock in year-to-year savings are still available, they will become more difficult to capture as the month progresses.

What to know about 2018

After the increase, wholesale natural gas prices are now just 6% lower than 2017 on average. Last month, that number was 8%. Above normal temperatures continue to cause increased demand for electric generation for air conditioning, which reduces the gas we have in storage. At this time, we strongly recommend all customers who use Natural Gas for heating to evaluate their replacement supply contracts and consider switching off volatile utility rates if they are served by the utility.

Why Act Now

As we close out summer and head towards winter, the lower amount of natural gas in storage is a clear signal that market volatility will occur as 2018 progresses. Prices have already begun to rise, and capturing savings now compared to your last contract or to the utility rates is a safe maneuver.

Temperature Probability Maps

August and September will continue to be hot, highlighted by the West Coast and Northeast. This summer may end as the hottest on record. An El Niño effect is forecasted for this winter, which may lower rates by creating milder temperatures. The orange/red in the maps below indicate heat increases from normal. Continued hot summer weather will cause upward pressure on pricing, while a mild winter can mean low demand and low prices.

August, September, October 2018
August, September, October 2018
Fall 2018
Winter 2019
14 Aug

Bright Employee: Pete Peterson

Bright Power Bright Employee

Jeffry Pete PetersonWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. This month, we’re excited to introduce a new member of our team.

Meet Pete Peterson, Chief Financial Officer.

What are some of the things you are excited about in your new role at Bright Power?
The entrepreneurial spirit of the people at Bright Power. Not only is everyone proud of the company’s growth to date, but they are excited to continue to grow and scale. Everyone has been welcoming, encouraging, and eager to help me do the things I’m here to do.

Bright Power has done a great job of becoming the organization it is today: sustainable and impactful. My expertise is in helping companies of this size get to the next level, and, only a few weeks in, I can say that we’re well on our way to get there.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment for which you’re proud.
I’ve been able to hit the ground running at Bright Power thanks to cross-departmental collaboration. Before Bright Power, I was with a company that grew from $30M to over $350M with global reach over the course of 15 years through 8 acquisitions and 3 startups. We ended up with a group of 15 small companies. That experience turned me into a small company expert.

What’s something people might not know about you?
I build wooden boats as a hobby. I started with one of my sons who is a clammer and needed a boat.  I’ll take wood I find and turn it into something beautiful. Take a look at this canoe I built out of an old cedar deck. Now, I’m in the middle of making my three kids surfboards made out of a recycled redwood picnic table.

What are some trends that you are seeing in the industry that excite you?
At the beginning of the industry, there were the very green early adopters. But now, sustainability has become mainstream and widely accepted – it’s hard not to when it will save you money. The growth is almost endless.

23 Jul

Bright Employee: Jesse Petersen

Bright Power Bright Employee

We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Jesse Petersen, Sales Operations Manager.

 

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?

I like working with people who can think for themselves and are discerning when presented with information. We have a working environment where my colleagues strive to be constructive, challenge you to question what you think you know, and they work hard to help each other learn. This approach accelerates one’s growth in their everyday job.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?

Putting rhyme and reason to our pricing process through collaboration with the Account Management, Engineering, and Operations teams. This includes formalizing our service products and standardizing our scopes of work for each of Bright Power’s 83 (yeah that many) service offerings. I don’t think Google even has that many service offerings!

Establishing stronger relationships with the implementation contractors and utilities as a key incentive program partner. Many programs look to us for direction in their program design and often elicit our input before rolling out new or revised incentive programs. I think I’ve made a positive contribution to that process in advocating on behalf of our clients’ interests be it with the Public Service Commission, ConEdison, NYSERDA, PSE&G, the NJ BPU, or with the implementation contractors in California.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?

I have a hand in many facets of our business and have worked with each executive and their teams on various projects. I work regularly with the Engineering Directors to develop our scopes of services and price our contracts, and have even occasionally taken on project management duties. I also provide our engineers advisory support on incentive program project staging and incentive payment coordination. In the recent past, I’ve worked with the Energy Analysts on generating utility usage data sets to identify sites for potential Distributed Energy Resource (DER) applications, developed Salesforce re-designs for our pricing intake process with the Operations team, assisted Legal with modifying the terms and conditions of our contracts, and have co-authored responses to RFPs&Qs for our Executive and Strategic Initiatives teams.

As Bright Power’s Sales Operations Manager, I combine the work I do across divisions to build the infrastructure we need to improve our business and operational needs with the work of distilling technical and programmatic information (including incentives, financing, and public policy) for the Account Managers and their clients.

What are some of the incentive programs you’ve worked with and which of these have worked really well for our clients?

As primary liaison for Bright Power’s incentive program partnerships, I’ve worked with NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP), NY-Sun, Combined Heat-and-Power (CHP), and Real-Time Energy Management (RTEM) programs as well as ConEdison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency (MFEEP), Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency (CIEEP), Demand Management (DMP), and Non-Wires Solutions programs here in New York. I’ve also worked closely with the Board of Public Utilities’ clean energy programs and the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) in New Jersey. Other states and programs I’ve been active in include Connecticut’s Energize CT Program, the Mass Save Program in Massachusetts, Pepco’s Multifamily programs in Maryland and Washington D.C., as well as California-based multifamily programs in the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCal Gas service territories.

I think the NY-Sun incentive program has worked pretty well in making solar more accessible for our clients. It shaves a good percentage off our costs for installing solar systems and is structured in a way that’s transparent and easy to understand. The MW-block structure allows us to know in advance the amount of incentives a project is eligible for before the work begins and that predictability makes the prospect of installing solar a more convincing proposition. This incentive has also been bolstered by the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and the precipitous decline in the cost of solar PV modules over the last decade but the NY-Sun incentive has made the investment decision easier, particularly in New York City where it can still be quite expensive to do solar work. Since 2000, the NY-Sun program has incentivized over 217 MW of installed capacity (DC) in the “small commercial” sector alone–that’s the project sector Bright Power participates in the most. This sector represents 20% of all the installed capacity in the state that’s gone through the NY-Sun program. Bright Power has installed over 6 MWs of solar since 2010 which is an impressive chunk of that market, especially when you consider the constraints of working with limited roof space in the five boroughs of New York City.

23 Jul

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update July 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

A hot summer puts winter on edge.

The Bottom Line

With the record hot summer continuing, storage of natural gas is becoming an issue. For now, up-to-date prices for electricity and natural gas still compare favorably to 2016 and 2017 rates and present opportunities to reduce costs through both fixed and variable supply contracts.

What to know about 2018

Currently, wholesale natural gas prices are 8% lower than 2017. The summer 2018 favorable pricing may reverse as the year continues. Above normal temperatures cause high gas demand for electric generation to meet cooling needs. This, coupled with increased exports of liquified natural gas (LNG), will reduce the amount of gas available for winter and cause upward pressure on rates. If you have contracts expiring in 2018, we recommend exploring replacement agreements sooner than later.

Why Act Now

The changes in market conditions ahead increase the risk of higher prices and are clear signals to now to assess your supply options for electric and natural gas. Look to protect costs this winter by acting while rates are low.

Temperature Probability Maps

This summer may be the hottest on record. An El Niño effect is forecasted for this fall and winter, which may lower rates by creating milder temperatures. The orange/red in the maps below indicate heat increases from normal. Continued hot weather will cause upward pressure on pricing, while a mild fall and winter can mean low energy demand and low prices.

Summer 2018

 

 

Fall 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Winter 2019

 

18 Jul

Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Why it Matters

Danielle Brocker Energy & water management

Having an energy and water strategy in place — and sticking to it — will help to improve building and portfolio performance. A successful strategy helps you to look at your entire portfolio and prioritize your investments, source and secure incentives and financing, install improvements, and measure the data to verify the success and best inform other opportunities.

Why it Matters

Several of our clients have strategies that allow them to realize benefits beyond their goals. While you might strive to achieve only 1 or 2 of the below, you can often realize additional, unexpected benefits when you deploy a coordinated strategy with an expert. This is why many leading organizations work with us to make it a priority.

  • Lower operating costs
  • Reduce waste
  • Secure more attractive financing
  • Receive incentives
  • Reduce maintenance headaches
  • Increase property value
  • Increase NOI with new investment opportunities
  • Improve tenant comfort and retention
  • Receive certifications like LEED or ENERGY STAR
  • Diminish risk of project delays
  • Drive corporate sustainability goals
  • Reduce negative environmental impacts
  • Increase operating cash flow for the life of a building

Map it Out

No matter your current approach to sustainability, we can help you create your strategic roadmap. As an energy and water management partner, Bright Power helps develop an organization-specific strategy and implement it successfully. Our Find, Fix, Follow approach ensures we recommend the right strategy for each portfolio and owner. How does it work? We Find areas of energy and water waste using utility bills; Fix buildings to perform optimally through our turnkey energy audits and retrofits; Follow the data to ensure every project achieves its goals.

Using the steps below, under our Find, Fix, Follow approach, you can feel confident no stone will be left unturned and your strategy will be integrated.

Bright Power's Find, Fix, Follow Approach

Mercy Housing utilized our Find, Fix, Follow approach to breakthrough challenges and define what success meant to them. Partnering with Bright Power and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), Mercy Housing sought to upgrade 80+ California properties. We prioritized the improvements across the properties in the most cost-effective way, bundling financing, incentives, and high-impact upgrades. The entire project is being implemented in phases and anticipates the last set of properties to be completed by early 2020.

Mercy Housing is able to utilize a “Pay from Savings” financing model to complete efficiency improvements when they are needed most, rather than waiting for refinancing or taking out a secondary loan. Addressing Mercy Housing’s challenges head on allowed us to find the best solution for them. Learn more about Mercy Housing’s strategy for implementing energy and water projects here.

Easier Said Than Done

Like everything in life, sticking to a plan is easier said than done. The importance of sticking to your strategy may seem obvious but it keeps your team accountable and helps you avoid costly delays.  Keeping your goals and benefits top of mind and in plain sight while you implement your strategy will help keep the commitment alive. The good news is that you can rely on an expert like Bright Power to guide your organization throughout the entire strategy, execute implementation, and be your champion to remind you why staying on track is valuable. 

Remember, energy and water improvements don’t go out of style like interior upgrades. Here are a few tips to staying on track and keeping to it:

  • Budget in advance.
  • Create tangible milestones that you know you will keep, and be realistic.
  • If you don’t have the in-house bandwidth, then get help from experts.
  • Look to others within your organization and outside for examples of what works best.
  • Post a visual reminder of the value and results you will see if you stay on track – it keeps you motivated.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for future blogs in which I will share insights from owners and operators that are leaders in sustainability — including lessons learned and best practices for implementing an energy and water strategy.

Missed last week’s “Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Where to Start?” Check it out here.

13 Jul

Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Where to Start

Danielle Brocker Energy & water management

Making good on annual energy and water performance goals is hard.

Whether you’re a building owner or operator, work on-site or in a corporate office, your day-to-day work life does not revolve around energy and water performance. Other, more seemingly urgent priorities arise that continually postpone analyzing and taking action on energy and water usage. But, by devoting a small, focused amount of time, you can develop an energy and water strategy that will result in more efficient, sustainable, and profitable buildings. 

You can do this! And here’s how.

Set Tangible Goals

Take Bozzuto Management Company. In 2015, they sought to reduce energy across all company-managed properties and establish corporate sustainability goals. Bozzuto defined specific targets like their annual 3% energy savings portfolio goal, joined an energy efficiency initiative under U.S. Department of Buildings’ Better Buildings Challenge, and established a goal of increasing recycling by a minimum of 5% year over year across all communities.

By establishing a meaningful and achievable goal – the first of many focused on sustainability – we are able to share with our clients that we too are committed to high performance. We can work in partnership with them while growing and promoting a culture of sustainable operations internally.”

Peter Zadoretzky
Director of Sustainability, Bozzuto Management Company


Design and Implement Your Strategy

The first step many Bright Power clients, like Bozzuto, take to implement their energy and water strategy is to benchmark their properties. Through an analytics tool like our EnergyScoreCards™ cloud-based platform, they can gain a deeper understanding of their energy and water consumption, identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement, and measure and verify results after project implementation.

Realize Benefits

By defining their goals, outlining a tangible strategy, and implementing it, Bozzuto was able to achieve a 3% energy reduction in 2017 across their whole portfolio. This decrease in energy usage translates to nearly $1 million in savings compared to 2016 data measured in EnergyScoreCards and over $15.5 million in increased asset value across the entire portfolio. Not to mention being awarded ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the second year in a row and named Property Management Company of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), showcasing that you don’t have to choose between doing what’s right for your business and for the environment.

Clients like Bozzuto Management Company are proving that with a sound energy and water strategy in place, goals can be met.

Continue reading here to learn why having an energy and water strategy is important, how to get projects done more holistically, and tips to staying on track so that you can reach your goals.

27 Jun

Why We Worry With Weather Weirdness

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

Of the many things that move energy prices, weather is the most obvious of all. The equation is simple. Extreme cold in winter requires more fuel for heating, demand goes up, therefore price goes up. But not all temperature changes are as obvious as winter cold = high prices or summer heat = high prices.

Shoulder months (months between winter and summer) are often considered slow periods for energy price volatility. But even these calm periods can move the market. Unfortunately, this past April and May are good examples of how unexpected temperatures can alter market conditions.

You won’t be surprised to hear that outdoor temperatures are measured at thousands of locations around the country. But did you know that those figures are used to create a special metric measured by how much temperatures vary from a 65-degree benchmark? In winter these are known as “heating degree days – HDD” (degrees under 65) and in summer as “cooling degree days – CDD” (degrees over 65). The greater the number, the more heating or cooling is required.

In the tables below you can see the heating degree days for April and May and the cooling degree days for May. April was 36% colder than the five year average for the month, while May was 47% warmer. Additionally, May was so warm that it used 57% more cooling degree days than the five-month average.

HDD CDD April May 2018

So, why do we care?

We care because the temperature swings in these months have a direct impact on natural gas usage, stored volumes, and, ultimately, natural gas and electric prices. The combined effect of April and May 2018 produced an elevation in prices into a new and higher trading range (about a 3% increase). All supply bought for next winter is impacted by these months and will remain in place until the next market shift.

So What’s Ahead? El Niño, maybe.

Over the past few months, the surface water temperature in the Pacific has been rising and is heading toward an El Niño effect later this fall. So what does this mean for us?  Simply put, it will create warmer weather in the north, creating a change in the jet stream that will reduce the impact (but not the number of) hurricanes. The overall effect of El Niño is a moderately bearish change (unless usage and prices drop). While the arrival of El Niño and its strength are still uncertain, we can definitely take away an important lesson from this spring: when it comes to weather, expect the unexpected.

26 Jun

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update June 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

Summer begins. Still a buying opportunity.

The Bottom Line

Current prices for electricity and natural gas compare favorably to 2017 rates and present opportunities to reduce costs through supply contracts. Today’s lower prices are supported by record high levels of natural gas production.

What to know about 2018

While today’s prices are still low, there is concern this hot summer will cause high demand for electric generation to meet cooling needs. Continued increasing exports of liquified natural gas (LNG) will reduce available gas for winter storage. If both a hot summer and increased exports occur, there may be a reversal and prices may rise this summer and winter. If you have contracts expiring in 2018 or early 2019, you will want to price them early and evaluate your timing on completing your supply contracts. If you are receiving procurement services from Bright Power, we are already completing or planning this evaluation for you.

Why Act Now

In the past month, hot weather and hot forecasts have buoyed prices up, while increased production of gas has kept prices in range. These factors may fall out of balance, increasing the risk of higher prices this summer and winter. As many property owners and managers are risk averse, it is clearly a time to protect prices this summer and to prepare to capture the winter prices if the market remains favorable.

25 Jun

Mercy Housing Wins NAA’s ROE Energy Retrofit Award

Bright Power affordable housing, California

“On June 16 Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partner Mercy Housing was honored with the National Apartment Association’s (NAA’s) Return on Energy (ROE) Energy Retrofit Award. The award recognizes smart, innovative solutions that successfully reduce energy in a quantifiable way by showing estimated return on investment (ROI) at an individual property.”

In partnership with Mercy Housing and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), Bright Power provided the following services at 205 Jones Street Apartments:

  • Installed heat pump hot water heating system
  • Installed Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
  • Insulated pipes
  • Upgraded LED lighting in common areas & resident apartments
  • Implemented low-flow fixtures on faucets & shower heads
  • Installed ENERGY STAR® washing machines

Read more here via Better Buildings.