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  1. #1
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    ICF International Energy Savings Program

    So our local power co. has contracted with ICF to implement an energy savings program. It basically amounts to rebates to consumers if they update their equipment or get a special "tune up." New equipment commisions and tune ups are to be well documented with key measures such as air flow, static pressure, refrigerant charge verification, ambients, WB, DB, SH, SC, efficiency calculation (which struck me as just a simpified enthalpy chart) etc.

    Anyone else go thru one of these programs before? Thoughts, impressions, issues?

    My first thought is how many customers, upon learning they can get a "special" clean and check, will ask what have you been doing all along?

    "Well ma'am...this here is a special Animal House Double Secret Probation Clean and Check." Even if you explain the extra cost by saying it takes more time to document all thes things, they would still ask why weren't you documenting them before?

    And what if you run into an issue right off the bat with static pressure and a starved return? "You mean to tell me you guys have been coming here for 12 years, twice a year and no one has said a thing?!"

    It was striking, when the guy asked how many of us calculated air flow, static pressure, efficiency etc. Not one hand went up - and it was a packed house in a large traning venue.

    I have to start my own air flow/psychrometrics class and be my own best student.

  2. #2
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    The power companies are mandated to spend X amount of dollars of their budget in the area of consumer energy conservation. This usually shows up on the average bill as a fee or tax that they collect and then spend on the consumer's behalf. This also meets some of their mandates on reducing the load on their system(s) and reducing the need for new power plants etc..

    ICF is a company that has developed a very good product to sell to the utility to allow them (the utility) to take this required amount of expenditure and shift the responsibility, staffing, management and headaches to someone else. Bottom line there is no return on investment with mandated programs of this type. Compliance also falls to ICF with the utility now only having to show that they hired someone else to assure their compliance.

    The more blanks to be filled in and the more information gathered makes what you (ICF) offer better than the other guy's. This information can be then used as a source of data to ........ promote other programs, influence code changes, government mandates, you name it.

    Should we as contractors have always provided this testing and data gathering? We have been. We were always required to build and install our systems to manufacture's specifications and whatever code requirements applied at the time. Are there systems out there that are not as good as they could be? Of course. Is it cost effective in all cases for the consumer to upgrade or modify them if the parameters are exceeded? No. How many of the things that will be measured are things that can change due to any number of factors?

    I wouldn't worry too much about what the customers reaction will be to this. What I would suggest is that you look at what you have been doing and if asked show where you've always provided your customers with the best service that technology and the applicable codes and recommendations at the time required. Explain that things are always changing in what importance is placed on everything that the new "program" will be measuring and that you will be adjusting your services and pricing to the new standard. Give them (as always) the ability to choose what they feel is important and that they're willing to pay for.

    It's never a bad thing when someone else raises the bar, especially when it's done across your entire service area. Make sure you're the one that stands out as the leader in the new game. It should be looked upon as a new opportunity to expand the services you offer and to make a living doing it.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecontrol View Post
    The power companies are mandated to spend X amount of dollars of their budget in the area of consumer energy conservation. This usually shows up on the average bill as a fee or tax that they collect and then spend on the consumer's behalf. This also meets some of their mandates on reducing the load on their system(s) and reducing the need for new power plants etc..

    ICF is a company that has developed a very good product to sell to the utility to allow them (the utility) to take this required amount of expenditure and shift the responsibility, staffing, management and headaches to someone else. Bottom line there is no return on investment with mandated programs of this type. Compliance also falls to ICF with the utility now only having to show that they hired someone else to assure their compliance.

    The more blanks to be filled in and the more information gathered makes what you (ICF) offer better than the other guy's. This information can be then used as a source of data to ........ promote other programs, influence code changes, government mandates, you name it.

    Should we as contractors have always provided this testing and data gathering? We have been. We were always required to build and install our systems to manufacture's specifications and whatever code requirements applied at the time. Are there systems out there that are not as good as they could be? Of course. Is it cost effective in all cases for the consumer to upgrade or modify them if the parameters are exceeded? No. How many of the things that will be measured are things that can change due to any number of factors?

    I wouldn't worry too much about what the customers reaction will be to this. What I would suggest is that you look at what you have been doing and if asked show where you've always provided your customers with the best service that technology and the applicable codes and recommendations at the time required. Explain that things are always changing in what importance is placed on everything that the new "program" will be measuring and that you will be adjusting your services and pricing to the new standard. Give them (as always) the ability to choose what they feel is important and that they're willing to pay for.

    It's never a bad thing when someone else raises the bar, especially when it's done across your entire service area. Make sure you're the one that stands out as the leader in the new game. It should be looked upon as a new opportunity to expand the services you offer and to make a living doing it.
    Thank you, Firecontrol, for the perspective and time you took to share it.

  4. #4
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    our local power company offers rebates for hi eff equipment. one requirement is for us to perform this type of "testing" to qualifie for the rebate. what it amounts to is data collection. pressures, SC, SH, amp draw, OAT, CFM, WB return, WB supply. etc etc etc.

    what struck you is what struck me. no one could answer what "they" did with the numbers we provided. to date i only heard of one rebate form rejected.

    i do have to say this was the push i needed to go forward and learn psycrometerics, the use of an enthalpy table all to do capacity checks. and i feel im better off for it.

    the program itself,,,, firecontrol pretty much nailed it so i wont go on about that.
    my boss thinks its possible to repeal the laws of physics

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch4man View Post
    our local power company offers rebates for hi eff equipment. one requirement is for us to perform this type of "testing" to qualifie for the rebate. what it amounts to is data collection. pressures, SC, SH, amp draw, OAT, CFM, WB return, WB supply. etc etc etc.

    what struck you is what struck me. no one could answer what "they" did with the numbers we provided. to date i only heard of one rebate form rejected.

    i do have to say this was the push i needed to go forward and learn psycrometerics, the use of an enthalpy table all to do capacity checks. and i feel im better off for it.

    the program itself,,,, firecontrol pretty much nailed it so i wont go on about that.
    Yep...I'm thinking similarly.

  6. #6
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    be ready to be frustrated on 2 points.....

    1- how many systems you thought were good really arent


    2- how many installs still get passed even though, as point #1 says, many are not that great.


    on the upside, you yourself will learn a lot. its only 6th grade mathamatics, a few simple measurements and an enthalpy table
    my boss thinks its possible to repeal the laws of physics

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch4man View Post
    be ready to be frustrated on 2 points.....

    1- how many systems you thought were good really arent


    2- how many installs still get passed even though, as point #1 says, many are not that great.


    on the upside, you yourself will learn a lot. its only 6th grade mathamatics, a few simple measurements and an enthalpy table
    And we will have installed the vast majority of these systems - only to come around a couple few years later to say "hey this thing is only 70% efficient." After sales pushed the "high efficiency Puron" bit to get them to buy...

    What is your preferred method/tools for documenting airflow, WB and static pressure.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurtinhvac View Post
    And we will have installed the vast majority of these systems - only to come around a couple few years later to say "hey this thing is only 70% efficient." After sales pushed the "high efficiency Puron" bit to get them to buy...

    What is your preferred method/tools for documenting airflow, WB and static pressure.
    they'll never know. home owners complain about comfort not efficiency.

    i carry a dwyer 475 manometer with a dwyer a303 tip for static, for wet/dry buld either a amprobe digital psycrometer or else just a good old fasion k-type t/c with a wick robbed off a bacarach sling.

    for airflow, depends if i have a blower curve handy, or maybe its an ecm drive. then just set dipswitches.

    i started a thread on the pro side about tuning an ac with SHR but that got no interest. if the numbers you get seem really off, either you've measured the temps wrong or the CFM you've inserted in the formulas isnt correct.

    heck just plug in 400 for the cfm and if your delta h is right you'll get 12,000 for an answer. if not- why??
    my boss thinks its possible to repeal the laws of physics

  9. #9
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    Anyone have a link to a source for replacement wicks for the K-couple? I can see losing a few here and there...

  10. #10
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    there many companies offering incentives not just power companies..Been through many talks and sale pitches...90% of existing properties will not spend the money to take advantage of this because they don't have the capital, even on a estimated 5yr ROI. Remember, the ROI is what they estimate. But in most cases it longer. I find the best time do any of this is during a major build out or a complete system change out or new construction.

  11. #11
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    I find it hard to get anyone excited about ROI anymore. Everyone is about the right now.

    Used to be in commercial if you could show 5-7yrs of ROI they'd find the money...... I find even the commercial side now is trying to figure out how to get 1 year or less paybacks, but if it's serious enough they "might" look out to 3 years.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurtinhvac View Post
    Anyone have a link to a source for replacement wicks for the K-couple? I can see losing a few here and there...
    j-mart carrys replacement bacarach wicks for cheap. give'm a call

    do one wrap of the wick and tc around your pocket screwdriver and then secure with the smallest zip tie you can find.

    or just tape it on
    my boss thinks its possible to repeal the laws of physics

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch4man View Post
    j-mart carrys replacement bacarach wicks for cheap. give'm a call

    do one wrap of the wick and tc around your pocket screwdriver and then secure with the smallest zip tie you can find.

    or just tape it on
    Great, thanks.

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