Cher Murphy writes on The Stewardship Report website about the need for us to be much more ambitious in our actions to improve energy efficiency. What are your views?
Why Small Changes Are Not Enough in Energy Efficiency
Millions of people take steps each year to try to reduce their carbon footprint and save energy. Utility companies offer behavior-changing suggestions such as thermostats, appliances and smart meters to help them do just that. What many people don’t realize is that these changes, while positive, are a drop in the bucket and won’t produce substantive energy or cost savings in the long run. To reach our climate change targets and produce real, meaningful energy savings we have to think bigger. One company, EnergyX Solutions, is on a mission to help deliver the long-term benefits and gains of opting for retrofitting buildings, rather than focusing on smaller behavioral changes.
“It’s nice to adjust the thermostat or take other behavioral changes, but we know that there is a much better way,” explains Nishaant Sangaavi, the co-founder and chief executive officer of EnergyX Solutions. “We can’t rely upon forcing people to try and make changes to the way they live. When you retrofit the homes and buildings, it lasts the life of the building and you are going to generate real, significant energy savings and emissions reductions.”
EnergyX Solutions specializes in what President Biden’s administration is proposing. President Biden has announced his clean energy plan for the next four years. His plan includes upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes over the next four years. The goal is to retrofit the homes and buildings to help them become more energy-efficient.
The core difference in what EnergyX Solutions offers compared to other companies is that it focuses on identifying deep retrofit opportunities. These building retrofits can help reduce energy consumption by 60%, which is far more than focusing on behavioral changes only. There are numerous reasons why focusing on retrofitting buildings is the better route to go, including:
- Habits are hard to break. Asking people to make behavioral changes, such as shutting off lights and adjusting their thermostat, is not a solid way to achieve long-term success. People may start out changing their behavior, then fall back into old habits, or they may not want to make changes at all. Further, the behavioral changes only amount to a 2-7% energy savings.
- Retrofitting saves more energy. Energy consumption reduction can be as much as 60% when there has been a deep retrofit. When you add up the savings over time, 7% versus 60%, the difference is vast.
- Higher resale values. When a home has been retrofitted for energy savings, it is going to have a higher resale value. With retrofitting, the work has been done to reduce energy consumption, making it attractive to new buyers who will also benefit from the lower monthly energy costs.
- Homes become more durable. Rather than focusing on adjusting the thermostat, among other behavioral changes, retrofitted homes become more durable. The changes that are made help to keep out moisture, improve ventilation, hold in heat during the winter, and more.
- Better indoor and outdoor air quality. By reaching climate change goals, we will reach outdoor air quality goals, but when homes are retrofitted, they will have better indoor air quality, too. This is because it helps to keep out pollution, moisture, mold, etc. Better indoor air quality helps with overall human health.
- Increased comfort level. Homes that have been retrofitted to be more energy-efficient have an increased level of comfort. The indoor conditions are better controlled to make the indoor environment more appealing.
- More money savings. While retrofitting buildings costs more up front, it leads to huge savings in the long run. Once the building has been retrofitted, there will be big savings on a monthly and yearly basis that will add up over time. Plus, the energy and monetary savings will stay with the building, so even if the tenants change, the benefits will still be gained.
“We cannot meet climate change targets with behavioral changes alone,” added Sangaavi. “It is imperative that we focus on deep retrofitting efforts if we are to meet our climate change goals. We are happy to be at the forefront of this movement and look forward to the long-term successes that will be generated by the retrofit sector.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, retrofitting a building is taking steps to upgrade the energy performance for its ongoing life. Retrofit modifications, it reports, can reduce operational costs, attract new tenants, and provide a market edge.
EnergyX Solutions is quickly becoming a leader in the clean energy revolution. It has raised $5 million in dilutive and non-dilutive funding and has had 100% growth each year. The EnergyX Solutions software is an artificial intelligence model that is data-driven, offering updates and strong collaboration with utility partners. It has been designed to offer program automation, workflow and vendor management, and it can run a utility energy-efficiency program end to end. Scalable, accurate building audits paired with user-focused and digital program automation will be a critical piece of the retrofit programs of tomorrow.
Utilities and organizations that use the EnergyX Solutions software are able to get the highest net savings per program dollar spent. Additionally, 70% of those who use the software take steps to improve their energy efficiency; the software reduces the number of calls to call centers, helping to save utilities money; and it offers fully customized solutions so that people get a unique utility customer experience.