Making green on helping buildings get green

Phase one of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is a program called the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit, under a group of designated "energy service companies" have been charged (get it?) with assessing buildings in 40 cities around the world, figuring out their energy-efficiency IQ, and making improvements.

Phase one of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) is a program called the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit, under a group of designated "energy service companies" have been charged (get it?) with assessing buildings in 40 cities around the world, figuring out their energy-efficiency IQ, and making improvements.

For background, CCI reports that urban environments account for approximately 75 of energy use around the world, which makes them enormous culprits in the fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Another figure that the organization cites: Buildings in those cities account for about 40 percent of those emissions (although the figure is, not surprisingly, higher in New York and London.)

I got curious about the companies that will be performing these very high-profile assessments. And, lo and behold, one of them contacted me a few weeks ago, because they've just been added to the list of those working with CCI.

TAC, aka Schneider Electric's Building Automation Business, has a pretty simple mission: go into buildings and identify every product or operational process that is affecting energy usage. And then, recommend ways to make things better.

That could include new lights, a new roof, new windows, HVAC upgrades, alternative energy sources, or an energy management system.

After an assessment, the company comes up with suggestions of ways the building's energy profile can be made over as well as the financing proposition to get it done. Basically, the money that could be saved on the project becomes the seed money that will be invested in the new technologies to make things happen, says Wes McDaniel, vice president of energy solutions for the Schneider Electric division. (The process is known as performance contracting.)

Here's some more details about a project TAC did for a university in Pennsylvania.

It shouldn't surprise you that most of the energy services organization that CCI is working with are affiliated with mega electrical and HVAC product companies. (Who better to recommend their products.)

Aside from Schneider Electric, the other five companies are Noresco, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Siemens and Trane. (Definitely check on the Noresco and Trane links, which have more info on this topic.)

McDaniel said one challenge faced by any building management company wanting to take on a retrofit is education of the maintenance engineers. That's something that the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditions Engineers has pledged to address in conjunction with CCI.

How green is your building? Give me great examples I can feature here.