Standards for Disclosure of Transactional Energy Use

2 09 2009

The last time I heard about Energy Use disclosure for commercial real estate transactions it was in relation with California AB1103: which requires energy use disclosure for commercial real estate transaction. The latest addition to that  is, ASTM standard under development. I read a few articles by major real estate law firms regarding the concerns about inconsistencies/data manipulation possible in energy disclosure. ASTM standard under development ASTM WK24707 : Guide for Building Energy Performance disclosure aims to address those concerns. I feel the current scope of ASTM standard goes beyond mere energy use disclosure to cover applicable energy codes, economic grants and incentives (federal/state), green building certification, carbon footprint and carbon neutrality potential.

For those readers interested in checking out what areas will be covered by the Standard to bring consistency and transparency in the real estate transactional disclosure please check out the link below.

I listened a few hours ago to a Lexis/Nexis (premier law content provider) podcast on the ASTM standards under development. Please click on the link below for the podcast and learn about the potential influence of this upcoming standard!–Climate-Change-Podcast/Environment-Climate/

I am very happy with the development in this sphere, especially since the disclosure will bring in rigor and financial motivation for prospective sellers to make energy efficiency upgrades a priority. It is a kind of economic/financial push to force ambivalent owners/sellers of existing buildings towards greening their buildings. A feather in the hat would have been the inclusion of mandatory Energy Use Label from EPA for existing old buildings under Waxman -Markey Bill. However, real estate industry has used influence to eliminate the mandatory label on existing buildings. At least AB1103/ASTM standard will provide the market based incentives for energy efficiency investments.


Want to hire a Green Building Consultant?

16 05 2008

As I get ready to venture into the green building industry, I find many green building/ sustainable building consultants. Just thought of creating a ready to use list which I might need in the future. I will try and create some kind of categories, in terms of their geography, building type, market segment. At the moment I will just list them.

Green Building Services, OR (USA):

Encraft, (UK)

Davis Langdon (UK)

Yudelson Associates, AZ (USA) consulting for marketing, project and program development, research reports/ studies as well as green building services. They have authored a survey based report on local government incentives for green building Green Building Incentives That Work: A Look at How Local Governments Are Incentivizing Green Development

Brightworks OR, (USA)


Green Ideas AZ, (USA)

I-Kan NY, (USA)

Simon and Associates CA (USA)

Two Trails Inc, (USA)

Paladino and Co, WA (USA)

O’Brien & Company, WA(USA)

CTG Energetics multiple offices CA, NV, VA (USA)

EE Initiative: specifically for energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Partners with utility companies and commercial real estate professional for achieving energy efficiency. Uses both Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking or LEED certification for achieving the goal.

Enovity Inc multiple offices CA, AZ and WA( USA): Provide commissioning, retro-commissioning, energy engineering and sustainable design and building operations and maintenance services. They have some rebate offering for retro-commissioning ( subject to eligibility requirements) which may be of interest to property owners or building facility managers.

Building Wise LLC, Santa Cruz(CA): independent LEED EB and sustainability consulting. Co-founders, Dan Ackerstein and Barry Gilles, are seasoned LEED EB consultant, technical reviewer and faculty with USGBC.

Edu Tracks, Fairfax (CA): specializes in Green Building & Sustainability Education

SEPartners, San Francisco, (CA): I just came across another green consulant in the Facilities Expo in Santa Clara, Sept 24, 2008. They are called the Sustainable Energy Partners (SEP) based  in SFO. They provide Clean energy consulting services.

My list of green buildings consultants is growing. I was at the Greenbuild Conference Nov19-21, 2008 in Boston last week. I went to the booth set up by Constellation Energy. Another energy sector consulting company. They provide energy consulting, carbon neutrality consulting, performance contracting for energy upgrades, energy procurement such as RECs, PPA, demand response etc.


Seville consulting:

Magrann Associates:

Practica Consulting for residential/multifamily:

Environmental Building Strategies for Single/Multi Family Residential and Revitalization projects: Offices in SF, LA (CA) and Aspen (CO).

Watch out IPOs- Silver Spring!

16 04 2008

I was busy doing some research for job hunting this week. I stumbled upon SOLARCITY. This is a pre IPO Solar installation startup which seems promising to me.

Already entrenched in different building types- residential, commercial and government. Few things that popped out:

Solar Lease: offering installation on lease to generate volume. Low initial upfront payment

Community solar programs: residents seem to buy collectively for bulk discounts from SolarCity

Free site evaluation: You can get a free site eval. Homeowners, no harm in trying this! right.

IPO: I have my doubts about when they will go IPO. Considering that the IPO market is lukewarm and tepid. My suggestion is to wait and watch for their ticker to trade on Wall street. I have no clue on the revenue $$ they are generating.

If interested, follow the link

It has been a while since I wrote this post about Solar City. Not much has happened with SolarCity. However, my latest reading on energy and smart grid sector IPO tells me this:

Solyndra ( backed by equity financing) and Silver Spring Networks ( venture backed) are prepping up for their respective IPO’s. It has been a very quiet time otherwise on the IPO scene. These two companies may be worth watching.

I have adding to this post after a very long time. Silver Springs IPO happened in early July. I have not tracked the stock price but it must make an interesting stock to watch!

I wanted to add this bit of news for Solyndra that I read last week 9/1/2011. Solyndra closed shop and is planning to declare bankruptcy. This is one of the companies that I had marked as a potential IPO candidate. Unfortunate to hear the sad news about Solyndra (silicon valley startup backed by government grant and the bad news for solar industry.

Implementing Demand Response and Energy Efficiency

4 11 2009

I have been reading a bit about Demand Response and Energy Efficiency. Utilities  both public and investor owned are trying to implement joint programs for energy efficiency and demand response. Few pertinent questions come to my mind.

What does this sync up mean for the end users.. commercial and large industrial end users of electricity and what does this partnership provide the utilities?  What are the resources and services available in the market for businesses to analyze and implement such a program?

EE and DR are kinds of demand side energy management techniques. EE is permanent while DR is temporary based on time, season, price and load conditions on the grid. Utilities benefit from EE as they are able to reduce their base load. Energy efficiency is a kind of permanent demand side energy management slightly different from temporary load based demand response. Utilities need both kinds of demand side energy management . They embrace EE for long term load curtailment and DR for active load management.

As for the business customer of the utility, demand response until now was an option which the Facilities/Operations/ Management decided to participate in or opt out under various kinds of programs offered by the utility. However, the stage is being set for automated demand response (ADR), due to the communication upgrade by the utility in terms of smart meter and automated servers (the whole AMI infrastructure). If utility’s infrastructure becomes capable of sending price signals to the business customer  via smart meter/server in near real time, demand response gets a higher value and attention as a demand side management tool. This is because of real time based pricing instead of negotiated flat rate, DR has the capability to provide potential monetization for the customer.

The big question is are businesses ready for that kind of scenario. Based on my experience, very few commercial/ industrial customers have the tools, resources or management approval for DR, leave aside ADR. DR impacts business operations and reliability in most energy intensive enterprises. Hence it has always been an item with pending decision.

What are the resources available for large business customers to analyze and explore the combination of EE and DR. EE is being implemented in almost all companies where the ROI is less than one year. In addition where incentives and subsidies bring ROI to a palatable level such as solar, the projects get funded. Most utilities provide DR programs. If the in-house demand side management resources are tight and a company needs outside help in analyzing and managing DR there is help in the marketplace.

Based on my research I have found consulting and DR service providers who offer help in understanding all the variables in EE/DR/ADR . Some firms are pure consulting firms that help the companies understand the energy market holistically from supply and demand side and optimize an energy strategy for them, which includes EE/DR planning and implementation. Such as KEMA (, Navigant Consulting ( and many more. Typically you would also need in house resources for implementation. There are others that operate as pure DR providers. They are regional or national aggregators who work with end users, utilities and RTO/ISO’s to solve the problem of oversized demand. Companies such as CPower; EnerNOC; Ziphany; Eisenbach Consulting .

Below are few details on offerings from different providers.

EnerNOC: offers both DR and EE. EE uses Monitoring based commissioning for uncovering savings. They monitor all the systems of the building after integrating the systems with their central control panel. Based on monitoring and analysis they offer EE opportunities.

Ziphany: offers mainly DR along-with meter data management platform. They do not provide integration service with building systems and equipment such as EnerNOC.

Eisenbach Consulting: offers mainly DR along-with energy procurement services.

CPower: offers both DR and EE. However, the target market for EE is Utilities and not business owners.

I am not advocating any provider over the other. I am sure there are more DR providers that provide load management solutions and consulting firms that can help companies analyze their business needs and align the energy strategy with the company’s goals. My aim to let the business managers, operation managers know that if DR is getting ignored due to other priorities they can seek help. The best way to address EE and DR is to define a comprehensive energy strategy for the company- both from the supply and demand side. If the supply side is the constant, then they can focus their resources on demand side management. Defining overall strategy should be the first goal and action plans & resource allocation should be developed later. This is crucial since in the future companies will have to factor in cost of carbon in their energy strategy from procurement to end use.

This article is not intended as a technical  resource but my attempt at defining the constraints, barriers for widespread adoption of demand response by end users. Hope you enjoy reading.

Sheryl Crow and Al Gore at Green Build 2009 in Phoenix

28 07 2009

I just read that Sheryl Crow is going to perform at the Green Build 2009 Summit in Phoenix. For me that was a great reason to check the Early bird registration deadline and the cost. Although I am hard pressed for finances at this time, I must admit I was moved a bit towards registration. I jogged my memory a little bit and tried to recall my experiences at Green Build 2008. I then realized that Green Build was a great conference, great talks and technical sessions but needed a bit of entertainment to it much like the Customer Appreciation events hosted by the likes of Cisco, Oracle etc… Green Build is a kind of customer appreciation event, which aims to proliferate, disseminate and propagate LEED rating systems for end users- Government, institutions, schools, private business and home owners.

Another added attraction is the kids entertainment program organized alongside GreenBuild. That is a great concept and will go a long way towards bringing the female LEED proponents to the conference!!

Keep reading.

Just found out that Al Gore is delivering keynote address at Greenbuild 2009. I remember watching ” An Inconvenient Truth” sitting at the edge of my seat.. For me it was the first quantified and visual depiction of climate change in media.  I am sure he will make a compelling and awe inspiring keynote address.

Wireless Mesh networking solutions for demand side energy management

17 06 2009

I was at Connectivity Week 2009 in Santa Clara all of last week and found out about the hot topic- Convergence of Energy and IT. I think this convergence translates to Building and IT convergence as well.

Key takeaways for me from the conference:

There is a lot of potential to innovate products, solutions and standards for the next generation of Smart grids.

Vast array of products and solutions have been developed using wireless mesh networking technologies to address the energy management needs in   portfolio of commercial and office buildings. However, we need to exercise caution and engineering and business case judgment before investing in them. Having said that, I do want to let existing building owners, managers and facility professionals know that it is a GREAT opportunity. I plan to do a thorough technical and financial comparison of these products for my own reference.

The conference was full of representatives from Energy, BAS, research and IT world. The average age was I believe >50. We need young Engineers, Architects, Building professionals to shoulder this paradigm shift. I am one of them…

Keep reading. I need to take a tea break.

I would like my audience to check out these wireless energy management product companies listed in alphabetical order.

ARCH Rock:

Convergence Wireless:

Cypress Envirosystems:


Regen Energy:

BTW, There is a conference organized by UCLA’s WINMEC called  UCLA Smart Grid Leadership Forum. Check out the link below. This roundtable conference will host several leaders from government, industry, and academia.,

Virtual Energy Forum, Energy Summit, Bay Area Sustainable Expo (June 2009)

2 06 2009

Just a quick reminder to my readers about the conferences. There are two events scheduled for June in Silicon Valley:

1. Energy Summit 2009 hosted by Stanford University in collaboration with Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Condoleezza Rice is the keynote speaker for this event.

2. Northern California Facilities Expo (June 3 &4, 2009)

Below are the links if you would like to explore them.

Hope to see you all at these events. You will be hearing about more learning opportunities… I have more time to write the blog.

Happy reading!

I attended the Bay Area Sustainable Expo for a few hours on the opening day. The opening session speaker was Panama Bartholomy, a gifted speaker, bureaucrat. He gave an enthralling speech on current energy issues in California, how much money is flowing into the State, counties and Cities under the ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He suggested we check out the website below:

Another important thing that stuck my memory- How in China,  Solar water heating has become so popular. He showed a photo, with multiple high rise residential towers in China with solar hot water installation. I believe they are available for $120 only.. It is one of the status symbols.

Another session I attended was on Corporate Sustainability Initiatives. A panel discussion by Cisco, Roche, Symantec and JDS. Companies have implemented varied programs and efforts under this umbrella and they are all commendable. Cisco- will reduce 30% GHG emissions by 2012, Symantec will take all its owned buildings through LEED certification besides 3% GHG reduction target. Roche on the other hand has come far along in Corporate Sustainability learning curve- electrical, water, waste conservation. They now have full employee participation. They enjoy behavioral level savings in resource.

Just read about the schedule for the Virtual Energy Forum 2009 (June 24, 25 2009). I attended this Forum last year and was amazed by the depth and knowledge and breadth of the subject matter covered in the conference. Please check this out. You can watch this from your desk, home, coffee shop. It is free and virtual and a great congregation of great minds.

Greenbuild Conference 2008 Boston

2 01 2009

Greenbuild 2008 was my first Greenbuild conference. I was pretty amazed to know 30,000 people were expected at the Conference. I did get a proof of that number when I stood in queue for 45 min to get a ride back to my hotel from the Boston Convention Center.

Yes, it was a huge gathering of people from the world of architecture, construction, policy and building marketplace. The venue was beautiful with grand views, short queues for food and amenties, green recycling, great key note speakers and spectacular expo. I especially liked the expo for its breadth and cutting edge display of products and services. I have made a short list of some things that caught my attention. I will share it with my readers later.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference. However, I felt there were too many sessions and conflicting schedules. I wish I had 3 more replicas of me to attend other sessions which were pertinent to my world. I restricted myself to the free sessions. I had no time for the  half day tours, outside the venue sessions and educational paid workshops. I also could not brace myself to face the cold chilly weather! I like warm weather and cold is not for me. However, for those who did not mind the walk in cold, with frost bites did venture out. Incidentally, I met someone at the local USGBC gala dinner, who mentioned about her adventurous frost bit walk back to the downtown.

I will keep writing more about the trip. For now, I will take a break.

Tidbit: next GreenBuild is in Phoenix !!!

Northern California Facilities Expo Santa Clara/ West Coast Green in San Jose

25 09 2008

Just to quick reminder to my readers about the conferences. There are 2 happening this week in Silicon Valley; West Coast Green in San Jose ( Sep24-Sep26, 2008) and Northern California Facilities Expo. I will write more about them.

Below are the links if you would like to explore them. The keynote address is by Al Gore on Saturday, Sept 27, 2008 at the West Coast Green.

Unfortunately, I could not visit the conference. I do not have any updates, except that my friend who visited the conference liked it. Another remark I got was that some of the sessions were not so full and attendance was less compared to Eco City World Conference in SFO..

While the Facilities Expo is the free for all expo showcasing the latest products in engineering, facilities management and LEED certification across the landscaping, electrical, mechanical and controls spectrum. The link is below:;jsessionid=IQbNm7EdguBPc163w2w__Epj

I visited the Facilities expo for a couple of hours on Wednesday. There was nothing very profound, or outstanding. One thing came to my mind, there were too many cool roofing products and roof installers in the expo. Seems like the cool roof, is catching up. I expect the price competition to intensify to customers can get better products for affordable price. It seems over priced right now.