Congratulations to our own Paul Harrell for receiving ASBO International’s 2017 Pinnacle Award. Paul achieved this award through the work he did while he was the Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Operations at the North Kansas City School District. The award is the category “Partnership for Creation of an Innovative Learning Space” and was for his efforts in improving the district’s Innovation Campus.
Paul Harrell is the newest member to our team and we are excited to have him on board. Paul comes to us from the North Kansas City School District where he was CFO and deputy superintendent. His 33 years of experience in the K-12 education market will certainly be an asset in helping understand our school district clients and the financial difficulties they face.
Get to know Paul as he has a conversation with our own Ryan Terry.
The following Navitas article was published in the Spring Pre-Conference 2017 issue of the Missouri School Plant Manager magazine, published by PTR Communications. The Missouri School Plant Manager magazine is the official publication of the Missouri School Plant Manager’s Association (http://www.mspma.com).
Towards Greater Energy Efficiency: You’ve Already Made Some Crucial Decision, Whether You Realize It or Not
By Ryan Terry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are You Going to Make a Decision About Energy Efficiency? Whether you know it or not, you actually have made a decision on energy efficiency. Whether you have decided to do nothing, pursued a traditional process of repairing/replacing systems and equipment, or hired an expert to help you make your energy decisions, decisions have been made.
Have you made the right decisions? Are you as energy efficient as you could be? Are you doing everything you can to make sure your organization is successful?
Most older buildings were not designed with efficient use of energy in mind. In fact, even many of the newer buildings that were designed to be energy efficient are not constructed or operated as intended. Not only does this inefficient operation result in a larger “carbon footprint” but the fact is, inefficient buildings cost more money to run and are less comfortable for occupants.
Whether buildings are new or old, they can be energy efficient. Many schools have begun the transition from doing nothing to having their own staff implement energy-efficient strategies, to hiring contractors or maybe hiring an Energy Service Company. Each of these options may have different benefits, but all are better than doing nothing.
Many schools find themselves doing nothing and choose to close their eyes on the fact that their costs for utilities are high and continue to increase every year. Even though the potential for savings is there, they continue to have utility costs eat further and further into their budgets. They choose to not take the time to understand how much they spend on energy and how that compares to what they should be spending.
There may be other priorities and decisions that need to be made on things that feel more pressing. They continue to do nothing until they find themselves in a spot where other things are not as pressing, they get in financial difficulties, have pressing facility issues or learn something new that causes them to realize their energy costs are a problem.
How and Where to Start
First, take some time to try and understand your problems. Why are you interested in doing something about this? Did you decide you are spending too much on energy? Do you have other places you would like to spend that money? Talk to your administrators, facility staff and others that are impacted by the energy consuming systems you have in your buildings.
Consider talking to other professionals to get their perspectives. Architects, engineers, contractors and Energy Service Companies can provide you with knowledge and experience from their fields of expertise. Take the things you begin to learn and set out on a plan.
The next step involves defining a plan and approach. Do you want help from others or do you want to consider having others help you define a plan and create an approach. Some want help, others feel they can do it cheaper themselves. If this is you, you may be right.
Here is a way for you to think through your situation. It is true that architects, engineers, contractors and Energy Service Companies will charge for their services. Ask yourself if you believe their expertise can provide a better long-term value. The money you are saving by doing it yourself may be eaten up by substandard solutions and lost savings while you wait for projects to be completed.
Or there could be significant ideas or strategies that will provide savings that you haven’t learned about. A professional with significant experience may be able to help you achieve greater savings, more quickly that are more sustainable. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know how much energy your facilities consume?
- Do you understand how and why energy is used in your facilities?
- Are you familiar with the latest energy saving equipment, systems and strategies?
- Do your energy saving ideas have many details that need to be evaluated and understood for proper implementation?
Systems and Equipment Knowledge
- Do you have the ability to identify the real problems or determine the best solution?
- Do you know what the issues are with your current equipment or systems?
- Do you have the time and technical ability to investigate many products/solutions and determine which ones are the best?
- Do you have the time and ability to put out an RFP and evaluate the proposals you get back?
- Do you know how to manage the implementation of the solutions you decide on?
- Does your staff have the time to install the equipment?
- If it takes you longer to implement the solution how much will you lose in savings?
- Are you comfortable managing contractors and vendors to make sure you are getting what you are paying for?
- If they don’t do something correctly will you know?
- What things will you hold your staff or the contractor accountable for? Schedule? Quality? Savings?
- Do you know how to maintain the solution appropriately?
- Do you know how to operate it in the most efficient manner?
- Will you know if it is not operating correctly or achieving the energy efficiency you expect?
- If your bills don’t show the savings what will you do?
If you believe energy efficiency is important and are interested in having your district operate more efficiently, consider the accompanying Steps to Energy Efficiency. Whether you do them yourself or with a consultant, you can improve your situation. Each step builds on the preceding one to optimize your facilities into high-performance schools.
What decisions will you make about energy efficiency? As this question arises in your organization, help educate others that what you do has a large impact on your overall financial success. Consult with outside professionals as appropriate, and continue doing all you can to improve the quality of education provided in the state of Missouri.
Click here to download a PDF of the article from the Missouri School Plant Manager magazine.
Navitas is excited to announce that Mike McNeil is joining our team as a Project Manager. Mike brings over 35 years of construction knowledge and has diverse experience working for control contractors, equipment vendors, general contractors, specialty subcontractors, and as national account owner’s rep.
Mike specialized in Energy Services, before that was cool by helping owner’s select the proper HVAC equipment & ensuring the installation; implementing control installation & sequences; bidding & managing weatherization and fire-stopping; managing lighting & plumbing upgrades; and numerous other services.
Mike will be responsible for the overall construction management of the project and will be involved in all phases of the project. As a project manager, he will be accountable for all aspects of the construction process including contracts, construction coordination, site-specific issues, and implementation closeout.
Mike and his wife reside in South Overland Park with their son, Pete, who is going to be a freshman next year. Mike’s older son just got married in February and also lives nearby. In Mike’s free time he can be found cleaning his pool while drinking one of his home brews.
If an HVAC technician told you your furnace was old and needed to be replaced, even if it was currently running OK, would you replace it?
For most people, perhaps myself included, the answer is no! In my head I would think that my boiler maybe has another 1–2 years of life left. I would also think that if it did fail, I would call up my tech, he’d say “I told you so”. Then I’d pay a premium for an emergency install. But at least I’d think I got my money’s worth from that piece of equipment!
It’s not quite the same situation in a commercial building or in a school, but I still run across this scenario pretty often—even in facilities that can’t afford to lose a single day because of the lack of heating (or cooling).
Equipment failure can cause heartburn – from the increase in cost of an emergency installation to lost days of occupancy. Additionally, since during failures time isn’t an available commodity, one scenario that isn’t often considered is whether it would be best for the entire system to be replaced.
Waiting to replace equipment until it fails typically locks a facility to the existing system for another 25–30 years.
In buildings that have 50+ year old hot water pipes, does it make sense to install a new boiler when the pipes should also be replaced?
Does it make sense to replace a water cooled chiller when the entire system—from the cooling tower to the air handlers—also needs replacement?
Sometimes, the answer is yes, sometimes it’s maybe, sometimes it’s no. Before committing another 25–30 years to an existing HVAC system, understand there are many ways to provide for a clean, comfortable space.
Talk to your provider and explore your options before equipment fails.
— Ryan Terry (email@example.com)