The matter of mastering a building’s energy use, getting maximum performance out of each calorie and electron, is to many people a black art. Buildings account for about 40 percent of the U.S. energy appetite, as well as 40 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Department of Energy.
By Saqib Rahim/ClimateWire
Experts say that applying energy efficiency to this area could make major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but actually achieving these savings is hard for a variety of reasons. For one, renters are often the people nearest the thermostats, and they have little incentive to turn them down, or up. Paying heating or air-conditioning bills is usually the landlord’s job.
Even for landlords, the incentives and the tools to measure and save energy may not be there. When they think they’re doing something about it, it may be an illusion. That’s where Steve Heinz comes in.
For 30 years, he’s been refining his master work: a piece of software that tracks thousands of utility bills and answers the question, “If I’m trying to save energy in my buildings, is it actually working?”
His latest refinement, a deal with AccuWeather.com, takes that question one step further: “If the weather changes from year to year, are my buildings still energy-efficient?”
EnergyCAP Inc. is the company based on this software. Heinz founded it in 1980, before most Americans had even sat down at a computer. For decades, he sought out universities, retail chains, governments — anyone with a lot of buildings, a mountain of utility bills and no idea how to corral energy use.
Heinz sold them his software. He asked them how to improve it. Then, over the decades — except for the brief period that Enron owned the company, then flared out — he tinkered, tailored and polished.
Now, building owners can look back through decades of utility bills and learn the truth about how energy-efficient their buildings are.