The proliferation of concrete mixers, workers in hard hats and tower cranes dotting the skylines are making one thing clear: the Twin Cities area is in a building construction boom. Recently Finance & Commerce recognized a total of 33 Top Building Projects for 2017 in the region.1
Another growing trend in building construction is known as building smarter. Today’s new structures use state-of-the-art technology to be more energy-efficient. And Xcel Energy’s Energy Design Assistance (EDA) program can play a big part in identifying and helping implement these efficiencies.
This free program is offered to businesses in Xcel Energy’s service territory and provides energy consulting services and incentives for incorporating energy-saving measures and technologies in major renovations and new building construction projects. Last year participants achieved on average an estimated 25 percent energy savings.2
EDA energy modeling is a gateway to savings now and later
Advances in LED lighting, lighting controls, heat recovery, window glazing, and HVAC building automation have made participating in the Energy Design Assistance program even more valuable. By balancing a wide array of efficiency strategies with clear energy efficiency goals, available rebates, and other incentives; EDA can help provide a smart, in-depth financial vision and a clear ROI rationale for any building project.
The EDA program begins with energy modeling, which starts early in the building design process. Kris Kohls, senior product portfolio manager with Xcel Energy, describes the EDA process this way, “In the past, creating energy models was complicated, onerous and time-consuming. There was a lot of back-and-forth, so the process could take weeks or months. Today, we can create a model using preliminary information from the building design team before we even meet. I like to say energy modeling is like getting a sneak peek into the future because the impacts of changes are seen in real-time, so decisions are made much faster.”
“Energy modeling is like getting a sneak peek into the future.”
“We go into our initial meeting with that high-level model and work on it with customers and their design team to add details and analyze options based on the modeled data and their feedback,” said Kohls. Energy modeling helps customers discover savings opportunities through various equipment combinations they may not have considered before. “They can see how different options will impact rebate potential and initial payback as well as the long-term energy savings. From there, we fine-tune the model, and within a week or two the plans are finalized.”
To maximize efficiency options, start early before your HVAC decisions are locked down.
Kohls emphasizes, “Some may think they need to have all the project details figured out before they enroll in our program, but this actually limits the number and potency of efficiency options available. Engaging in our program early on—especially before making those big HVAC choices — is key to maximizing cost-effective efficiency options.”
Why have building construction projects been successful with EDA?
Today, answering to specific tenant needs is the new status quo. They expect better comfort, more modern lighting that meets more demanding requirements and other high-performance amenities that enhance worker productivity and satisfaction. Plus more and more people are seeking responsible environmental practices at their place of work.
EDA provides a foundation to help project teams evaluate alternatives, maximize their investment and create a genuinely high-performance building. “Getting started is easy.” Kohls adds, “We just need a high-level description of the project on the application, and then we work with our customers and their teams to fill in the details.”
If you’re an Xcel Energy customer and planning a major renovation or new building construction project, contact an energy efficiency specialist at 855-839-8862 to learn how to take advantage of the EDA program.
Want to see how companies had success with EDA? Check out our case studies.
Also, learn other ways you can build in energy savings from the ground up at xcelenergy.com/BusinessNewConstruction.