International Energy Efficiency Finance Protocol

Hope on the horizon for ESCO’s and Energy efficiency projects? EVO has released (April 2009) a new publication (cover see right) titled International Energy Efficiency Financing Protocol or IEEFP to tackle the issue of bank training.

This guide is based on work conducted by EVO in Mexico, and Thailand is targeted at your local financing institution, primarily banks, essentially helping them to understand and evaluate energy efficiency project finance risk.

As mentioned here ESCO’s historically suffer from a  weak balance sheet, and often find difficultly finance for viable energy projects, one of the reasons most often cited being Financial Institutions lend only based on collateral.

Considering the financial chaos gripping the US, perhaps that prudence should have been extended across all sectors of banks activities?  Anyway, the present approach, demanding asset based collateral, overlooks the benefits of energy efficiency improvement projects, including the income stream from lower energy costs and to some extent lack of understand the mechanics of energy efficiency programmes.

This guide aims to show financial institutions how energy projects that generate energy savings, result in cash flow revenue, and can increase credit capacity for repayment of loans. It is comprehensive overview including a plan for a two day training programme, what expected risks strategies from new and emerging technologies one might encounter.

Unlike the Hong Kong’s recently launched Buildings energy funds it clearly states the obvious, the need for Investment grade energy audits and M&V (Measurement and Verification) to ensure that projects are sound and that projected energy savings are sustainable.

Risk is always an issue, especially for banks entering new territory, recognizing the outstanding opportunities and potential benefits multinational financial institutions (MNF) such as IFC created a programme for help manage the credit risk, for example this publication cites the experience from using IFC/GEF Commercializing Energy Efficiency Finance (“CEEF”) programme.  Locally, we already have IFC’s CHUEE programme which is entirely focused on China energy efficiency projects.

I agree that education, and edcuating the banking sector as a whole, not one person at a time, is a critical issue for wider adoption of energy efficiency improvement projects.  So will this guide answer all of your questions? Unfortunately no, as stated in the preface, it only provides a framework, it is intended as a starting point for a series of further IEEFP programmes and a perhaps a teaser for their two day training course.

Overall yes it is a useful energy efficiency primer, IEEFP 101. It does provide the bare bones of a programme, however key points are only covered with a list of bullet points and likely to leave the reader equally unsatisfied.

John Herbert
Consultant
Kelcroft E&M Limited
helping lower the cost and impact of doing business in Asia

[event] Greenbuild Asia 7-9 July 2009

Save the date! Greenbuild Asia 2009 is coming back to Hong Kong in 2009.

Indeed I am fortunate to be chosen to speak on the green building expert panel (PM 9th July 2009).  It should be interesting event, awareness of green building has never been higher. I will continue to advocate for the wider understanding and adoption of WSD (Whole System Design) principals, also called Integrated Design.

And I am also certain that the issues surrounding certified green buildings that are not energy efficient and carbon will be a hot topics this year.

John Herbert
Consultant
Kelcroft E&M Limited
helping lower the cost and impact of doing business in Asia

Suffering Contention?

If the number of conference and seminar invitations is any gauge of activity, there is an obvious, and intentional increasing interest in green building and energy efficiency sectors so what is the connection with contention?

Let’s be honest for a moment, if there is one area where the E&M or MEP engineers lack creativity it is engineering definitions. To the outside world engineers are often accused of speaking Klingon dialects, but between ourselves in many cases we still don’t have a simple word or phrase to convey complex engineering phenomena. Unlike the medical profession where they created an entire dictionary of new terms, engineers didn’t try very hard.

I coined the use of the word contention and pressed it into action for E&M engineering services to describe a very common engineering phenomena that is found in many facilities. And it is a lot easier to use than provide the entire word heavy description every time we need to explain it.

Here is a typical situation, imagine a large room with two (or more) air conditioning/heating/humidification devices installed, each fitted with its own automatic control system.  Now, imagine we operate the equipment, it is operated simultaneously and because each has an independently controlled, over time each starts to operate in a different control mode.

For example if one system senses rising room temperature it delivers more cooling, whilst another system senses dropping temperature and delivers more heating.  This double act wastes an enormous amount of energy as the systems figuratively “fight each other” simultaneously delivering either more heating or more cooling to the same space.  This also occurs when individually controlled humidifiers operating in the same space. one system senses dropping relative humidity and starts its humidification operation, whilst another unit sensing increasing humidity and its starts de-humidification cycle, both operating to cancel each other.

For the lack of a better phrase, engineers will often use a phrase like “the controls are fighting each other” hardly an elegant description I think you will agree.

This energy efficiency nightmare often occurs in datacenters, and other large areas such as hospitals and production areas with multiple systems in the same space.  It is common in datacenters and mission critical facilities that use packaged CRAC (Computer Room Air-Conditioning ) units since each has a complete inbuilt automatic control system, and during normal operations each attempts to “control” the space condition – that is contention, use it you might like it.

There are plenty of complex engineering situations that occur in the built environment arena that would benefit from improved terminology that would aid communications and replace a those drearly, wordy descriptions, perhaps we’ll leave those for another day.

John Herbert
Consultant
Kelcroft E&M Limited

WordPress & Matt Mullenweg

Since I am actually using WordPress for this blog today I attended WordPress founder Matt Mullenwegs talk, and here are some pictures taken on 7 April 2009 in Hong Kong with my camera phone (apologies in advance for the quality).