Written By: Jennifer Samuels, Communications Manager at APPI Energy
Energy is a leading operational cost for senior living communities. From electricity bills to energy efficient equipment, senior living providers are responsible for managing energy components on a daily basis. When was the last time your community upgraded its lighting or HVAC systems? Does your community have energy efficient windows? Do you pay your local electric utility for electricity supply, or have you entered into a fixed-price contract with a competitive supplier? As 2013 begins, you should consider all of these measures to help your senior living community reduce energy costs and consumption.
When family members search for the best senior living community for their loved one, an attractive feature is environmental responsibility.
- Lighting retrofit. One of the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency is to perform a lighting retrofit. Did you know that outdated incandescent bulbs convert only 10% of electricity to light, and burn 90% of electricity as excess heat? In most cases, fluorescent bulbs consume one-fifth of the electricity that conventional light bulbs consume. Modern lighting enhances comfort. The quality of light created is important for boosting the morale of staff, visitors, and residents. Community managers that approve a lighting retrofit can expect a payback period of 12 to 36 months, with ongoing electricity cost savings for many years.
- Energy efficient upgrades. Consider undergoing a community audit to examine your community’s systems and equipment, and to determine ways to reduce consumption. Simply upgrading your HVAC system, hot water heater, or laundry machines can affect the bottom line on your community’s electricity bill. Most local and state governments offer tax rebates for completing energy efficiency measures, and many local electric utilities offer cash incentives for projects too. An efficiency expert can visit your community and provide an energy audit to help you get started.
- Demand Response programs. During times of peak demand on the grid, usually in summertime afternoons, local electric utilities ask businesses and residents to reduce energy consumption. Many utilities offer Demand Response (DR) programs that provide cash incentives to businesses that agree to shed a specific amount of electricity usage during peak demand events. Dimming the lights, adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees, or using an onsite generator are simple methods for reducing electricity consumption. Under most DR programs, utilities pay customers regardless of whether or not a peak demand event is called.
- Carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). For most senior living communities, generating green electricity onsite is not an option. You can “go green” by purchasing RECs or carbon offsets. Each carbon offset represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide prevented from entering the air. Each REC represents one megawatt-hour of green energy created from a renewable generation source somewhere in the United States. If your community purchases enough RECs to equal the amount of electrons it takes from the grid, it achieves 100% green energy. Purchasing RECs and carbon offsets are widely accepted ways to reduce the environmental footprint of your community’s electricity consumption.
Electricity and Natural Gas Supply
Electricity prices are volatile, changing every minute, every hour, every day. Natural gas prices also change frequently and closely follow electricity price trends. Weather, infrastructure, natural disasters, and consumer demand are some factors that affect energy prices.
In certain states, the energy market is deregulated, which means businesses can purchase electricity or natural gas supply from a competitive supplier instead of from the local electric or gas utility. Deregulation offers consumers opportunities to save thousands of dollars per year on energy costs.
States with deregulated electricity markets include CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and TX. States with deregulated natural gas markets are AR, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, WI and WV. If your senior living community is located in one of these states, you can consider a fixed-price supplier contract that locks in today’s low energy price for one to five years.
ALFA Member Benefit
ALFA selected APPI Energy as the preferred energy services provider for our members. As a benefit to ALFA members, the unbiased team of energy advisors can help you choose from many competitive energy suppliers in deregulated energy markets, and recommend cost-saving solutions specific to your community.
- One ALFA member reduced energy supply costs by $107,800 in 24 months.
- Another ALFA member reduced energy supply costs by 19% in 30 months.
An increasing number of ALFA members are taking advantage of their benefit to reduce electricity and natural gas costs.
- Dan Castleberry with Meridian Senior Living, says, “My consultant at APPI Energy monitors the energy markets and makes recommendations specific to each one of my locations in multiple states. APPI Energy’s customer service team helps me add meters and manage multiple bills.”
- Skip Comsia, an ALFA member with Stone Brook Assisted Living, LLC, says, “My relationship with APPI Energy requires minimal time commitment on my part. My consultant identifies the best time for me to lock in my next supplier contract, and the customer service team checks in with me on a regular basis to ensure my satisfaction. I’ve benefited from APPI Energy’s electricity procurement services, and now my consultant is helping me explore natural gas opportunities.”
Electricity and natural gas prices dropped to historical lows in 2012. Colder temperatures in January and February 2013 will increase demand for heating and cause energy prices to rise. Now is an exceptional time for ALFA members to take advantage of their benefit to reduce energy costs and consumption.
About APPI Energy: ALFA and 140 trade associations and Chambers of Commerce selected APPI Energy as the preferred energy services provider for their members. The unbiased team of energy advisors has a 16-year track record of reducing electricity and natural gas costs for 3,300 businesses in every state with a deregulated energy market. Contact ALFA’s trusted team of energy experts today at 800-520-6685 or email@example.com.
UPCOMING ALFA WEBINAR SERIES
The Green Wave: Catch It Now To Save Money And Enhance Reputation, A Greener Future For The Senior Living Industry
The green wave of making buildings more energy efficient and environmentally friendly is now breaking upon the shores of the senior living industry. Early adopters are demonstrating that cost-effective energy savings of 30 percent are possible with no loss of comfort. How can you institutionalize energy management in your community? Learn more and register…