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A Brand New Ride

If you are in the Kansas City area, you may see one of two new buses on the streets.  But it’s not just the buses that are new; it’s the buses’ fuel source as well.    The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority recently introduced two natural gas-powered buses into its fleet, and has plans to eventually replace its entire fleet of 300 diesel-powered buses with the more environmentally friendly natural gas.  To learn more, visit:  http://www.kansascity.com/2013/07/10/4339213/natural-gas-transit-buses-make.html.

Building Operator Certification Training Pays Off

Rusty McDermott, facilities director for the East Newton R-VI School District, earned his Building Operator Certification (BOC) in 2009.  The Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy (MDNR-DE) implemented the certification  in partnership with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, which covers a variety of building-management technologies, but the emphasis is to recognize practical, no-cost/low-cost solutions, working with existing building systems, to improve energy performance.

“The certification classes made me aware of things to look for to try and help us become more energy efficient,” McDermott said.

Since earning his certification, McDermott has overseen lighting upgrades and the replacement of six HVAC units, which will result in an annual savings of $19,917.  The energy-efficiency projects were made possible by a zero-interest loan of $128,585 from MDNR-DE.

To learn more about McDermott and the East Newton R-VI School District, read the full article that appeared in the Spring 2013 edition of Missouri School Plant Manager.

Renewables, Energy Efficiency Incentives and Policies

Looking for the latest information on incentives and policies for renewables and energy efficiency?  Visit http://www.dsireusa.org/ for an interactive map of the United States.  Just click on your state of interest and see a list incentives and policies.  It’s that easy!

Manage Your Energy, Water Consumption with Portfolio Manager

Are you tired of high utility bills at your commercial building space?  Use Portfolio Manager to help you manage your energy use and water consumption, and save!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Energy Star Portfolio Manager®, an online tool you can use to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.  It’s the perfect tool for K-12 schools, office buildings, stadiums, and more.  All you need to get started are your energy bills and some basic information about your building.

When you add your building, you will be joining a distinguished group.  Forty percent of U.S. commercial building space is already benchmarked in Portfolio Manager.  You’ll also be joining 35 percent of the Fortune 500®, half of the largest U.S. healthcare organizations, major league sports teams, colleges and universities, and entire cities.

To learn more, visit https://www.energystar.gov/istar/pmpam/

Check Gas Prices Before Hitting the Road

Hitting the road this summer?  Before you do, check out http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx?z=0&;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lat=37.000000&;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;long=-96.000000&;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;ft=A&;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;tl=48.  Whether you are traveling close to home or across the country, you will be able to check gas prices across the continental United States.

Pecan Shells and Solar Panels: A Tale of Energy Efficiency

Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, a business located in Nevada, Missouri, is realizing big energy savings due to the use of solar panels and a furnace that burns pecan shells.

“We were spending about $1,000 a month on propane and natural gas and that’s down to maybe $100 a month,” says Drew Kimmel with Missouri Northern Pecan Growers.

The furnace, paid in part by a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy, burns the pecan shells to heat the facility and dry the pecans.

To read the full story, visit http://www.fox14tv.com/story/22796832/solar-energy-and-pecan-shells-help-a-nevada-business-save-money.

Energy Loan Reaches a Milestone

The Energy Loan Program, administered by the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy, is turning 25.  Since the program was established in 1989, 550 loans have been awarded to schools, local governments, colleges, universities and healthcare institutions for energy-saving investments, such as lighting upgrades, window replacements, and much more.  These projects have resulted in more than $160 million in estimated cumulative energy savings.

The Energy Loan Program is currently in the midst of a new cycle, and loan applications are being accepted through August 31, 2013.  For more information, please visit http://dnr.mo.gov/energy/financial/loan.htm.

BeGreen 2013

Kermit the Frog has been known to lament, “It’s not easy being green.”  But we beg to differ with that sentiment.  It is easy being green!  Visit http://www.begreen2013.com/ and learn how.

BeGreen 2013 is an environmental movement that conveys the power of an individual’s choice and shows how an individual’s actions, no matter how small, can help make a difference to sustain our environment.

Free Buildings Performance Database Available

The U.S. Department of Energy launched a new Buildings Performance Database, the largest free, publicly available database of residential and commercial building energy performance information.  Currently, commercial and residential buildings account for approximately 70 percent of the electricity consumption in the nation.  The database strengthens the department’s commitment to provide U.S. industry, state and local governments, and researchers with innovative energy data tools that can help cut energy waste and save money.  For more information, visit http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=895.

Building Operator Certification Scheduled for St. Louis

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy, in conjunction with Laclede Gas Company, is hosting a Level 1 Building Operator Certification training program starting Thursday, July 18, 2013, at the Laclede Gas service center, 4118 Shrewsbury Ave in St. Louis, Missouri.

Building Operator Certification® (BOC) is a nationally recognized training and certification program focusing on energy efficient building operations and preventative maintenance procedures. Facilities with BOC graduates are proven to save energy, have lower energy bills, and offer an improved comfort for occupants.

BOC training includes nearly 74 hours of classroom and project work (7.4 CEUs) in building systems operation and maintenance. Each course in the series is completed in a one-day training session, except BOC 1001 Energy Efficient Operation of Building HVAC Systems, which is a two-day course. To become certified, participants must pass an exam at the end of each day of training and complete assigned projects. Unless otherwise noted, training begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends by 4:00 p.m. Early registration is encouraged.

Join the more than 11,000 graduates nationwide who have earned the BOC credential.  Tuition for the series is $1,150, with Laclede Gas Company offering a rebate of $575 to their eligible customers, upon successful completion of the training.  To register for the series, please visit: http://boccentral.org/training-missouri.  Online registration and tuition payment must be made in full before the series begins.  For more information, contact Timothy May at the Department of Natural Resources at tim.may@dnr.mo.gov.

U.S. Net Gasoline Exporter

The United States has reached a milestone!  For the first time in 50 years, the U.S. is exporting more gasoline than it is importing.

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/17/4298735/us-for-first-time-in-50-years.html

Idle Reduction in St. Louis

Fuel-operated, programmable heaters installed in 21 buses at the Special School District (SSD) of St. Louis County in 2009 have led to the reduction of emissions and have saved three gallons of diesel fuel per bus per day.  The heaters keep the temperature inside the buses comfortable when the temperature outside falls below 60, but the temperature control is achieved without starting and idling the school buses.  The idea has been so successful that more heaters have been added, and as of the end of 2011, 116 buses – almost the entire SSD fleet – have been equipped.  The story is featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Clean Cities Now, http://www.afdc.energy.gov/uploads/publication/ccn_17_1.pdf.

State Agencies Reduce Energy Usage

Missouri state agencies have reduced energy use by more than 21 percent since Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order in 2009 directing agencies to reduce their energy use by two percent each year.  In calendar year 2012, state agencies had reduced their total energy use by 21.67 percent compared to 2008, and by 12.35 percent compared to 2011.  For more information, visit http://governor.mo.gov/newsroom/2013/State_agencies_have_reduced_energy_use_by_more_than_21_percent_since_2008.

Stay Cool and Save Energy, Money

As temperatures begin to rise, so too does the utility bill.  One of the biggest contributors to a higher utility bill during the summer months is the air conditioner.  To help you stay cool and save money, we offer the following tips:

  • Set your thermostat temperature as high as comfortably possible in the summer, and ensure humidity control, if needed.  The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner.  It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Turn up the air conditioner at night or when you’re away from home.
  • Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.

For more information on energy-saving tips during the summer heat, including tips on landscaping, window covers and more, visit www.energysavers.gov.

Save Energy, Save Money While on Vacation

As the temperatures warm, our thoughts often turn to weekend getaways and summer vacations.  If you plan to take a trip this summer – whether it be for a few days or a few weeks – first take a trip to http://blog.saveonenergy.com/2011/06/energy-saving-tips-while-on-vacation/.  There you will find a few basic adjustments you can make around your home to not only save energy but save money while you are away.  And who couldn’t use some extra money for a vacation?