Thursday, August 12, 2010

High Performance Lighting and Controls Saves Energy

If you see me walking around with a device that looks like it came from a sci-fi film, have no fear, it is merely a foot-candle meter. As part of our green building renovations all of our light fixtures are being replaced. We have purchased very high performing lights that will cut our energy use in some spaces over 75%.

The average office building uses approximately 1.0 - 1.2 watts per square foot to illuminate the interior spaces. For every three watts used to light our buildings we need an additional watt to remove the excess heat generated by all those artificial lights. In many buildings lighting accounts for around 30% of its total energy use. Our lighting upgrades have reduced our connected light loads from 1.2 watts per square foot to under 0.6 watts per square foot. Additional savings will be achieved through the use of occupancy sensors that shut off the lights when the space is vacant. We are also experimenting with daylight harvesting. Sensors will measure the amount of daylight in a space and automatically dim the artificial lights while maintaining predefined light levels. We are still calibrating the sensors; however the initial results are exciting. One space that previously used eight 32 watt fluorescent lamps now needs only TWO 28 watt T-5 lamps strategically place to give more light on the desks (over 50 foot-candles) reducing the energy use to light that space almost 80%.

Stay tuned for our next sustainable strategy - rainwater harvesting. Over 60% of the potable water we use in our office building is literally flushed down the toilet. That’s about to change.

By Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Website is Hosted by 100% Wind Energy!

We are proud to announce that our website - and blog - are powered by 100% renewable energy! And we are making that announcement with a badge from Easy CGI, which will promote the idea of green business both online and off.

Our badge not only signifies our commitment to environmental and energy efficiency, but it helps you follow suit: when you click on our badge, you'll be able to read information about how we've come to run our website on 100% wind energy. Our status is not only through our own efforts, but with the help of our hosting company, Easy CGI. By purchasing REC's, or Renewable Energy Certificates, from Easy CGI, we are offsetting our energy use and reducing our environmental impact. If you have a website, check out Easy CGI to be powered by 100% wind energy, too!

by Courtney Iseman

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our New Bottle-Less Water Cooler System

Here at MSA, we are excited to announce we have left our bottled water cooler system where it belongs - in the past. In keeping with our green efforts, we have opted to enjoy our water without contributing to landfill waste or the emissions from the trucking it takes to deliver the bottles. Thanks to the multiple benefits of a bottle-less water cooler from Abbey Ice & Spring Water Co., we encourage you to do the same!

Did you know that about 1.5 million barrels of oil a year are used to make plastic bottles? Additional fuel is then of course required to transport these bottles. According to Daniel Teuton, President and CEO of ClearH2O Coolers, bottled water contributes to environmental degradation. Opting for a bottle-less system eliminates the need for bottle manufacturing, bottling, storage, delivery, removal, recycling, and dumping of used bottles. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 98% compared to a bottled system!

In addition to the environmentally and energy efficient benefits, a bottle-less system is also more convenient - you don't have to order, replace, and dispose of any bottles, there's practically no maintenance at all. Teuton states that businesses will experience savings from 30% to 60% when they go bottle-less, too! By switching over to filtered water that runs into the cooler, you will keep getting clean, pure, fresh water either cold or hot, but at a lower cost to both you and the environment.

By Courtney Iseman

Friday, February 5, 2010

Solar Panel Power Plant Goes Live

MSA is ‘walking the walk’ with their new solar panel project. Rated at a maximum of 4.05 kilowatts, the system was just turned on and delivered over 2.7 kilowatts. This is pretty good for this time of the year. The maximum power will be generated in summer when the sun's energy is more directly transferred to the solar panels.

Our system will pay for itself in under eight years. You can help us track the energy we create as well as the carbon dioxide we offset and the dollars we are saving on our website.

Project Cost
NYSERDA rebate
30% Federal Tax Credit
Net Cost

Adjusted Annual Electrical Savings

Years to Payback

By Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED

More Solar Power Plant images

Monday, January 25, 2010

46 New High Performing Windows Feel Warm and Bright

Another part of our energy saving performance project is the window replacement work. Windows are the parts of a building that allow the most heat to escape in the winter and add solar heat gain in the summer. Older windows can also have greater air infiltration (draftyness), further increasing utility bills and energy use.

Our new windows are 78% better insulators, allow in just as much light as our old windows and are 60% better at resisting solar heat gain.

The simple payback on our windows is longer than some other items. However there are other benefits that make this project economical. Harvesting daylight with our new lighting controls will reduce our electric use. There is also a reduction in heat gain from lights that will translate into lower air conditioning costs. It is said that for every 3 watts used lighting a building and additional watt is used to cooling the space from the heat given off by the artificial lights.

The increase in comfort and decrease in drafts are additional benefits our staff is enjoying.

By Michael Shilale, AIA, LEED