Enterprise Holdings now has some specific energy-efficiency options that could improve its bottom line, thanks to a comprehensive energy audit of its facilities performed by MREP.
Enterprise owns seven rental facilities throughout Montana, each comprised of office space and a washing garage, as well as one main office in Helena. MREP experts visited all eight facilities to assist in identifying cost-effective efficiency measures for each building. The recommended measures include installing programmable thermostats for office spaces, insulating gaps in exterior doors, especially under garage doors, and upgrading lighting to LED.
Programmable thermostats are simple to install and inexpensive, yet they can result in significant energy cost savings by reducing the set temperature during times when offices are closed, such as evenings and weekends. Five of Enterprise’s eight offices are recommend to install these thermostats.
- Annual energy savings: 1,180 therms
- Annual cost savings: $720
- Projected cost: $160
- Simple payback with energy savings: 0.22 years
A number of exterior doors have gaps present, allowing air to flow into the space and negate the heating or cooling from the HVAC systems. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: applying stick-on foam to doors to fill the gaps and help maintain comfort levels in interior spaces. Reducing drafts can also decrease the use of space heaters among office employees, further increasing energy savings.
Garage doors in car-washing areas had large gaps between the doors and concrete floors. The thermal image on the right shows the gap at the bottom of the garage door as it lets cold air in. Adding insulation here will help reduce the need for space heaters and save on natural gas costs.
Weatherstripping is a very inexpensive and cost-effective way to prevent the escape of heating or cooled air. This measure can also be applied to windows and window sills.
Many of Enterprise’s offices and garages had fluorescent T8 tube lighting, and upgrading these to LED will save a significant amount of energy. MREP’s lighting analysis resulted in the following costs and savings:
- LED replacement cost: $8,332
- Utility incentives: $3,416
- Net cost: $4,917
- Annual energy savings: 43,344 KWH
- Annual cost savings: $5,285
- Simple payback with energy savings: 0.93 years
SOLAR PV SYSTEM
Enterprise Holdings also expressed interest in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for its Helena and Great Falls facilities. MREP analyzed roof- and ground-mounted systems for the Helena facility and found that a roof-mounted system would be limited to 10.4 kW, which would produce 18% of the building’s electricity usage. A ground-mounted system would allow the maximum size of 50 kW and produce 76% of the building’s electricity usage. The Great Falls facility could accommodate a 10-kW roof-mounted system that would produce about 60% of the facility’s usage.
Currently, there is a 30% tax credit of the cost of the system to any tax paying business. MREP recommended that Enterprise take advantage of this credit while it is still in place as it is set to phase out starting in 2020.