Pre-Installation Evaluation of Industrial Projects

Building Efficiency

Pre-Retrofit Evaluation of Industrial Projects

Jon Maxwell & Betsy Ricker for Zondits, August 15, 2013

ABSTRACT

NYSERDA’s Industrial and Process Efficiency (IPE) Program provides technical assistance and installation incentives to manufacturing, agricultural, mining, wastewater, and data center customers. Larger IPE projects tend to feature measures that change the manufacturing process. In such cases, incentives are based on a reduction in energy usage per unit of production or workload.

Through the pre-retrofit review process, NYSERDA’s impact evaluation contractor works with program implementation staff prior to measure installation to review a sample of the largest projects, particularly those that involve process-specific baseline definition. The evaluators’ pre-installation activities include site visits, review of savings calculations, writing early evaluation assessment reports, and periodic meetings with program implementation staff and NYSERDA’s technical review contractors.

The benefits of pre-installation evaluation include:

For evaluators: Increased engineering rigor and quality

  • Evaluation engineer inspection of equipment in its pre-retrofit state
  • Input regarding program-required pre- and post-retrofit metering plans
  • Better understanding of baseline alternatives at the time of decision-making

For program administrators: Increased likelihood that reported and evaluated savings will be similar

  • Increased depth of engagement with project facilitators
  • Early discussion and usually convergence between program and evaluation baseline characterization
  • Adjustment to program savings calculations prior to incentive commitment

The cost of these benefits is additional time requirements by all parties. This paper shares lessons learned and analytical techniques used to ensure that evaluators and program administrators considering this new process elsewhere gain the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of real-time program feedback. It also identifies some of the more interesting policy issues concerning a pre-installation review as the evaluation ‘bleeds’ into the implementation – a goal actively promoted by some industry advocates.