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Leading the way in energy efficiency: Q&A with Mike Kingsley

Mike Kingsley PhD, PE, CPMP, LEED AP joined OBG two years ago, bringing extensive experience in commercial and industrial building energy systems. His expertise covers design assistance through building energy simulation modeling, comprehensive energy audits, energy savings analysis and cost effectiveness calculation tools, demand-side management impact evaluations, M&V protocol development and implementation, renewable energy and combined heat and power systems assessment, commissioning of building energy systems, and LEED certification services.

We sat down with Mike to learn more about his experience in commercial and industrial building energy efficiency and how his thought leadership is expanding OBG’s energy business to more people.

Q: You’ve worked in the energy industry for more than 28 years. How is OBG using advanced technology to compete in the industry?

A: Energy efficiency is a ubiquitous concept in the building industry; used to describe products, designs, and services. In this crowded market with ever-stricter energy codes and energy savings targets, it is important to look beyond just retrofitting light fixtures or opting for a higher efficiency piece of equipment.

The deepest energy savings, and the most cost-effective solutions, are accomplished through integrated design that considers whole systems and interaction. OBG has the subject matter expertise and the technology to deliver energy efficiency solutions to our clients at any stage—from energy master planning through detailed energy audits, energy project design and construction, commissioning, and measurement and verification. Our clients appreciate the high quality of our work, and also our capabilities of bringing energy solutions seamlessly from study through design and construction.

We’re also leading the way in new energy efficiency service offerings, including microgrid design support, real-time energy management, and streamlined energy audit tools. OBG’s innovation culture and commitment to quality support our people in developing the technologies we use every day to deliver the excellent service our clients expect from us.

Q: How is the energy brand at OBG making a difference?

A: Energy use correlates with human prosperity, and also with environmental impacts. We seek ways to maintain human prosperity, while also minimizing environmental impacts—finding ways to do more with less. While renewable energy is part of the solution, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective and least environmentally impactful first step to achieving this goal.

At OBG, we have a strong history of supporting clients, including colleges and universities, municipalities, hospitals, and industries, in meeting their energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals through services like energy master planning, climate action plans, audits, and renovation projects. We also offer support for design and operation of electric microgrids, including potential energy and demand savings for energy conservation measures and demand response strategies.

Within OBG’s energy business, our energy efficiency team provides reliable and comprehensive analysis all the way through to project delivery. We are a partner to our clients—helping them to understand their energy profile, and then working with them to meet their energy efficiency, sustainability, resiliency, and cost reduction goals. We do this in a way that maximizes client value by finding the most cost-effective combination of solutions to meet their needs. At the same time, the energy savings OBG helps our clients achieve also benefits our environment and improves our nation’s economic competitiveness.

Q: Can you talk about some of the interesting projects you’re working on?

A: OBG offers a full array of energy efficiency services, so there are always interesting projects to work on.

We recently completed construction of an energy retrofit project for CUNY’s Hunter College that involved three large air handling units and their zone air terminal boxes. The project originated as a retro-commissioning study and evolved into a design-build solution. I analyzed the post-retrofit building management system data as part of a measurement and verification (M&V) of the project energy savings. The project achieved more than 66% fan energy savings, winning an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Silver Award for Energy.

CUNY was interested in conducting longer term ongoing commissioning of the systems, including monitoring of space temperatures to demonstrate occupant comfort conditions. Ongoing commissioning is a relatively new concept. After a building is commissioned, ongoing commissioning serves to maintain a high level of performance, preventing the performance degradation that tends to result from manual overrides, equipment faults, and deferred maintenance. Through this project, OBG identified and corrected some manual overrides and found opportunities to further improve performance and occupant comfort. For example, some PID (proportional–integral–derivative) control loops were re-tuned, and control refinements recommended.

OBG will expand our ongoing commissioning services, especially through a NYSERDA incentive program, Real-Time Energy Management (RTEM). OBG was recently qualified as a NYSERDA-Qualified RTEM Services Vendor, which allows us to help clients save energy while also taking advantage of NYSERDA incentives for systems and analytics services related to ongoing commissioning.

Q: How are you contributing to OBG as a thought leader in energy efficiency?

I’m supporting OBG’s growth and mission by staying current with industry trends and energy efficiency product and service offerings, and by driving innovation across all our service offerings to improve accuracy, quality, and efficiency. I also work to maximize value to our clients by leveraging available technologies, as well as data and tools made available through the U.S. Department of Energy and other third parties.

I previously developed energy end-use models for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, for the 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), and the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). Building upon this experience, I am applying similar techniques to our energy benchmarking and microgrid support services.

Q: How are OBG’s integrated solutions making a difference?

A: Energy impacts all of our clients—just as it does each of us as individuals. Concerns include energy costs, energy price volatility, energy supply reliability, and environmental impacts of energy use. OBG’s energy efficiency services provide solutions to these issues across all areas of our business.

We are working to increase internal awareness of our energy service offerings as a means of expanding our energy efficiency client portfolio, while providing more comprehensive services for our existing clients who already value OBG. Conversely, energy efficiency services help to position OBG as the right company for the job when it comes to follow-on design and construction for our clients to implement recommended energy improvements.

Mike can be contacted at Michael.Kingsley@obg.com.

Learn more about how OBG brings the latest thinking to some of today’s most challenging areas—from advanced water treatment to sediment management and emerging contaminants; resilient energy, water, and coastal infrastructure; and smart manufacturing—in our Insights from OBG Thought Leaders video.