Natural gas prices in the United States are trading high in front-month and forward-month contracts, a trend we can expect to continue.

This comes as an unfortunate surprise to many energy consumers, who have seen low natural gas prices for several years running.

As we face a potentially colder winter, be prepared and looking ahead.

The Rise and Fall of Gas

Natural gas in the United States is primarily used industrially, to heat homes, or (about 35% of the time) to generate electricity.  Commercial use of natural gas is actually one of the lowest categories of use, less than 14%.

So, naturally, natural gas demand tends to follow temperatures, particularly in the northeastern part of the United States.

Natural gas pricing saw multi-year decreases but has recently turned a corner: trading over $4.00/mmBTU in forward months for several months ahead.

It’s a great time to have stock in natgas, not the best time to rely upon it for heating or other purposes.

Store and Use Natural Gas

For those commercial or industrial applications of natural gas, storage is crucial for pricing. With adequate volume and storage, a business or industry has the ability to buy at lowest points (such as warmer months) and use when costs are higher.

As a storage and backup power solution, natural gas allows for onsite energy generation, which means:

  • Independence from the energy grid for vital operations, even in the event of a blackout.
  • Backup power to supplement energy usage and reduce peak charges.
  • Emergency fuel supply when temperatures drop.
  • In some states, incentive from the local utility to generate electricity onsite.

If you currently utilize natural gas, are considering making it part of your overall energy plan, or wonder if natural gas is right for you, an Energy Professionals energy consultant can examine your industry and site-specific needs to determine the best course of action.

Switching the Gas Off

If you’ve grown weary of energy fluctuations in the natural gas market, it may be time to consider a switch to onsite solar panels.

While buying “energy credits” for off-site green energy generation is still usually more expensive than traditional energy purchasing, on-site solar panels come at much less cost.

Just as a convergence in market factors have created a surge in natural gas pricing, another market convergence has resulted in best-possible pricing in solar energy at this time:

  • Solar panels and solar installation costs are down
  • Incentives from local, state and federal programs have boosted the rebates available to solar projects
  • Third-party funding options have enabled low or no-cost solar installations across the country
  • Energy buy-back agreements, power purchase agreements, and other options continue to grow across the United States.

What’s more, even in northern states (outside of Alaska), you probably get enough sunlight to generate enough power–it only takes 4 hours of sunlight for today’s typical solar panels to fully charge.  With onsite battery storage, one can even store additional solar energy for overcast or stormy days absent of sunlight.

Energy Professionals Knows

With so many market variables and options available, energy prices can be convoluted and virtually impossible to compare.

Fortunately, we have assembled a team of experts.

We work independently from the utility and other energy providers so that we have only one purpose: to save you money on your energy bill.

We can help you “market proof” your energy expenses, save on your current utility, plan for an “off the grid” energy future, or whatever your utility goals may be for the future.

Contact us today for a free energy soft audit and to find out how to get started saving money every month!

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Going green is a hot growing trend with no signs of slowing.

From conscientious consumers who want to spend their dollars on environmentally-friendly design or products, to investors looking to capitalize on the trend, there’s never been a better time to jump on the green-hued bandwagon.

But getting green certification can come at additional cost. Is it worth it?

Launching Green

One of the most common certifications in the United States is LEED building certification.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an independent certification process by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Points are awarded, throughout the building process, for such varied initiatives as recirculating cooling systems or hiring a LEED-certified builder. There are 4 levels of certification, including:

  • LEED Certified buildings (40–49 points)
  • LEED Silver buildings (50–59 points)
  • LEED Gold buildings (60–79 points)
  • LEED Platinum buildings (80 or more points)

Pros: Certification, like LEED, offers a great boon to public relations. The USGBC also reports that LEED buildings lease-up faster, retain higher property values, and may garner tax rebates and zoning allowances not offered to other developments. Like certain other environmentally-friendly practices, green building may be “recession-proof”: even when new construction declined during the Great Recession real-estate bubble burst, “the total square footage of LEED-certified buildings grew by 14%.”

Cons: Such certifications may indicate environmentally-friendly design principals, but they relate only to new construction, and not to occupancy usage, so they may not save money in the long-run.

Turning Green

Other than a new development, many businesses seek out environmentally-friendly changes because of potential cost savings of green design.

Reusing runoff water saves landscaping expenses and allows for drought-season watering.

Installing solar panels reduces energy bill expenses, and prevents brownout and blackout conditions for a business (crucial in high-security or high-needs environments like schools and hospitals).

Utilizing Energy Star appliances, and other smarter-energy appliances can save thousands of dollars in energy over the life of an appliance.

The possibilities are virtually limitless.

So, for many more businesses “going green” is not just about new construction, it is about tangible, cost-saving measures that can be implemented in existing facilities, and then promoted to your investors, partner businesses and consumers for additional public relations benefits.

Growing Green

For those businesses wishing to save money on utility expenses, capitalize on tax incentives, or gain market edge in their industries with environmentally-friendly design, the main problem is deciding where to start.

Do you put recycling bins in the office break room?

Such small changes go unnoticed by the public.

Do you insist that everyone scale back on their individual electricity use, such as only one computer monitor, fewer appliances, and lower lighting?

Such changes might not make much impact on the bottom line and may cause more inconvenience than savings.

A great first step is to get an energy audit.

An energy soft audit, with an experienced energy auditor, can determine where your greatest opportunities for change exist in your business.

The answers can be surprising, from buildings that are not that old, and yet retain temperature very poorly, to lighting upgrades that can make a big difference, an energy audit looks at the outcome-based changes that will most impact energy expenditures.

Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we have been saving businesses money on their energy expenses for over twenty years.

We are industry experts, who can zero in on the exact changes or upgrades that will make the most rapid, most efficient improvements in your electrical or natural gas energy expenses.

Going green can save you thousands of dollars if done correctly. Contact us for a free energy soft audit to find out how.

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The United States in one of the world’s largest countries, so of course that comes with a wide variety of climates.

In the south, one couldn’t imagine living without air conditioning, but in the midwest home buyers view it as less important than a garage (where you keep your car from freezing).

In some parts of the country, one might rarely use central heat, but for businesses in New England or the midwest, heating might be the most expensive utility, by far.

Since freezing isn’t really an option, here are some ideas for saving money on utilities, while staying warm, all winter.

Get to Know Your Options

The first utility bill after a cold spell often serves as a wakeup call to businesses, and only then do they start taking measures to conserve resources.

You don’t have to wait for sticker shock to get started…you can understand what will occur and prepare, making for a much more pleasant first chilly-weather utility bill experience.

Consider appointing an energy lead or team to get to know your heating needs, and take active measures for improvement. Your energy leader could:

  • Take a look at past usage
  • Examine areas of biggest use
  • Determine possibilities for conserving energy
  • Promote smart energy usage within the workplace

Throughout the year, the conservation team might encourage such activities as turning off computer monitors at the end of the day. In the fall and early winter, though, such a team might focus recommendations on setting thermostats lower at night, limiting the use of space heaters, or other conservation efforts.

Enlist Support

The more your team is engaged in the process of conserving energy, the more buy in you might get.

Examples are limitless, but here are a couple:

  • A church, looking to save on heating expenses, coordinates the use of various spaces and only heats during prearranged occupancy. Lockboxes might even be installed over thermostats, to prevent the extreme, knee-jerk temperature changes that come from last minute occupancy.
  • An office agrees to a game of saving energy. Everyone where sweaters and other warmer clothing, rather than raising the temperature a couple of degrees and running space heaters. To get everyone on board with the game, they came up with a prize: reduce the utility expenses a certain percent and they get a catered lunch that Friday.

How straightforward or creative your conservation efforts go is entirely up to your workplace team and culture, but whatever measures you take you will reduce your energy bill.

Explore Your Options

For a more dramatic cut in heating costs, beyond what wearing sweaters can achieve, consider an energy soft audit.

An energy audit can determine both where your facilities waste the most energy and where you can focus efforts to make the biggest impact.

Thanks to incentives and purchasing options available, it may be possible to make energy upgrades and dramatically slash energy expenses now and for the future. Examples include:

  • Structural upgrades, such as windows or spray foam insulation
  • Utility upgrades, such as heaters, water heaters or appliances
  • Energy generation upgrades, such as the installation of onsite solar panels

While some parts of the country experience shorter, cloudy days throughout the winter, some of the coldest climates have their sunniest days in the winter–such geographic locations are perfect for solar energy solutions.

Energy Professionals

Since the possibilities for saving money while staying warm this summer are limitless, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

That’s where Energy Professionals comes in. As independent energy brokers, we can help you secure the best resources at the best rates for all of your energy needs–from reducing energy needs, to negotiating contract terms, to energy upgrades.

Contact us to find out how you can save money on heating expenses this winter.

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The retail industry is vital to the whole of the United States economy.  An estimated two-thirds of the US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail sales.

“Retail, directly and indirectly, supports 42 million jobs, provides $1.6 trillion in labor income and contributes $2.6 trillion annually to U.S. GDP.” (Select USA).

But operating a retail business can also have high overhead.

When it comes to energy expenses, there’s a pretty good chance that a retail business is paying too much.  In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified energy savings potential of up to 41% for retail stores (up to 21% for supermarkets) with effective energy management.

Retailers spend an estimated $20 billion on energy expenses each year!

One of the key ways a retailer may save is through energy upgrades.

Here are some of the key points to know to pay the lowest possible amount for energy in the retail sector.

Save Tens of Thousands

Energy upgrades may save a business thousands, even tens of thousands per year.

Considering that about 95% of the retail industry is privately or independently owned, you may not know what choice you have in dealing with a public utility.  It is not uncommon for a business to assume that a utility bill is just fixed, by various unknown factors, and a business may not have much say in rates, much less in such “add-ons” as energy upgrades.

Yet your retail business does have a choice!

One of the biggest ways to save is through energy upgrades–and there are many ways those upgrades can cost you little-to-nothing.  Energy upgrades may pay for themselves through such possibilities as:

  • Tax incentives or credits,
  • Amortization,
  • Surplus energy credits,
  • Buy-back agreements to the local utility,
  • Financing options which extend payments to closely match ROI rates,
  • And more!

Given the many options available, it is possible to know the exact timeline for ROI (return on investment) for any upgrade that may include an out-of-pocket expense.

In some cases, upgrades end up costing nothing directly to the retailer!

Upgrades Available to Retailers

Energy upgrades available to retailers vary widely depending on your location, facility specifics, and type, as well as many other factors.

Some of the biggest ways in which retailers can upgrade to save on utility bills include:

  • Structural changes such as roofing, insulation, or solar directing (using solar direction to heat in colder climates, or redirecting sunlight for improved cooling in warmer climates);
  • Appliance upgrades for more efficient refrigeration or other appliance needs;
  • Lighting upgrades, such as LED lighting, motion-activated lighting or reduced off-hours lighting;
  • Smart thermostats, thermal energy storage (TES), and other heating or cooling upgrades;
  • Timing changes to adjust peak usage expenses;
  • Onsite energy storage (batteries) or energy generation (natural gas generators, solar panels, etc).

With so many options available, retailers have the power to reduce or even eliminate their utility bill, by getting partially or fully off the utility grid.

Where to Start

With so many options available to retailers, and so many differing outside factors (such as geographic location or building lease/ownership agreements), it can be difficult for a retail business to even know where to begin to find commercial energy savings.

Fortunately, at Energy Professionals our sole mission is to save our energy partners money while helping you achieve your sustainability goals.

We know how to dig into the nitty-gritty, such as billing accuracy, but also how to effectively engage in long-range planning, such as setting and achieving energy independence objectives.

Let us work with you, through a free energy audit, to independently evaluate the potential savings and upgrades for your retail energy bill.

Contact us today to get started!

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Living in a developed nation, we depend upon electricity for everything–from breakfast to bedtime and recharging our devices while we sleep.

Yet, power outages in the United States have been on the rise for more than a decade.  At this point, the United States “experiences more electric outages than any other developed nation,” according to a report from the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts.

Here’s a look at why, and what to do about it.

Brownouts and Blackouts

Outages cost an average of about $18 billion to $33 billion per year in the United States.

Power outage estimates also may not include brownout numbers.

  • Brownout – A reduction or restriction in available power to an area, also known as a voltage slump.
  • Blackout – A complete loss of power to an area, from minutes to hours or even days, depending on the cause and utility.

In some areas, intentional brownouts help utilities avoid rolling blackouts — mandated reductions in energy consumption to help meet the needs of the entire energy grid for that area.

Outages to a business do more than just halt production temporarily. Power outages can also result in lost:

  • Wages to employees
  • Spoiled inventory
  • Delayed, inconvenienced or missed business opportunity.

In an increasingly global market, reduced power impacts production across the globe, not just in a local utility area.

The Causes of Power Outages

A report by the US Department of Energy site weather-related power outages as the leading cause of power outages in the United States.

The report and the Pew research both also acknowledge an aging infrastructure as part of the problem.

Some of the US power grid dates back to the earliest onset of electricity.  Replacement could be better prepared to withstand severe weather, but also better protected against potential cyber attack.

Yet upgrading the US power grid is estimated to cost in the trillions of dollars.

For smart businesses, then, onsite solutions to power outages make more sense than waiting for the federal government to overhaul the infrastructure in the power grid.

Solutions to Power Outages

There’s never been a better time to invest in onsite power solutions–for the first time in US history, onsite power generation is cheaper than the utility.

Onsite battery storage can reduce the need for dependency on the grid, providing power in the event of a brownout or blackout, but also allowing a business to operate at capacity at any time–without increased utility demand charges and without the approval of the utility.

In many parts of the country, the utility must consider the needs of the entire local energy grid, which leads to regulation of industry consumption to businesses in their jurisdiction.

Now it is possible to operate independently of the utility, at less cost.

  • Solar energy – Green, renewable energy, onsite, at whatever scale a business requires, is now possible with reliable, quality solar panels.
  • Battery storage – Onsite battery storage can help regulate a business’ demand on the utility or store the energy generated through onsite solutions such as natural gas generators or solar panels.
  • Solar + Battery – With a combination of solar panels and onsite battery storage, a business can obtain energy independent of the grid, and then store it for use even during darkness or overcast conditions.

Thanks to such easy solutions, it is now possible for businesses of nearly every size to operate independently from the power grid.

Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we work with scores of battery solution providers and over 100 solar installers.  We help our clients secure the best prices for the best quality energy solutions.  We help you meet your energy and sustainability goals.

Contact us to find out how.

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Since the dawn of time, human beings have sought energy, to cook, heat, and improve quality of life (just the invention of air conditioning has saved an estimated 2 million lives!)

By harnessing the power of fire or water, combined with fuels derived from trees, coal, oils or gases, humans moved, built and traded across the globe.

Yet all of those energy sources pale in comparison to the very thing powering all life on earth: the sun. Enough solar energy hits the earth in about 40 minutes to power the entire world’s energy usage for a year!

So solar energy is prevalent, clean (no drilling and spilling!), and powerful.  It really presents only two challenges: how to harness it and how to store it.

Capturing the Sun’s Power

Improvements in solar technology have made gains in three crucial areas:

  • Passive energy – smarter building, which utilizes architectural features and building placement to make the most out of the energy from the sun.
  • Active energy – collecting the radiant light and heat from the sun in a semiconducting material (such as silicone).
  • Battery storage – containing solar energy collected for use in periods of darkness (night time, stormy weather, etc), and for additional power during periods of peak usage.

In both commercial and residential applications, these improvements make a difference in energy bills–reducing or even eliminating outside heating and electrical charges.

While passive energy generally needs to be considered at the time of construction (or upgrades) to make a difference, active energy, battery storage, and energy efficiency upgrades, all apply to residential and commercial uses.

Better Understanding, Better Solar

In addition to being more efficient, solar panels are more attractive than ever–smaller, more streamlined, with more flexibility about geographic and onsite location.

In typical use, solar panels may also not receive the recommended 4 hours of direct sunlight.  Fortunately, more modern solar panels do not require direct sunlight to collect radiant solar energy.

Understanding the needs of your environment helps determine the type, rating, and number of panels to achieve your solar energy objectives.

Power is rated in watts (kW are kilowatts or 1,000 watts) and energy is rated in watt hours (kWh is kilowatt hours).

However, you cannot look at your kWh usage and then just divide to determine the number of solar panels it would take to produce that energy.  That’s because solar panel energy is rated in peak solar conditions, and when the panel is not powering anything–the moment it is powering something (drawing some energy off), the voltage decreases.

You can, though, compare the ratings between panels–a 5 kWh panel does produce less power than a 10 kWh, but also less than 5 kWh.

If the goal of a solar panel system is to provide all of the operational power for a business or home, a professional will examine such factors as history and usage, but also anticipated growth.

Why Storage Matters

Battery storage also continues to improve.

For smaller home applications, battery storage does not matter much.  For larger applications, such as larger residential usage or commercial usage, battery storage provides many useful benefits, such as:

  • Backup power in the event of a power outage (even replacing diesel-powered backup generators),
  • Extra power to supplement energy usage at peak hours,
  • Or power to specific applications, such as solar-powered air conditioning or heating of swimming pools.

To determine if your application would benefit from battery backup power, speak with a professional.

Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we operate as independent energy brokers, to partner with clients for all of your energy needs.  From scope of project estimations and solar panel installation to securing resources and incentives, to meeting sustainability objectives, we are your complete energy managers.

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There’s never been a better time to invest in sustainable energy.  Sustainable energy (also known as “green energy”) is cost-effective, as well as being a wonderful point of good public relations in one’s community.

Two of the most common sustainable energy sources are wind and solar power.  While geothermal and hydroelectric options are available for parts of the country, wind and solar power can be installed in almost any area.

For commercial applications, here are some of the key points of the solar vs wind power debate.

Wind is More Common

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2017 about 17% of electricity generation in the US came from renewable resources.  (Any electricity source not coming from fossil fuels is considered “renewable,” including burning wood, methane from compost/garbage, as well as wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) Hydropower and wind, by far, generated the most renewable energy in the US last year.

Wind power is incredibly efficient, requiring only about an average of 12 mph winds to operate at full capacity.  Though individual wind turbines and even ground-level wind turbines can be installed, the majority of wind electricity plants are “farm style”– where many large wind turbines are installed in a singular area, where they direct power onto the electrical grid.

Pros: Efficient and effective

Cons: Large, costly, unsightly

Though very large companies, such as Facebook and Amazon may create their own wind power generation farms, it is far more common for a company to purchase wind power to offset energy use, such as Google has done.

Solar is More Accessible

Driven by improvements in technology and reduction in cost, solar energy resources have grown rapidly in the past few years. There are now nearly 2 million solar installations in the US.  Like other renewable energy resources, solar energy comes with federal (and often, state) tax incentives to help offset cost of installation.  Since solar is already less expensive than many other types of energy resourcing, that incentive can make a tremendous difference.

For commercial application, some power companies will even work with a business to cover the cost of solar installation for their contracted business partners, knowing that the technology pays for itself in a short period of time with “power back to the grid” or reduced expenses for both the user and service provider.

In many cases, solar energy is also easier to maintain than wind power.  Solar panels without moving parts (by far, the most common for onsite use), have less need for maintenance and repair.

Solar panels are much smaller than wind turbines (which need to be installed above the ground where wind blows more regularly), with size variances easily tailored to be site-specific.

Pros: Efficient, effective, less obstructive

Cons: Require daylight/sunshine

Though solar technologies do continue to improve, they require sunlight.  Partially overcast days and shorter daylight hours are still acceptable for some solar technologies, but in very northern (short day) or highly overcast environments, solar panels may not generate enough energy to justify their use.

Get Started with Energy Professionals

When you work with an energy broker, you work with an independent agent to maximize your energy experience.  Energy Professionals specializes in helping you reduce and control your energy budget, and realize your sustainability goals.

Our experts will work with you to understand your energy needs, ensure that you meet them, but also plan for continued budget reduction with longevity planning.  Whether wind, solar or some other technology will best suit your needs, we also specialize in securing the sustainable energy resources that will provide you with an optimized solution.

Contact us today to find out more.

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Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the 138th annual National Guard Association of the United States Conference in Baltimore, MD. This event was designed to bring together National Guard Association members, military personnel, and supporting organizations from all over the country to build relationships and foster a professional network between the military and commercial entities.

The entire production was awe-inspiring! I was impressed by the variety of events: the many organizations who presented their ideas, products and future plans; the multitude of guest speakers, including presidential nominee Donald Trump; the various military organizations; and the heartfelt memorial services to honor the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

I went to learn more about how our energy professionals at The North American Energy Advisory could assist the military and their community of supportive organizations with their energy efficiency strategy and Green Energy implementation plans.

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Are you an energy broker looking for a strong organization that can handle all of the back office admin, tracking and customer service support that can help you focus on selling energy to your current existing relationships?

North American Energy Advisory, one of the most respected advisory firms in the energy industry, is looking for broker partners to represent our brand.

Broker Partnership:

NAEA is always looking for relationships with energy professionals that desire to leverage the ability to have a strong organization handle all of the rfp’s, customer service, and supplier relations for them, so they can focus on their existing client’s energy needs. Our broker program provides the name recognition of The North American Energy Advisory brand, pricing from all of the major suppliers that will help you earn more customer’s business, and will provide the support team, post-sale, to handle all of your customer’s needs.

Our organization will not only help you find the best energy rates available, but will help increase your customer retention and loyalty. As a partner to N.A.E.A., you will be bringing additional value and benefits to your clients, by offering renewable energy options, energy efficiency projects and lighting retrofits that are spearheaded by some of the most powerful energy companies in the U.S. and Canada.

As we represent the majority of upper echelon suppliers that are registered in each deregulated market, we are able to identify the absolute best available options for each unique customer. We have broker partners all over the U.S. that are saving their clients on their energy spend, helping them to create an energy strategy, and bringing a full arsenal of energy savings products and services all from a single source.

If you are looking for an opportunity to work with an organization that has had relationships with the top suppliers for 20 years, and can help you meet the goals and objectives you have for yourself in the energy industry, contact us to find out more on how The North American Energy Advisory can support you.

Call us at 855.396.8870

 

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Consulting Referral Partnership

Trust is one of the most important factors in any relationship, especially business-to-business relationships where thousands or perhaps even millions of dollars might be at stake.

This is why referral marketing programs can be so effective. Our B2B referral program is a formalized process by which your happiest customers can benefit from our products and services which in turn creates additional revenue for your company…and vice versa.

NAEA’s products reduce your client’s energy costs and creates budget certainty on something they already use, energy. It does not cost your clients anything out of pocket from start to finish! Our firm is compensated by the energy providers we place clients with. We in turn provide you with a residual referral commission that continues as long as the client remains with a supplier we place them with.

As we represent the majority of upper echelon suppliers that are registered in each deregulated market, we are able to identify the absolute best available options for each unique customer. We have referral partners all over the U.S. that are saving their clients 10% to 30% on their energy spend, based on a simple introduction.

For more information please call us at 855.396.8870

 

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Choose Your Energy Supplier

Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy supply partners will provide you the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

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