Building energy audits can save lots of cash
Israel’s energy consumption grows 4% each year; electricity shortages can be avoided, expert tells 'Post'.
AN ARTIST’S impression of the Azouri EcoTower superimposed on a photo of the Rehov Hamasger industri Photo: Courtesy/Andres Lacko
As the country faces a summer with low power reserves and increasing electrical
demands, it may be strategic “if not crucial” for large institutions to conduct
energy surveys and increase their efficiency.
Dan Bar-Mashiah – a former
economic consultant to the Energy and Water Ministry – founded the energy
services company ESCO Israel six years ago. Since then, he has led more than 600
projects auditing energy systems and retrofitting buildings to achieve as high
efficiency as possible, he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview in Tel Aviv
“The potential is huge and we hardly do anything in the macro
point of view to achieve this goal,” Bar-Mashiah said. “By saving even 20
percent, all this discussion about building a new power plant, it is not
With that much more energy efficiency, which Bar-Mashiah said
could be done in Israel, “all these talks about having a shortage of
electricity, they wouldn’t happen.”
During an ESCO Israel’s energy audit,
which operates “according to the model of international ESCO,” Bar-Mashiah’s
staff performs a complete retrofit of the institution’s energy appliances,
including overhauls of lighting and cooling systems. Both before and after, the
company measures how much energy the institution is consuming and how much money
it is spending, and the client and ESCO split the financial savings, Bar-Mashiah
During the retrofitting process, ESCO Israel pays for the
purchase and installation of new appliances, he said.
“It is a long-term
business,” he said, noting that contracts run between 10 and 24
Simply installing new appliances is not enough, however, according
“We put [in] an automatic control system that, for
example, closes the light when there’s no one in the room and then we achieve a
lot more savings,” he said.
The company also installs preventative
measures, such as antiheat film on windows, as in his north Tel Aviv
“Before, you could fry an egg,” he said, pointing at his
Despite the government’s efforts to promote conservation this
summer, Bar-Mashiah said “very little [has been] done” by the authorities to
promote further efficiency.
One positive step the government could take
would be to issue energy services company tenders, in which companies such as
his own could compete for grants to conduct efficiency surveys in government
buildings, he said.
“Energy consumption in Israel is rising 4% each
year,” Bar-Mashiah warned.
One of ESCO Israel’s most recent undertakings
is a Green Campus project, in which it retrofitted 200 kindergartens and eight
educational campuses, changing the lights and air conditioners and thereby
saving 35% to 50% of energy consumption, he said.
ESCO Israel has reached
the prequalification stage for a government tender to retrofit many of the
country’s hospitals, in cooperation with one of the North American ESCO’s
Meanwhile, Ronen Azouri, founder of the EcoTower launched last
year in Tel Aviv, has joined with partners from the energy sector to launch a
company, EcoViz, for energy surveys and efficiency processes in buildings
throughout the country. The Azouri EcoTower on Hamasger Street in Tel Aviv, is
the city’s first office building compatible with international LEED Gold
Since completion of the EcoTower’s initial floors, the number
of consultation requests from organizations and corporations in the economic and
industrial sector, fielded by Azouri and his staff, has risen.
EcoTower, the building’s greening process produced a 33% decrease in energy
expenditures, as well as 70% in water savings.
The Health Ministry
recently conducted gray-water recycling tests at the building.
of energy surveys conducted on a voluntary basis will continue to increase
throughout the country, in light of the dramatic hikes in electricity prices,
EcoViz said. Azouri’s new venture is being run in partnership with physicists
and energy surveyors Jonathan Fromm and Kedem Levy.
The Law on Energy
Sources is expected to change by the end of 2012, setting new thresholds for
institutions that must conduct energy audits of their buildings, according to
EcoViz. Instead of a threshold of consumption equivalent to 2,000 tons of
petroleum per year, it will fall to 700 tons only, likely increasing the number
of institutions surveyed from 300 to 1,500, Azouri said.
companies saw carrying out energy surveys as a financial burden, but they now
realize that undertaking such procedures will gradually save them money, he
Unlike ESCO Israel, which pays for the analysis and retrofitting
procedure upfront and then splits the savings with the client, EcoViz will be
providing paid energy surveys for clients, who can then decide whether they want
to continue with a retrofitting process, Azouri told the Post on
If they do, then the clients can choose to work with EcoViz’s
preferred company to revamp their buildings. The clients can also choose to
perform the retrofit themselves, he explained.
Azouri stressed the
importance of providing clients with professional information for efficient
organizational behavior. He is confident that this industry will expand rapidly,
as people understand the importance of energy conservation as well as its
correlation to financial savings.
“We are banking on people who
voluntarily can enjoy savings, because this is what we did for ourselves,” he