Are You Getting the Energy Rebates You Deserve?

Boost your budget by getting paid for energy efficient upgrades

It’s budget season, which means saving money is on your mind. Seeking energy rebates for your engineering work is one way to add dollars back into your bottom line.

If you are planning renovations in your facility next year, making system upgrades, or putting up a brand new building, you probably know that designing these spaces to be more energy efficient is in your best interest. It reduces the ongoing cost of running the building, saving you money year after year.

What you may not know is your building’s improved energy efficiency could entitle you to cash incentives.

What are Energy Rebates?

We live in a highly powered world. Our homes, offices, schools, hospitals, factories—our entire communities—use an overwhelming amount of electricity. This puts a strain on the electrical grid, which wasn’t originally designed to operate at today’s level.

In an effort to reduce the demand on the electrical grid and avoid building more power plants, utility companies and the government are incentivizing customers to use less energy. Incentive programs pay businesses cash for designing new buildings or upgrading existing buildings and equipment to be more energy efficient or to use renewable energy sources.

Incentives are significant benefits to building owners because they can offset the cost of installing more energy efficient equipment, which often costs more upfront but provides cost savings over time. This means, with rebates, you can install energy efficient equipment and fixtures at closer to the cost of “standard” versions, then reap the savings in building operations costs. It’s a win-win!

Types of Utility Energy Rebates

Typically, utility companies, or their designated subcontractors, administer energy rebate programs. The rebates you qualify for will depend on what type of project you’re doing, where your project is located, and what rebates or incentive programs are offered by your utility company or relevant parties.

No matter who is administering the incentive programs, there are three primary types of energy rebates you may qualify for:

1. Prescriptive

Prescriptive energy rebates are typically offered for each energy efficient piece of equipment or fixture you install—a one-for-one replacement or retrofit. You must apply for prescriptive rebates after project completion, but within 60-90 days of completion. There is often a per-project cap for prescriptive rebates. This can range from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on what your utility company offers.

Popular measures that qualify for prescriptive energy rebates include:

  • Interior/exterior lighting
  • Chillers
  • Boilers
  • Rooftop units
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
  • ENERGY STAR kitchen equipment
  • Occupancy sensors
2. Custom

Custom energy rebates are offered for things not covered by prescriptive rebates. This might include more complex renovations, involve multiple systems, or include a building analysis approach. You must apply for custom energy rebates before executing the contract for the work or purchasing materials. Custom rebates usually have a per-project cap, but some programs will reimburse $100,000 or more based on the size and scope of the project.

Popular measures that qualify for custom energy rebates include:

  • LED lighting (not for one-for-one replacement)
  • HVAC measures not covered by prescriptive program
  • Building controls
  • Compressed air systems
  • Energy studies and retro-commissioning
  • Industrial processes
3. New Construction

New construction energy rebates are offered for new construction projects or major renovations. You must apply for custom energy rebates before executing the contract for the work or purchasing materials. Like custom rebates, there is usually a per-project cap, but some programs will reimburse $100,000 or more based on size and scope of the project.

Popular measures that qualify for new construction energy rebates include:

  • LED Lighting
  • HVAC
  • Building envelope
  • Building controls
  • VFDs
  • Windows and glazing

Utility companies may offer financial assistance for an energy efficiency study, which falls under the custom rebate category. An energy study assesses your building’s current performance and provides recommendations for ways to optimize energy use. Any changes you make as a result of the study would then qualify for the appropriate prescriptive or custom rebates.


How Do I Get Energy Rebates?

The process of maximizing your energy rebate dollars starts in the planning and design phase of your project—or if you are doing a remodel, potentially even earlier in the energy assessment of your existing building. Based on your budget and goals, your engineering team can help you choose the most efficient equipment and collaborate with architects to design with optimal energy performance in mind.

Application Process

When and how you must apply for rebates depends on your project and the type of incentives you are seeking.

For prescriptive rebates, once the project is done, you will need to complete the appropriate technology application (e.g. lighting or HVAC) and attach the itemized invoice and the W-9 of the payee. On the application, you will designate the payee, as the payment may be assigned to the contractor or the rebate administrator. You will typically receive the incentive within 30 days of submitting a complete application.

For custom and new construction rebates, you will need to apply prior to purchase and installation of equipment. Completing a custom rebate application will generally entail outlining the project scope and estimating costs and savings based on the building’s existing condition. New construction rebate applications will ask you to detail the scope and scale of the new building, as well as the technologies and control strategies being employed. You may need to submit a building energy model, too.

Other documentation you will need to provide include the architectural, mechanical, and electrical construction drawings, along with the COMcheck report. You may be asked for additional documentation on some applications, but these are the standard basic submittal requirements.

No matter which type of rebate application you are completing, you will typically receive payment after the project is complete and the utility company verifies the equipment is installed and operating according to the design.

Energy Rebate Assistance

The process of seeking out, applying for, and tracking the rebates through payment is time consuming and tedious. Even if you have the time, you may not have someone on staff who understands all the rules and requirements. This is where an energy engineering partner can be valuable.

Our team manages the energy rebate process for our Owners from start to finish. In fact, we’ve helped obtain over $1 million in energy incentives in the past two years. Our familiarity with the requirements and our specialized software allow us to complete the process in a fraction of the time. We gather the information we need, find the incentives you qualify for, complete and submit the applications, and track their status until you receive the check.


Need help? Have questions? Contact our energy experts for more information.


Q&A Session with Andrew Eckrich, Energy Engineer

Fast Facts About Andrew

Andrew Eckrich

Discipline: Mechanical Engineering, Clean Energy Engineering

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

Education: University of Dayton

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption



From international adventures to playing banjo around the campfire, Andrew Eckrich, graduate engineer, has an eclectic array of hobbies—including an inherited bouncy ball collection!

When did you decide you wanted to be an engineer?

I remember learning about woodworking from both of my Grandpas as a small child. For my 10th birthday, Grandpa got me a scroll saw. I started making more intricate small-scale projects. I quickly realized that I like to build things and help people. My favorite thing to do is to express creativity by designing and building stuff.  Engineering allows me to earn a nice living while being creative each day.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I appreciate that each day is different. I am fortunate enough to work with multiple aspects of building design from HVAC, to energy analysis, to LEED certification. My job seems to cycle through these three focuses, and I enjoy the variety.

What’s something not everyone knows about you?

For four weeks after I graduated college, I had the opportunity to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain—a 500-mile pilgrimage ending at the gravesite of Saint James. It was about 16 miles each day. Though I traveled over by myself for the first three weeks, I met people along the way from around the world. It was like visiting many different countries all at once. On the first night, I met a man from the Czech Republic who spoke some English and some Italian, and an Italian man who only spoke Italian. The three of us shared a nice meal together, communicating through my Czech friend. By the end, we had become friends and the Italian was fully conversational in English!

That experience taught me to never be surprised at who I cross paths with in life. Everything that happens was meant to happen in its time.


Andrew and his sister Karen passing into the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


What do you do in your free time?

My wife, Julia, is a Youth Minister at a church in Noblesville, so it is a natural fit to volunteer with the middle school youth group. She and I also enjoy creating music together (I play guitar and banjo and Julia sings). We play little gigs here and there or just around the campfire. I was in a band in college and we even made a full-length album.

I also love the outdoors.  I have always loved running and still consider myself a runner, but lately have transitioned more into biking. When the weather and my schedule allow it, I ride to work as much as possible.


Andrew and his wife Julia


Do you collect anything?

Well, there is that old adage something like, “What’s yours and what’s mine is ours.” My wife has a collection of more than 5,000 bouncy balls, so now I have that collection, too. We have them in jars all over the house, and we have a bouncy ball machine near the front door. We even filled vases with them for centerpieces at our wedding.  She started the collection at age 12 after finding several while cleaning her room and it has just taken a life of its own.


Andrew’s mom made this giant “E” filled with bouncy balls for their wedding.


We had bouncy balls on our wedding registry; we receive them as gifts; we buy them as souvenirs from different places. Eventually, we plan to have a wall in our house covered in Plexiglas and filled with bouncy balls. Or maybe a Rube Goldberg-type machine that will bring bouncy balls to the top and roll down a track in our house. The possibilities are endless.

Q&A Session with Bob Ross, Civil Designer

Fast Facts About Bob

Bob Ross

Discipline: Engineering

Hometown: Valparaiso, IN

Education: Trine University

Favorite Movie: The Sandlot



As Bob Ross, civil designer, designs parking lots and detention ponds for Owners, he daydreams of visiting every ballpark in the country. Learn more about him below!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in “The Region” and went to a small school. I started working on a farm in about fifth grade and continued as I grew up. Even today, I am not afraid of hard work and getting my hands dirty.


How did you land on civil engineering?

Growing up, I would build wooden cars in my grandpa’s shop. As I got older, that turned into building a go-kart, which prompted him to say, “You know, you would be a pretty good engineer.” All of the career aptitude tests I took in school agreed with my grandpa’s assessment, so since I liked math and design, I decided to pursue it. I started out in general engineering, deciding between mechanical and civil. I love to be outside, so I decided to become a civil so I could be outside on more jobsites.

Bob Ross and Grandpa

Bob and his engineering inspiration, his grandpa.

Do you have any side projects?

My fiancé—Jordan—and I bought a house in Decatur Township that we spend a lot of time fixing up.  So far, we have laid new carpet, painted, built a new closet, laid new hardwoods, installed new lights, did some landscaping, and now we are working on new fans. We still have a ways to go, but doing it together has been fun.


When you’re not designing and building things, what do you do?

I also love sports and play on multiple teams—currently baseball and basketball, but soon I will be adding in volleyball and softball. And who can forget my love of the Cubbies? I have split season tickets with a few people, so I will make it up to Chicago for a few games.

Bob Ross

Bob and his fiancé, Jordan

What’s your favorite Indy spot?

Jordan and I really enjoy Sodalis Nature Park in Hendricks County. They have some nice trails and a pond, and not a lot of people go to it. We enjoy taking the dogs out there for the day.


What is your dream vacation?

With the upcoming wedding in September 2020, Jordan and I are still trying to decide that. We are thinking about possibly honeymooning in Puerto Rico or Costa Rica. But honestly, my dream vacation? Getting to see all the baseball parks in the country—especially Fenway.


We’re an Approved IPL RCx Study Provider. What Does That Mean?

IPL logoSchmidt Associates is now an approved Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) Retro-Commissioning Study Provider. This status helps us enhance our energy service offerings to our Indianapolis-area clients by allowing us to execute retro-commissioning studies and lead clients through IPL’s energy incentive program.

Even if a building was designed to be energy efficient, as time goes on, systems can drift from original settings and performance can fluctuate. This can increase energy consumption and operating costs.

Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the process of returning a building to its original design intent. It involves studying the performance of HVAC, lighting, and building controls, then comparing this performance to the original design. An RCx study typically results in a list of low- or no-cost recommendations and adjustments that can be implemented to optimize building performance.

Taking these steps to improve the energy efficiency of your building can qualify you to receive incentives from IPL—up to 100% of implementation cost for qualifying measures.

Learn more about RCx and how our team of energy experts can save you money.

What is Retro-Commissioning?

retro-commissioning energy assessment


Is your building’s energy performance at its highest possible level? If you don’t know the answer to this question offhand, it’s probably “no.”

Even if your building was designed to be energy efficient at the time it was built or renovated, as time goes on, building usage may evolve and equipment ages. Modern building systems are very complex, and one small change can have a snowball effect on the entire facility. As systems drift from original settings, energy consumption and operating costs creep up.

This is where retro-commissioning comes in. Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the process of assessing a building’s energy performance and taking steps to return it to the original design intent.

The Retro-Commissioning Process

A successful RCx process consists of four steps:

1. Find an RCx Study Provider

Not all engineering firms offer RCx as a service. A firm with specialized energy engineers can most appropriately assess and improve your building’s efficiency and lead you through any incentive programs you plan to pursue for the work (more on this later). Some utility companies require this work be performed by firms they have approved as certified RCx study providers in order to qualify for their incentive programs.

2. Complete an RCx Study

Your RCx study provider will review your energy bills and perform an on-site assessment of your existing mechanical systems, lighting systems, and building controls. They will compare your energy consumption to national benchmarks to see how you compare to your peers’ buildings around the country. In addition, they will compare your building operation to the original design intent for your building and identify areas of improvement to return the building to peak energy performance.

3. Implement Recommendations

The RCx study will result in a list of specific adjustments to be made to your control system and other low- or no-cost recommendations. These could include adjusting equipment schedules, correcting economizer operation, or reducing or eliminating simultaneous heating and cooling. Your RCx study provider can work with your staff or contractor to correctly implement these recommendations and make the necessary adjustments.

4. Continue Monitoring Building Performance

To extend the benefits of the implemented RCx measures, you should put a process in place for ongoing monitoring of your building systems. This will ensure they continue to operate efficiently and prevent energy costs from creeping up again.

Benefits of Retro-Commissioning

Ultimately, RCx decreases the cost to operate your facility. By optimizing your building systems, you lower your energy consumption and, thus, your energy bills. But there are other financial and operational benefits to RCx.

Many utility companies will pay cash to businesses that commit to an RCx study and implement the resulting recommendations. Some of these RCx incentive programs will reimburse up to 100% of implementation cost for qualifying measures. If you plan to pursue incentives for RCx, you or your RCx study provider must apply for the program before proceeding with an RCx study. After RCx is implemented, the utility company will verify implementation and measure improvements in energy consumption. The dollar amount you receive is based on actual kilowatt (kWh) savings.

RCx can also have a significant impact on building occupants. Once systems are adjusted, your staff is likely to notice a difference. Improving thermal comfort is a proven factor in employee satisfaction and can increase productivity.


To plan your RCx study or learn more, contact our energy experts.



Q&A Session with Brad Wallace

Fast Facts About Brad

Discipline: Engineering

Hometown: Lebanon, IN

Education: ITT Technical Institute

Favorite Place on Mass Ave: Bru Burger or Condado



Brad Wallace, senior HVAC mechanical designer, is a country boy at heart. He’s an open book and is almost constantly smiling. Learn more about him.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on my family farm in Lebanon, Indiana. I still live in the town and am very close with my family—my younger sister, her husband and four sons, and my parents. After attending ITT for a two-year Associates Degree in Architectural Engineering, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do; I landed a job with a local mechanical contractor. The guys that did the installations took me under their wing and showed me what to do and what not to do when designing systems. I really learned a lot from them, and they shaped the way I design systems today.


Brad’s Farm


What sparked your interest in engineering?

When I was a little kid, I always enjoyed motorcycles and cars. My dad bought my first car, a Mustang Cobra, when I was 15. All I wanted to do was work on the engine of that car. I was always interested in how things work; I wanted to see, touch, and build.


What is a lesson you’ve carried throughout your career?

My very first day working my first job out of school, my boss gave me a toolbox and told me to carry it up the straight ladder to the mechanical equipment. I am not a big fan of heights; it was one of the scariest moments of my life. I remember my boss making the comment, “I don’t know where your future will go, but if you can ever influence someone to put stairs up to a mechanical room, that will make a difference.” Now, when I am designing a system, I think about what it takes to perform maintenance on my systems.


Who or what has motivated you?

Growing up, I had a school teacher who told me I would never amount to anything. I can’t tell you how many times I used that to motivate me. I never wanted to prove anything to her, but I knew that she was wrong and I proved it to myself.


What do you do in your free time?

I spend my free time with my family and dogs. We have a 200-acre farm west of Lebanon. I grew up there and still help my parents with the upkeep and mowing. I love mowing in the evenings. I see and smell things there that you just don’t have in town; my mind goes back to times when I was a kid with my grandparents.

I also love snowmobiling in the mountains of Colorado. Between my brother-in-law, my nephews, and me, we have nine snowmobiles. We don’t get to ride much around here but try to ride in Michigan as much as we can. But through all our adventures, the mountains of Colorado remain my favorite.


Brad and Some of His Family


What is a hobby or issue you are passionate about?

Animal abuse—primarily with dogs and cats. I have a bunch of Facebook friends from rescues and seeing the abuse of animals is sickening. I want the public to know that there is an issue and we need to fix the problem. There are a lot of good dogs out there looking for homes. Just last week, I adopted a pit bull from a kill shelter, Brody. He was a stray, off and on the euthanasia list for six months. The volunteers just believed that someone was going to come and rescue him.


Brad and His Rescue Pit Bull, Brody


What’s your favorite Indy spot?

To me, the War Memorial is the best-kept secret in the city. Several years ago Wayne Schmidt (Schmidt Associates Founder) took a group over to it as a type of field trip. Before then, I had no idea what was inside, even though I drove by it daily. After I went through and saw the museum and the Memorial upstairs, I was amazed. I always tell people they need to check it out.



When to Plan for Water Boiler and Chiller Upgrades

Hot Water Boilers

Aging Equipment – Hot Water Boilers

When it comes to updating or repairing the mechanical systems in your facility, timing is crucial. This is true whether you work in an office building, school, or hospital.

If a facility’s mechanical systems are functioning properly, they tend to be “out of sight, out of mind.” However, when they fail, it can cause serious issues for the operation of the facility and the people in it. That’s why it’s important to identify and plan for necessary maintenance to avoid any downtime and unnecessary disruptions.

Water Chiller and Boiler Replacement Timing

Water boilers for heating and chillers for air conditioning are two of the most common systems that fall victim to poor planning. Here’s an example I see frequently:

Let’s say you have an older water chiller that’s had regular maintenance but is nearing the end of its life. It’s early spring, and your maintenance staff informs you that the chiller won’t start up, but it’s old enough that the manufacturer no longer has available parts for repairs. So, you call your most trusted engineering partner to select a new chiller and have drawings prepared for a public or private bid project.

Your engineering partner shares the following timeline with you:

  1. Design of the chiller replacement: 4-6 weeks
  2. Bidding: 4-6 weeks
  3. Signing of contracts
  4. Delivery lead time for the chiller: 18 weeks

This means your new chiller won’t be up and running until fall. You will have spent the entire summer working on this project, and by the time it’s completed, chiller season will be over.

The same applies to a heating water boiler system. Although the lead time on boilers is typically less than chillers, if you don’t identify the need for a new boiler until it starts to get cold outside, you may have to limp through the winter on less heating capacity. Even worse, you may have to arrange for temporary heating in your facility, which can be very expensive.

Avoid Equipment Failure

The bottom line: don’t wait until your equipment fails to replace it. For heating and cooling equipment, plan to have your older boilers replaced in the summer and older chillers replaced in the winter. This will ensure the equipment is off-line and not critical to your daily operations during replacement.

Planning ahead for mechanical system upgrades will save you money and headaches in the long run. If you have questions or want to learn more about how we can help, give us a call!

Civil Engineers: The Science of the Art of Construction

Civil Engineer Graphic


Sometimes referred to as “The Science of the Art of Construction,” civil engineering is often the unsung hero of a project; without it, buildings and cities would cease to exist in a way that’s operable or sustainable.


Although the projects they work on have vastly changed over the centuries, civil engineering is arguably the oldest engineering discipline. The design of the built environment began the first time someone placed a roof over their head or laid a tree trunk across a river to make it easier to get across. New materials and technology have allowed civil engineers to think even more creatively, expanding their opportunities to expand and enhance the built environment. From impossibly tall towers to stunning bridges and captivating airports, civil engineers push the limits of what’s possible. At the same time, civil engineers are bound by their ethics of professional practice to ensure that all designs are safe, practical, and economical.


What Does a Civil Engineer Do?

Civil engineers work with many of the unseen elements of a project or building: the structural framework and foundations, provision for the various utility services, stormwater management and flood protection, sanitary sewerage and waste disposal, performance of building materials and components, and access to transportation networks. Civil engineers often work closely with architects and landscape architects to determine the best options for harmonizing the surrounding environment with the aesthetics and program of a building, while providing the building the supporting infrastructure it needs to function.

Civil engineers understand the moving parts beneath a project and are experts when it comes to:

  • Structures and Foundations
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Transportation Systems
  • Geography and Land Use Practices
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Hydrology and Climate
  • Soils and Geology
  • Environmental Protection and Remediation
  • Construction Techniques


Why are Civil Engineers Important?

More than just problem solvers, civil engineers often are the first to identify problems. They contribute during all stages of a building’s design and construction. A critical element of any successful project, civil engineering ensures that all relevant human and environmental factors are on the table. The work performed by civil engineers contributes to public health, safety, and welfare by promoting and protecting the psychological and physical well-being of all persons.

In addition to creating new facilities, civil engineers also play an important role in the maintenance, operation, and expansion of existing buildings and infrastructure. Things like highways and railways, water supply, and waste collection and treatment systems are all kept functioning by the innovation and knowledge of civil engineers, who are challenged to consider constantly changing factors, such as population growth and climate change.

Natural disasters are another element that civil engineers must consider⁠—both for the safeguarding of lives and property and for the restoration after damages have occurred. Risk factors and allowable margins of safety are considered in almost all design decisions.

As with all design professionals, civil engineers must think creatively to develop solutions that accommodate finite resources and limited budgets.


What Makes a Great Civil Engineer?

This engineering discipline can be broadly divided into two areas of practice: engineers who spend more time on project design prior to construction, and engineers who spend more time on-site during construction. Although generally using the same knowledge base, these two types of civil engineers work in vastly different settings.

For design-oriented civil engineers, most of their day will be spent in an office or with clients, performing calculations and developing plans, as well as addressing issues to ensure a successful project that meets the needs of the client.

Construction-specialist civil engineers mostly spend their days on project locations, overseeing the contractors who are carrying out the physical work and making sure everything is done correctly and appropriately, answering questions, and managing problems that occur in the field.

No matter the type, to excel as a civil engineer, individuals need to have several qualities, including:

  • Creative Thinking
  • Versatility
  • Problem Solving
  • Broad Technical Expertise
  • Collaboration
  • Seeing the Big Picture

Civil engineers who work closely with architects usually have the experience and knowledge necessary to collaborate in a fast-paced and creative work environment. However, all civil engineers learn how to communicate effectively across many disciplines, which is another reason why they are such a keystone in every building project.


Next: Learn about electrical engineering.

Saving Money Through Building Controls and Optimization

Presentation by Bill Gruen and Andrew Eckrich – 2019 IAPPA Meeting, hosted by Independent Colleges of Indiana

Bill and Andrew explain what building controls are, define terminology associated with a building’s life cycle, and give a couple examples of how we’ve saved our Owners money through energy and optimization services:

Demystifying the Terminology: Energy Efficiency Edition

There are a lot of terms to understand in the construction, building operations, and maintenance world. You may often notice engineering lingo is thrown around as if everyone knows what each term or phrase means. A core focus at Schmidt Associates is ensuring the buildings we design and construct are done so to the highest possible degree of energy efficiency, all while informing our Owners about our process and making them comfortable with the end results. So, what are some of these terms that you will come across and what is the difference between them?

Below, we’ve outlined the basics of a handful of the most common terms we use:

Retro-Commissioning (RCx)
  • This is a service that is meant to return the building to the design intent. During retro-commissioning, the contractor learns the building systems and how they are operating and compares them to the design drawings to determine if they are operating efficiently. All efforts are made to get the building back into its design condition; these efforts are documented for the Owner’s records.
  • Can identify repair and rehabilitation (R&R) project
Utility Analysis
  • A crucial first step in any facility assessment which helps bring attention to the most energy- and cost-intense buildings in a customer’s portfolio.
  • Use data already in-hand to assemble easy-to-read graphs and compare similar buildings to one another.
  • Benchmark buildings against regional and national averages using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager
  • Use data to understand the past and target improvements for the future!

Left graph: Buildings ranked from highest to lowest energy intensity (energy per ft2) | Right graph: Those same buildings ranked from highest to lowest cost intensity ($ per ft2, in red). Annual utility cost ($ per year, in green) is also shown. Together, these graphs tell the “energy story” of the whole campus!

Energy Rebates
  • Utilities incentivize efficient equipment to the point that it (when fully installed) costs the same as “standard” equipment. The efficient equipment then slashes your operational costs.
  • Type #1 – Custom / New Construction
    • Usually paid on a $$$ per kWh (or therm) saved based on first year savings
    • ~$100,000 rebate cap per project, but can be higher in some cases
    • Use for non-one-for-one replacement or more complex renovation projects
    • May involve multiple systems or a Building Energy Model approach
    • New construction programs may also be a part of the custom program, or it may be separate
    • Apply prior to contract execution or material purchase
  • Type #2 – Prescriptive
    • Usually paid on a $ per lighting fixture or per ton of efficient HVAC equipment installed
    • ~$50,000 rebate cap per project
    • Usually a one-for-one replacement or retrofit
    • Apply after project is complete within 60-90 days
  • Type #3 – Energy Studies
    • Utility companies also offer assistance to pay for energy efficiency studies
    • Energy upgrades in response to these studies can then be incentivized via Prescriptive or Custom Rebates!
  • To learn more about energy rebates, check out this blog, and call us with any questions!
Commissioning (Cx)
  • Performed directly after construction, and ensures all systems are operating the way they were designed to operate.
  • Professional service performed by a third party, not the designer.

OPR: Owner Project Requirement | BOD: Basis of Design Authority | CxA: Commissioning Agent

Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing (TAB)
  • A systematic process or service applied to HVAC systems and other environmental systems to achieve and document air and hydronic flow rates with the purpose of making the HVAC system operate as efficiently as the designer intended.
  • Typically led by a contractor and is separate from commissioning; done years after building has opened. Typically done years after the building has opened.
  • Generally, this service identifies low cost and no cost measures that can be implemented via the control system. For example: adjust equipment schedules, correct economizer operation, and reduce/eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling.
  • Can also identify R&R projects for the building owner.
  • Several Indiana utilities are offering study incentives to help pay for these services.
  • This can be considered “retro-commissioning on an ongoing basis”, or “continuous commissioning”. The objective over the long term is to maintain optimal building performance and avoid any creep or variation in operational excellence.
  • Involves:
    • Weekly/monthly reviews of the control schedule
    • Periodic review of equipment operation
    • Benchmarking energy performance
    • Catching operational anomalies within a short time frame to fix any issues and keep energy costs under control.
  • Especially important on buildings that have not been commissioned–as there is likely a high initial energy savings opportunity.
  • Requires collaboration between the designer, your staff, your controls service provider, or other team partners. We help lead, coordinate, and communicate the activities necessary to operate the building well. The team must work together with the same goal in mind!
  • The controls contractor, or someone specifically trained on that system, usually performs the control updates.
  • Not in conflict with commissioning; it complements the service well. Optimization allows energy costs to be controlled from the outset when initiated as soon as the building becomes occupied.
  • Helps identify potential deferred maintenance issues to prioritize projects.
  • By benchmarking or tracking utility costs, it is easy to track the ROI of the service.
  • The life of the equipment is elongated and building occupants are more comfortable if issues are tackled right away and equipment operates efficiently.

Schmidt Associates can work with building owners and institutions to retro-commission and optimize their buildings. Give us a call if you want to learn more about how we can help!