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PG&E Energy Centers: Go-to Resources for Energy Management Information
When it comes to energy management, there are plenty of resources to turn to for information. In fact, if you do a Google search for “energy management,” you’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 million results. Wouldn’t it be great if there were one resource where California businesses could go for ways to save energy and money through energy efficiency projects?
Well, there is. With its three major energy centers, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) helps architects, designers, contractors and business customers create energy-efficient, safe and comfortable environments.1
The Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco, the Energy Training Center in Stockton and the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon offer classes, energy measurement tools, expert consultations and other green energy information resources to customers and trade professionals seeking information about energy management upgrades.
Following is a closer look at what the PG&E energy centers have to offer.
The Pacific Energy Center
This facility in downtown San Francisco features three sophisticated tools that can help customers and their contractors who are contemplating upgrades to facilities or new construction: the Heliodon, the Overcast Sky Simulator and the Lighting Classroom.
The Heliodon is a tool that simulates the geometric relationship of the Earth to the sun for any site location, season or time of day.2 The tabletop represents the Earth’s ground plane and tilts relative to a spotlight, which represents the sun. By using an architectural model of the facility being considered, the Heliodon can simulate shading, solar access and inferred/calculated radiation of a building site, assuming clear-sky conditions.
An integrated camera and software capture still frames and time-lapse videos of interior and exterior building surfaces. By revealing which areas of exterior and interior building surfaces are in direct sun or shadow, the Heliodon can identify opportunities for energy savings through climate-responsive architectural design. With this information, designers can bring daylight into a building while controlling glare, and reduce heating and cooling loads for low energy use design strategies.
The Overcast Sky Simulator is a tool that can analyze the impact of diffuse daylight in terms of measured daylight factors and subjective analysis of daylight distribution.3 It uses high-color temperature fluorescent lights and mirrored interior walls to mimic an overcast sky. The simulator’s interior is about 9 feet in width, depth and height, providing ample room to place a physical model of a building inside for a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of daylighting design performance. The use of the PEC Overcast Sky Simulator is free of charge but reservations are required.
The Lighting Classroom is used for lighting education and displaying advanced energy efficient lighting technologies.4 It offers various bulbs, downlighting and scenes for demonstrating lighting technology, color theory and lighting design. The walls of the classroom feature a series of interactive displays illustrating key concepts in lighting fundamentals. The classroom can accommodate small to medium-sized groups for project-specific discussions or for general education in lighting fundamentals and design.
In addition to these tools, the Pacific Energy Center also has an Energy Measurement Tools Lending Library.5 Customers can browse the lending library catalog and borrow tools at no cost. The free tool lending program provides energy management and building measurement tools to customers and professionals working on energy efficiency, demand reduction and demand response projects in California.
The center also has a regular library with a collection of sustainability resources, including books, journals, codes and standards. It also features private and open spaces ranging in capacity from tabletop displays to large-scale equipment exhibits and demos for groups of up to 300 people. Visitors have access to high-quality audio/visual equipment, and the center offers full-service catering, including continental breakfasts, sandwiches, appetizers and seated dinners for large groups.
The Energy Training Center
PG&E’s Energy Training Center in Stockton provides continuing education for businesses, construction professionals and participants of energy management and efficiency education programs.6 The program includes instruction, discussion and hands-on training on:
- The latest heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology
- Proper use, installation, maintenance, and the features and benefits of energy efficient windows, insulation materials and HVAC systems
- Evaluation and measurement techniques to support potential energy efficiency projects for commercial and industrial facilities
- Support for completion of incentive program applications
The Energy Training Center also features private meeting spaces for two to 100 people; private and open spaces ranging in capacity from tabletop displays to large-scale equipment exhibits and demos for groups of up to 150 people; high-quality, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment; and full-service catering, including continental and hot breakfasts, sandwiches, appetizers and other hot meals.
The Food Service Technology Center
The Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon is an industry leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing.7 Funded by PG&E, the center is operated by Fisher-Nickel, Inc., a company that has developed standard testing methods for evaluating commercial kitchen appliance and system performance.
Restaurant owners and operators, institutional food service providers, cooking equipment manufacturers and kitchen designers rely on the center to provide unbiased, comprehensive information about energy management and efficiency.
The center provides an array of services to the industry, including:
- Kitchen equipment test reports, allowing customers to objectively compare the performance of cooking and food preparation equipment
- Design consultation services, helping business owners design and specify equipment for their food service operations for maximum efficiency
- On-site facility surveys, culminating in a list of recommended actions to cut energy use and costs
- Educational seminars covering all aspects of energy performance in commercial kitchens
- Equipment testing services to determine the energy and performance characteristics of food service equipment
Interested in learning more about the benefits of an energy efficiency project? Download PG&E’s free eBook, “The Big 4 Essential Benefits of Energy Efficiency Projects for Your Business,” and discover upgrade benefits such as enhanced performance, decreased maintenance, money savings and improved aesthetics.
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