Steve Fontaine Interview

How do you know if a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit is a good fit for your building?

 When we at Aegis Energy Services, Inc are looking for the answer to that question, we begin with Steve Fontaine.

 Fontaine is an energy analyst who has the task of developing accurate savings analyses for Combined Heat and Power or “cogeneration” systems at individual sites.

 “I examine the electric and thermal requirements of buildings,” says Fontaine. “That, along with the costs of electricity and fuel will determine if cogen would be a good fit.”

 A graduate of Hamilton College, Fontaine came from the financial services industry and has been with Aegis Energy Services, Inc for seven years.

Fontaine’s analysis serves as a savings blueprint for customers who purchase an Aegis system. It gives them a great profile of how much they will save annually in energy costs.

His analysis is also central to Aegis Energy Services’ Shared Savings program, an energy program which allows clients to take advantage of energy cost savings from an Aegis cogen system without requiring any capital investment. 

At no cost to the customer, Aegis Energy Services will design, install, own, maintain, fuel, and operate a modular cogeneration system in that customer’s facility.  Aegis will interface the cogeneration system with the facility’s electrical and mechanical systems to provide both metered electrical and thermal energy.

The cogenerated electricity will be provided to the facility at a discount from the prevailing utility electrical rates while heat is provided at standard cost. In addition, the host site can outright purchase the system at anytime at a depreciated cost.

Fontaine uses proprietary software to determine the viability and cost-savings projection of an Aegis cogen unit.

 “I start with a 12 month billing history for a building’s electric account and natural gas and/or oil account,” he said. “The billing history ensures that we have a complete picture of the building’s usage.  This strong foundation allows us to have confidence in the numbers that we set forth in our cogeneration savings analysis.”

 Those numbers, in concert with a site visit, begin to paint a picture of the building’s usage and requirements that can help determine the true value a Combined Heat and Power unit can offer a particular facility.

 “The information gathered by our salespeople and engineers during the site visit, coupled with my knowledge gained through years in the analysis department, allows Aegis to accurately determine the thermal loads that can be served by the cogen unit,” Fontaine said.  “This ensures that our customers achieve their projected savings once the CHP system is installed.”

 The site tour allows Fontaine to look at the various individual loads and categorize them according to their compatibility with the cogen unit.

“If the load is hot water, it is viewed as potentially displaceable by the cogen,” said Fontaine.  “Common examples of displaceable loads would be domestic hot water (DHW) and hydronic space heaters. Loads such as gas-fired dryers, gas stoves, and direct-fired roof top units do not utilize hot water, so these loads would be viewed as non-displaceable.”

 That load categorization is essential to the process.

 “Properly determining the displaceable and non-displaceable loads ensures the accuracy of our savings analysis,” he said.  “Since the benefit of cogeneration is fully realized when the building is using the produced electricity and heat simultaneously, it is important to know the actual hot water requirement of the building.”

 An accurate savings analysis is the key to the Shared Savings offering and for all Aegis Energy Services, Inc clients.  If Aegis is willing to put resources behind a project based on Fontaine’s exhaustive research and analysis, the customer can rest assured they will recognize the full savings in their own portfolio. 

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