Case Studies

Case Study #1
January 2012

“To be Green or to Save Green”


Two different owners with two different ideas on energy savings.


A mid-size winery wanted to be green and save money on their electric bill. The problem was the two owners did not see eye to eye. One owner was the grower and in charge of the fields, harvesting etc. His concern was to lower his acre foot cost to grow.

The other owner was the wine maker and in charge of the tasting room. He wanted to be green to help attract customers and gain positive rapport.

CEC always approaches customers with two different avenues. They design a plan to be green with the benefit of saving money or to save money with a benefit of being green. In this case we had both.


After analyzing the tasting room/vineyard and talking with the two owners, it was evident we had a lot of work to do.

First thing we suggested was to add a VFD to one of the highly used booster pumps. With the energy savings they would have a payback of 18 months. With the VFD controlling pressure and slower line fill, this eliminated line breakage from an average of 3 per year to less that 1 per year. Each line break has an estimated repair cost of $1500.00. With the savings of installing a VFD.

Our next suggestion was a small 2KW solar system, over a small parking area. This would not take up any space and acts as a functional carport for customers or staff. this system is not large enough to net zero their electric bill, however will create savings with a low installation cost.

Once the system is running, CEC will submit a press release which will give the winery some recognition for being “green”.


In this situation, we were able to meet the needs of both owners with customized solution. With both solutions we were able to offer energy savings and financial savings as well.


Case Study #2
October 2011

“Down-selling an Up-sell”


Retired couple with extremely high electric bill.


Couple is receiving a monthly electric bill of $500.00 or more. They live on many acres and water their property daily with their electric AG well. Over the years of raising children they accumulated 4 refrigerators and attempting to be “green”, they never threw them away.

Also, they were still using their original washer and dryer from when they purchased their home. With their high electric bill, they called us to install a 10KW solar system.


After doing a basic audit and speaking with the couple, it was evident a solar system would lower their bill but not the best solution for them. First thing we suggested was to get rid of their 4 outdated refrigerators and purchase a new energy star model. In addition to this, replace the washer and dryer with new energy star models as well. With the savings of replacing old appliances with new.

Our next suggestion was to bring in a landscaping professional to inquire about water retaining soils and to eliminate over and under watering by commissioning their irrigation system. With having total water usage.

Our final suggestion was to set the well on a timer to only pump at night (when electrical costs are lower) and change them to a time of use meter.


In this situation, we didn’t want to sell them a system (at their old age) that would not pay for itself in a timely manner. In our opinion, a solar system for them would be like asking for a heart transplant when you just have a common cold.


Case Study #3
March 2012

“Pay now or pay later”


Agricultural well not running efficiently.


Farming company hired the cheapest bid to drill their well and set their pump. Well is using 25HP more, to produce the same amount of water as neighboring farms. We were hired to see why their was such a large difference on power usage.


After hiring a local well driller that specializes in AG drilling (with high recommendations and prices), we found that the original drilling company used techniques and material favorable to their area but don’t work so well in the sandy valley. The well wasn’t drilled properly which restricted water flow causing this motor to work twice as hard, costing an average of $10,000.00 more per month!

The best solution in this case is to drill a new well. In one year, the amount of money the farmer was losing per year would pay for a new well to be drilled.

Our only other solution that wouldn’t solve the problem, but could help the situation, would be to add a VFD. This would save a minimal amount in their irrigation techniques.


In this situation, there wasn’t an electrical solution, but we were able to provide them with consulting and the source of the problem. In conclusion: The cheapest bid isn’t always the best choice when you think of long term costs.


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