Author Archives: Stacy Wallace

EV’s, Chargers, Solar, Renewables and More – What Will Change in 2022?

As 2022 begins, it’s hard to know what the future will bring.

We may be entering the third full pandemic year, but with an economy in a robust recovery. To help you prepare for and benefit from change, we’re reviewing trends in solar installations, electric vehicles (EV’s), and other energy technologies to anticipate what might go on in 2022. Let’s begin with EV’s.

New Models, New Mainstreaming

Nearly two dozen new EV models are slated for release in 2022. Some are produced by dedicated EV manufacturers that have been on the forefront for years; others are offered by luxury car makers, with high prices to match.

However, most new models are downright mainstream, with many made by mid-range manufacturers and costing less than $45,000. The Ford F150 Lightning will have a sticker price about the same as a conventional F150, but with more horsepower and a 300-mile range. GM will resurrect the gas guzzling Hummer SUV as an EV and offer a new SUV version of the Chevy Bolt, the Bolt EUV. In fact, nearly every big-name car manufacturer will produce an EV SUV or crossover in 2022.

More EV pickups will be available, too. In addition to the Lightning, Lordstown Motors, Tesla, and Rivian will produce the Endurance, Cybertruck, and R1T trucks, respectively.

You’ll receive deliveries from EV’s, too. Amazon will begin deploying some of the 100,000 delivery trucks they’ve ordered from Rivian, and UPS will introduce EV trucks purchased from the UK manufacturer Arrival.

EV Charging Stations Set to Multiply

In our most recent blog, we discussed how the new infrastructure bill will provide funding to build a nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations, and the Build Back Better bill (BBB), if passed, will increase the tax credit for EV purchases to $12,500. Here are some other data points about the growing market:

  • According to a study by Market Research Future, the charging station market will grow from $18.25 billion today to more than $155 billion by 2030.
  • GM is working to grow the EVgo charging station network to 2,700 by 2025 and has already placed 500 chargers. GM drivers will also be able to use a single app to locate 80,000 charging locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, be able to find charging stations along a planned route and initiate and pay for charging.
  • Chevrolet will cover standard installation of home charging outlets for most customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV.

Each of these moves makes it easier for consumers in your target market to make the decision to buy their own EV’s.

Solar Outlook Mixed, but Positive

Bringing more solar capacity online is a top goal for utilities and regulators as 29 gigawatts of coal plant capacity shuts down by 2025. The good news? Analysts predict 44 gigawatts of new solar will come online in 2022. Better news? That 44 GW is all utility-owned projects and doesn’t account for small-scale installations at homes and businesses.

How many small-scale projects are installed in the near term will partly depend on the final form of the BBB legislation and whether it passes at all. Among the proposals is an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for private solar. It received a partial extension in 2020 but is still set to sunset by 2024. As it currently stands, BBB would return the ITC to 30% of the project cost and roll back the sunset date.

Other Power Technologies

Analysts expect wind capacity to increase by 27 GW in 2022, and for power storage to be increased by 8 GW. Storage capacity is crucial to transitioning to wind and solar because night, clouds, and windless conditions prevent 24/7 power generation.

Though it’s not technically a “renewable” (after all, there’s a finite amount of uranium), nuclear power is a zero-emission technology, and Northern Illinois has received positive news about the Byron and Dresden nuclear plants. Though Exelon had planned to decommission the plants, a deal with the Illinois government will keep them open. This should keep Illinois rates relatively low and make savings from installing solar even more lucrative.  For more information on upcoming trends and energy efficiencies contact Thayer Energy Solutions to see which direction could benefit you in 2022.

Short Term EV Outlook

As we enter the beginning weeks of 2022 a number of significant developments are occurring in the electric vehicle (EV) segment of the auto industry.

These and other recent trends prompted us to prepare this review of the short-term outlook for EV’s and their supporting infrastructure. We also consider how each trend might affect business owners who install charging stations for the use of their customers or tenants.

In the next 12-24 months, we can expect the following:

The Infrastructure Bill Will Fund Thousands of Charging Stations

Signed by the President on November 15, a new infrastructure investment bill provides $15 billion for. This is split roughly in half: $7.5 billion for EV buses and ferries, and $7.5 billion for a nationwide network of up to 500,000 charging stations along major highways. 

What This Means For You: One obstacle to widespread adoption of personal EV’s has been concerns about access to charging stations on long road trips. A nationwide network will make these trips as easy as in a gas-powered car, making EV adoption an easier sell and generating more need for your own stations.

EV Adoption is Likely to Surge

Congress is also considering the Build Back Better bill, an omnibus that includes tax credit programs. One provision is an increase in the tax credit for EV purchases, raising it to $12,500 for new vehicles and $4,000 for used models.

What This Means For You: The cost of EV’s is already trending down, and this initiative will drive the real cost to the owner far below the sticker price. More of your customers will be driving these vehicles and in need of charging stations.

Manufacturers Will Continue to Go All In

Mainstream car companies are rolling out more EV models, and GM, Hyundai, and Volkswagen have all committed to electric-only production by 2035. Many of these rollouts include major steps forward in capability and/or marketability, such as GM’s Ultium batteries, which cost 40% less to produce than the previous generation while delivering a 400-mile range.

What This Means For You: This will be another adoption boost. As more potential owners see cars that cost less, do more and are the type of vehicle—sedan, minivan, light truck, SUV, etc.—they like to drive, more will consider and buy EV’s. You’ll benefit from the massive marketing presence of household name auto manufacturers.

For a Year or Two, Production Will Be Slowed

EV manufacturers are dealing with the same supply chain issues that have affected gas powered vehicles, especially a shortage of microchips. This has led to production being suspended temporarily at some plants, including two of Volkswagen’s facilities.

What This Means For You: Though this may slow down an EV purchases for the individual buyer, it will likely not slow EV adoption significantly any more than microchip shortages have made buyers less interested in gas and diesel cars.

The EV Driver Demographic Will Expand

The largest segment of current EV owners (43%) are in their prime earning and spending years (24-54 years of age), and the top demographic are men whose households include a wife and young children, with multiple vehicles. With growing adoption and robust financial incentives, it’s far more likely that those multiple vehicles will be EV’s, adding more women to the ranks of EV drivers. In addition, these incentives will push the minimum income and age of first-time EV purchasers downward and make them easier for older citizens to afford.

What This Means For You: Wider adoption means your potential EV driver customer is from a larger pool than before, and more likely to be making daily family purchasing decisions. These trends will also skew the pool of owners younger, but even young EV owners will usually be in their prime earning years.

If you’re ready to take advantage of this new wave of change, or even just have some questions, we’re glad to be your advisers. Get in touch with Thayer Energy Solutions, and we’ll help you create a strategy to power you to greater profitability.

 

The Thayer Difference

“Thayer Energy Solutions chose fixtures that made a dramatic difference for our dealership.  Not only do they look great and provide excellent lighting, they also lower energy costs.  Many thanks to Thayer Energy Solutions!”

Rachel Bachrodt, VP Sales, Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall

Act Now on EVC’s

When many people heard “electric vehicles,” they tended to think of a sporty luxury car and a flashy billionaire.  Then, Lightning struck.

This spring, Ford launched a new electric work truck, the F150 Lightning. Since 1 out of 16 vehicles in America are F150’s, this would be significant even if only Ford was making this move. But other manufacturers are committing billions to EV development. The number of EV’s in America is expected to increase by 4 million by 2025 and they should reach 40-50% market penetration by 2030.

Every business has an opportunity to profit from this trend by installing electric vehicle charging stations. And the time to act on this opportunity is now.

Tax Incentives Are Sunsetting

Currently, businesses that install charging stations can seek a federal tax rebate for up to 30% of the cost. Unfortunately, these incentives will end on December 31st, 2021.

It was possible Congress would renew the incentives in the infrastructure bill, but as of this writing the bill has passed the Senate without any such language. It seems increasingly unlikely they will be renewed for 2022.

First Mover Advantage

Taking the initiative leads to advantage, and EV technology is now in the maturity sweet spot. It’s mature enough to be past the growing pains, but new enough for you to receive advantages from early adoption.

With charging stations at your facility, you’ll be one of the few in the Rockford area to offer them to a rapidly growing segment.

Attract Upscale, Green-minded Renters and Buyers

Americans’ financial decisions are increasingly based on environmental impact, including in the rental space. Sixty-one percent of residential renters say they will pay more to live in a green apartment, according to surveys by Apartmentdata.com. The majority of EV owners earn more than $100,000 per year, meaning they will be an excellent target market for higher end rental properties and single-family homes that accommodate their vehicles.

For businesses already seeking sustainable locations (or using an electric vehicle fleet), charging stations might be the factor that decides who will land their long-term lease.

Increase Your Retail Traffic with Affluent Customers Brought Right to You

Electric vehicle manufacturers supply apps that direct drivers to local charging stations. Typically, the vehicle will need to charge for at least 30 minutes. Once you’ve installed charging stations, someone else sends you customers who have an above average income and time on their hands. It’s a perfect situation for retail profit.

Getting in May Be Free

A number of EV manufacturers install stations for free to make life easier for their customers and sell more cars. You may be able to get all the benefits with zero upfront cost.

If this sounds interesting to you, contact Thayer Energy Solutions today and “Get Plugged In!”

WELL Certification, Lighting, and Employee Productivity

As more businesses focus on sustainability and ways to use technology to reduce energy costs, green building certifications such as LEED are receiving more attention.  So is the WELL Certification, first put forward in 2013.

WELL is technically not a green standard, though it does save energy for most businesses. Instead, WELL is focused on the health and wellness of those who use the building, providing benefits to employees (and customers) as well as the employer. As of this writing, the facilities that have received a WELL Certification comprise 2.7 billion square feet of commercial space.

How Does the WELL Certification Work?

The WELL standard covers seven factors or “Core Concepts” in a building that impact health, well-being, and productivity.

  • Air Cleanliness
  • Water—Clean and readily available
  • Nourishment—Food that is made available is wholesome and nutritious; highly-processed food is limited
  • Light—Adequate for productivity and friendly to the body’s circadian rhythms
  • Fitness—The building design includes features that promote activity and/or avoids features that promote sedentary behaviors
  • Comfort—The design supports ergonomics as well as thermal, acoustic, and olfactory comfort.
  • Mind—Measures building factors (from noise level to crowding) and workplace procedures that support or detract from mental wellbeing

Facilities are scored on 36 required points and 62 “optimizations,” then receive a rating of Silver, Gold, or Platinum based on their total score. The certification lasts three years.

Is the Certification Worth It?

It almost goes without saying that those who look out for employees and customers will see a better bottom line, but sometimes those efforts are subject to diminishing returns. Is a WELL Certification worth the investment?

Real world results say “yes.” Cundall, an engineering consultancy, reported they had already seen a positive ROI just three months after certification. Even better, that result was based solely on sick leave and attrition and did not take any other factors into account.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) found that all the workplace parameters they were regularly measuring had improved, and a study of their workforce by Cornell University found that employees’ satisfaction with their work environment and overall job satisfaction was higher.

Facilities with WELL Certifications also saw:

  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced “presenteeism,” the term for employees showing up for work but remaining unproductive due to illness or distractions
  • An average 12% reduction in energy use

Also, worth noting: Decades of study documentation show the downside of every WELL Core Concept—Poor air quality, dehydration, poor lighting, noise distractions, etc.—having drastic effects on productivity and employee wellness.

Light is a Core Concept, so What is the Role of Lighting?

Lighting that aligns with the body’s circadian rhythms results in two important benefits.

First, natural light and artificial light that simulates it—such as Cool White fixtures with a color rating between 4000 and 5000K—help workers stay alert and productive throughout the day. A study by the World Green Building Council found that natural daylight increased worker productivity by 18%, while another study found workers on a “blue light” floor had significantly higher alertness levels later in the day than those on a control floor with no lighting changes.

Lighting even increases productivity and wellbeing by improving mental health. Between 5 and 10% of workers experience depression related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but as little as 15 minutes of natural light exposure leads to the release of endorphins, countering the effects of dim winter light.

Second, natural light and simulated daylight throughout the workday result in better sleep, which results in greater physical and mental health across the board, increased productivity, better coping with stress, and higher worker morale and job satisfaction. Blue-white light suppresses the early release of sleep hormones, reducing the “afternoon dip” in productivity and keeping the body in natural circadian rhythm.

Conclusion

Pursuing a WELL Certification will help your employees and your bottom line, resulting in a profound return on investment.  Contact Thayer Energy Solutions today and we can discuss your needs and help you work toward your WELL Certification.

 

Air Cleaning Technology Comparisons

Fortunately, it appears the worst of the Covid crisis is behind us.  Unfortunately, Covid remains a deadly disease that may develop more transmissible variants as time goes on.  Being able to function in the coming months requires being able to ensure everyone who enters our facilities will breathe safe air.

A number of different technologies purify room air, but which ones are best? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Portable vs. Fixed

Fixed systems are always superior to portable systems. Generally, fixed systems are more powerful, but more importantly, they can be placed for optimum airflow. A portable system placed in the wrong spot can be ineffective or even create an airflow pattern that helps pathogens move from one person to another.

Filter Media

Filtration systems remove contaminants by passing air through a medium that traps and holds them.

Advantages

  • Effective and easy to use. The HEPA filter in particular is a gold standard of effectiveness. Widely used in hospitals, they remove 99.99% of all contaminants that are 0.3 microns or larger.

Disadvantages

  • Filters must be changed out on a regular basis.
  • Differing filter technologies have a wide range of effectiveness
  • Pathogens trapped by filters may remain alive and infectious.

Ozone Generators

These systems produce ozone and distribute it in the area to be purified.

Advantages

  • Ozone can be very harmful to pathogens, because it can cause organic materials to oxidize and break down, killing the germ or virus.

Disadvantages

  • Ozone is harmful to people for the same reason!
  • Ozone can also degrade nonliving organic materials, such as plastics, rubber, and cloth.
  • Currently, the EPA has not approved any ozone generator for occupied spaces.
  • Using it safely in a non-occupied space means using seals to ensure that ozone doesn’t penetrate areas where humans work.

Ion Generators

These units push charged ions out into the air, causing particles to become charged. They then cling to surfaces, where they cannot be breathed in

Advantages

  • No filter changes

Disadvantages

  • They may produce ozone, which is unpleasant or even harmful to those with respiratory issues.
  • Infectious pathogens are now on surfaces, requiring wipe downs with disinfectant.

Plasma Air Purifiers

These cleaners use an arc of electrical current to ionize or destroy contaminants.

Advantages

  • These units have the same advantages as ion-based purifiers, but also are very effective at killing pathogens as the arc’s energy destroys their membranes and DNA.

Disadvantages

  • Most units are designed to operate with a filter.
  • They not only may produce ozone, they can sometimes introduce other harmful gasses (such as carbon monoxide) into room air and may create more particulate matter unless they have a filter system.
  • They are too large and expensive for single-room use

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)

These units use UV-C ultraviolet light, irradiating pathogens and damaging their DNA until they can no longer function

Advantages

  • Over 99% of biological hazards are destroyed by UV-C light.
  • No ozone, chemicals, or odors are produced
  • Simple on-off use.

Disadvantages

  • UV-C is very dangerous to humans and can cause cancer and severe vision damage. It must be used in a closed casing.
  • Irradiation kills pathogens but does not trap them or other particulates.

Why We’ve Chosen Air Guardian

As you can see, the best of both worlds in air cleaning is a system that kills pathogens effectively and traps particulate matter, without producing odors or ozone. The compact, ceiling-mounted Air Guardian system fits that description. Simple to use and install, this fixed, maintenance-free system passes room air through advanced carbon glass HEPA filters before sending it through a 19-foot tube lined with UV-C LED’s. This exposes it to virus-killing light throughout its journey. The tube is circuitous by design, keeping the Air Guardian’s size to just 2 feet by 4 feet.

If you think the Air Guardian may be the right solution for your space, get in touch with Thayer today and we can discuss your needs and this opportunity for increased Covid safety.

UV-C is the Ultimate in Pathogen Prevention

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, there’s an increased demand for sanitation methods that can be used in communal spaces from office blocks to schools to grocery stores.  While the best defense against Covid-19 is a multi-layered one – sanitation, masks, hand washing, social distancing, and vaccinations when available – deploying UV-C light technology is an extremely effective anti-virus tactic.

UV-C is Extremely Effective

UV-C is a type of ultraviolet light that is devastating to biohazards from bacteria to mold to viruses, including Covid-19. It damages the DNA in cells to the point they can no longer function properly, leading to cell death.

The result? Over 99% of biological hazards are destroyed by UV-C light, which is why it’s used in pharmaceutical and medical environments.

UV-C Eliminates the Covid-19 Virus Quickly

UV-C is not only thorough but works very fast. For example, a team from Boston University found that exposing a surface to just 5 millijoules per square centimeter of UV-C light for just six seconds reduced the viral count of Covid-19 on the surface by 99%. The researchers also concluded that 22 millijoules for 25 seconds would result in a reduction of 99.9999%.

“Our test results show that above a specific dose of UV-C radiation, viruses were completely inactivated: in a matter of seconds we could no longer detect any virus,” said team member Dr. Anthony Griffiths.

UV-C is Relatively Safe When Compared to Chemical Disinfectants

The sanitation approach most organizations have taken during the pandemic is focused on liquid disinfectants, usually applied with spray equipment and requiring a wipe down afterward. While these methods can be effective and are easy to deploy, they are labor intensive and airborne droplets can cause contamination or interfere with electronics. Disinfectants also linger as a potential contaminant on surfaces and tend to leave unpleasant odors.

UV-C can be precisely directed, leaves behind no contaminants or odors, and many UV-C applications require no workers to operate or monitor equipment, allowing employees to focus on other tasks.

Disadvantages of UV-C

However, UV-C is not 100% safe, and precautions are necessary. The light produced is damaging to human skin and eyes, and any UV-C equipment you use should have proper interlocks and shielding so that employees are never exposed to an active UV-C light. In some applications, workers may need PPE, such as UV-resistant gloves, goggles or face shields.

Safe, Effective UV-C for Air Quality

Though transmission from surfaces is possible, the main vector for Covid-19 is airborne droplets. What if UV-C could be used to clean the virus from room air, and do so with no danger of human exposure to harmful rays?

The new Air Guardian unit passes room air through advanced carbon glass HEPA filters (removing dust and other contaminants) before moving it through a 19-foot tube lined with UV-C LED’s, exposing it constantly to virus-killing light. This tube is circuitous by design, keeping the Air Guardian’s size to just 2 feet by 4 feet.

This continuous cleansing operation while the room is occupied is the optimal approach for reducing spread of the virus, especially when combined with other practices such as masking and social distancing. Independent testing shows the Air Guardian kills Covid-19 in 13 seconds, and it runs quietly and produces no odors.

If you think the Air Guardian may be the right solution for your space, get in touch with Thayer today and we can discuss your needs and this opportunity for increased Covid safety.