Meet Tim Gasper of Brady Trane
As a solutions engineer for Brady Trane, Tim Gasper’s job is to track down energy inefficiency in large institutional and commercial buildings. For nearly 3 decades, he’s been delivering energy efficiency projects that save millions of dollars and millions of pounds of carbon from fouling the atmosphere.
The work has not always gotten the attention it deserves, until recently. “I have been wearing the same tie for over 27 years,” he jokes. “Suddenly it’s fashionable.”
Large-scale building retrofits can result in astonishing energy savings. Brady Trane’s retrofit of UNCW, which Gasper spearheaded, has saved that university over $300,000 a year. Similar work at UNCG has resulted in savings of $525,000 a year. The NC Museum of Art, another Brady Trane project, slashed its energy bill by $500,000 per year, a savings of 60%, and recently won a national award from ASHRAE, a leading industry organization.
North Carolina has maintained its AAA credit rating, and as such has been able to finance numerous large-scale efficiency projects at public institutions. But Gasper realizes in the current economy, it is a lot harder for homeowners to find the financing from banks to pay for efficiency upgrades.
He advocates low-cost, high return strategies for improving efficiency, such as installing inexpensive computer-controlled thermostats and comprehensive weatherization. “The amount of energy lost in a home through stack effect alone is astounding” Gasper says. “A warm house creates natural pressures similar to a hot air balloon that pushes the warm air through every ceiling and wall crack, and all that warm air needs to be replaced and so air comes in through the hundreds or cracks that are in the lower levels in the home, especially the crawl space. If these air leaks can be stopped or at least slowed down, you would be rewarded with significantly lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. The return on efficiency investments are among the lowest risk and best returns a business owner or residential owner can make,” Gasper says.
Behavior changes help, too. By switching to a Time-of-Use rate plan, consumers who pay attention to when they use high-energy appliances can save big by paying a lot less per kWh for off-peak electricity. In his own household, Gasper has saved $2,000 over a 3-year period by upgrading to an energy-efficient HVAC system, switching to the Time-of Use plan, and using electricity off-peak as much as possible. “Switching to ‘Small General Service- Time of Use’ electric rates saved me around $700 last year.” A huge payback for taking a few simple steps.
Furthermore, he believes that the new focus on energy efficiency will help families and local communities by creating both energy savings and numerous engineering and vocational job opportunities in the years to come. On his decision to give to become a Clean Energy Durham 2030 Society Founder, Gasper says he was impressed with Judy Kincaid’s vision, energy, and dedication. He hopes his contribution will help the organization expand its model to other communities and eventually beyond North Carolina.
“The Clean Energy Durham strategy of neighborhood involvement and education looks like a winner to me.”
2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
–Profile by Clean Energy Durham Volunteer Thibault Worth
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