My name is Frank (Michael) Reichart. I currently live in Cambridge Springs PA, it is a small town about an hour South of Lake Erie and PSU Behrend.
When I look back to think about what made me want to obtain a degree in the sustainability field, it is actually really unclear. At first I always felt that I had to do something business related, and never even gave anything else a fighting chance. Nearly everybody in my family has or has had a business of their own, so I just always thought that I would, as well. But it was in 2009 that I took my first class about the planet at PSU Behrend,and I have to admit that I just soaked it up like a sponge. Even after leaving Behrend for two years I continued to do research and learn what I could about energy and the Earth. So now I am back at PSU and studying in a field that I am passionate about and am very excited.
What will be the effect of greater decentralization of power generation?
The greater effect of decentralization of power generation will be a balanced control between the suppliers and consumers. Balanced control is huge, because typically it is the power generation companies how have all the “power.” Rather than being stuck with the local power generation company, consumer will have a choice. A choice is huge for consumers. For example the only way in which I can get cable TV is through my local provider, and they are TERRIBLE. They are so bad that I looked for SUBSTITIONS, and I do not have an equivalent one. So my down-grade substitutions are Netflix and Amazon.
A few years ago, that was the same trouble some people may have had with electrical companies. Now consumers are able to compare power generation companies based upon quality, price, any type of green energy factor they like. Hopefully prices drop due to competition, or power generation companies compete for consumers in positive ways.
What new businesses will evolve in this changing landscape?
As we enter a “changing landscape” I feel that we will see consultation firms evolve and give sustainable advice to businesses or even homeowners. I talked to a great friend/ mentor of mine who is an architect. He told me about how, he had questions regarding a project nearly a year ago, but he was not sure who to go to.
Sustrana is sustainable near Philadelphia, and they have a goal which really convinces me that sustainable consultation firms will evolve.
To enable 1,000 organizations to build strategic sustainability programs by 2020. -That is huge!
What business can you see yourself creating to serve this market?
If I were to start my own business, it would be in small scale consulting. People need help and I will be there to give them advice. I would take on residential and business projects, hopefully working on new buildings, but also open to updates existing structures. However I have an open mind and am willing to take on new ideas.
First a potential funder of a project should know the purpose of your business. What is your method of sustainability, will you be building / and or installing PV grids, are you in the car market, SREC’s, alternative fuels? There are so many opportunities out there; therefore your mission should be clear to the potential financier. He/ she would not want you be distracted.
Second, what is your company’s background? Have you taken on a large similar project before and been successful. If not…why not? This is a good time to use a SWOT analysis. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? What are the projects?
Next, real money and business can be discussed:
If you had any years or quarters of loss….be prepared to explain.
Be sure to explain
• The rate of return of the project • Present, annual, and future worth of the project
• Before tax vs after tax cash flow of the project
• Net Present Value vs Projected Value of the project
Finally close the meeting by expressing the significance of the project to your market (and if possible the investor!) Make sure that they know that there is a demand for your project.
Ask if there are any questions, explain, and be sure thank everyone.
1. What types of policies on the part of government could promote energy efficiency?
The government has a prime role to promote a policy which would drive the economy towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Businesses which are functioning within their proper niche would have no reason to promote or create energy efficient products unless a large changed needed to be made. It is only through a combination of major policy changes, and consumer demand that businesses will make a transition towards more efficient products.
Residential buildings REQUIRE certain amounts of insulation throughout the home (policy change) AND homeowners like to be warm and save money on heating during the winter (demand). Therefore businesses such as CertainTeed are doing well selling insulation.
To the contrary, limited to my locality, there has not been a demand of strictly electric cars. Although there are tax breaks (policy change), finding a charging station would be a major inconvenience as the closest one is about 40 miles away (lack of demand).
Finally one of the coolest things that the government is doing is promoting low energy and sustainable building policies. Look at the Department of Energy’s Race to Zero. The program itself was designed to:
Inspire and develop the next generation of building science professionals.
Advance and enhance building science curriculum in universities.
Complement the experiential learning benefits provided by the DOE Solar Decathlon through an additional collegiate competition opportunity.
2. How would you develop a business that has the potential to move this idea forward?
I feel that consulting firms will have a giant market in the future. Energy prices will continue to rise and homeowners/ businesses will continue to use more energy in spite of having energy efficient items (see chart below). We are reaching a point that there will be a major demand seeking the knowledge of energy efficiency on both a small and large scale. Through a combination of energy auditing, life-cycle cost analyses, and up to date knowledge of sustainable tax incentives a consulting firm could do quite well.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory & Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “BUILDERS CHALLENGE GUIDE TO 40% Whole-House Energy Savings in the Cold and Very Cold Climates.” BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES PROGRAM (n.d.): n. pag. Feb. 2011. Web.
Nuclear energy receives are larger amount of support than renewable projects due to the scale of the project. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington, produces 7,079 net megawatts. Compare that to … Continue reading →
Hello everyone! My name is Frank Reichart, although I do go my Michael. I cannot believe it, but I am actually a Junior majoring is ESP. I live and grew up in Cambridge Springs Pennsylvania. Cambridge Springs is a small town, about an hour South of Lake Erie and PSU Behrend. I actually attended Behrend for 3 semesters, and it was (still is) a fantastic campus. As far as a career that I am thinking of pursuing, I typically do not even know how to respond. I have grown up doing residential improvements, so a part of me wants help homeowners be sure that they have proper insulation, efficient lighting and up to date appliances. Then I actually see a wind turbine, and I feel that I should be involved with renewable energy. So I honestly do not know exactly what specific field I might join, and I am open to suggestions. The biggest thing I am thinking about and leaning towards is spending time with the Peace Corps upon graduation. I could learn so much, and right now I have nothing holding me back. My main interest in this course is Energy Auditing on a Residential and Commercial Scale. There are many homeowners who ask for my opinion of efficiency energy used in their homes, so it will nice to have proper training.
I personally have not legally started a business, but it is trend that runs in my family. Therefore I have learned that anyone who has started a business deserves massive credit. I have helped to start, resolve daily issues, and even close companies that my family owns, so I am very excited so learn more about entrepreneurship. I feel that the entertainment business will have a huge impact on renewable energy. Television and movies which show people using renewable energy successfully will make people more aware of the industry we have. Of course this might not be the case for the writers of this blog, but I feel that if Family Guy or (name a popular film) were to have some solid episodes focusing on renewable energy, that there might at least be a spike of potential sales. I am sure everyone will have a different answer to the last question though, and I am looking forward to reading them.