president of A1 Energy
Q: Our records say A1 Energy was founded in 2005 and then in 2012 you introduced a recycling division. What else should we know about your company's history?
A: In 2013, GenX Development Inc. was formed as a separate company to develop large generation projects for our clients who have strategic sustainability goals in place. GenX's focus is large solar PV (photovoltaic) and CHP (combined heat and power) projects. The company offers both turnkey and third-party-financed power purchase agreement ownership options.
How big does a company have to be to profit from your services?
All of our companies serve both commercial and industrial clients. Smaller clients can benefit from simple projects such as lighting retrofits, while large industrial clients can optimize their energy spend through efficiency, strategic supply sourcing and on-site renewable energy solutions. We work with several small, single-location facilities up to large Fortune 500 companies with annual energy spends exceeding $1 million.
Your website lists a three-pronged approach to achieving maximum energy efficiency through reduced demand, strategic procurement and alternative energy sources. Which tactic usually makes the biggest difference, and has that changed over the years?
That is a great question. Our approach is to assist clients with minimizing their long-term energy expenditures and control their energy price risk. There is not one tactic that makes the biggest contribution to that effort. All three — reduced consumption, strategic supply procurement and alternative energy solutions — should be considered.
Most clients do not approach energy this way. Typically, someone in procurement is responsible for the supply contracts, someone in facilities is responsible for efficiency improvements and someone in sustainability or the “green team” is assigned the responsibility of investigating alternative energy projects. It is critical to have all sides at the table making decisions. All three of these tactics are interrelated and have a huge impact on one another.
Our goal is always to help clients be as efficient as possible in the facility — pay the least possible for the energy supply they do need and then integrate alternative energy options for long-term sustainability and energy price stability. We also bring to the table assistance with any subsidies — i.e. utility rebates, grants and financing options — that are available.
What is the biggest challenge you're currently facing?
The biggest challenge we face is trying to help clients think differently about their energy needs. For most companies, energy management continues to be addressed with a 1990s approach — the silos between operations and purchasing I alluded to and procurement techniques that ignore the underlying complexity and opportunities deregulated markets represent. As this past winter shows, energy markets are becoming increasingly volatile, and companies need expert consulting assistance to insulate themselves from that volatility and potentially put it to their advantage. We consult with clients every week who are paying extremely high rates for their electric and gas and do not realize it. If we can help them understand and get them in a better contract, these savings alone can help pay for efficiency projects.
Lori Porreca is from Michigan, but the Lancaster area has been her home for more than 35 years. She lives with her husband, Dan, in Landisville, and they enjoy spending time with their family, especially their four grandchildren and one great-niece.
Porreca says the biggest honor for her as a business owner “is to be able to work with and grow the business together with our three sons.”