A Guide to Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) Investing, Part II

Chris Williams In the previous post on understanding the geothermal heat pump industry, we addressed (1) what’s driving the growth in the GHP industry, (2) the advantages of GHPs and (3) what market segments are adopting the technology the fastest. In this article we will continue the discussion and address: 4. The bottleneck’s to GHP continued and faster growth 5. Possible Investment targets within GHP 6. The 2 best opportunities for investment in public equities. 4. Bottlenecks: There are two major things holding back the GHP industry. 1. Technical knowledge. IGSHPA, The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, has created a training certification to...

Investing in Efficient Homes: Energy Star, Built Green, and Beyond

This article is part of a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. Sam Rashkin One highlight of the conference was Sam Raskin's (the National Director a.k.a. "Scary Man" of the US EPA Energy Star program.)  I recommend his presentation for graphic infrared images of poorly sealed homes, showing how little the insulation is doing to retain heat or cold if the building envelope is not tight.  It will make you think twice about buying a home that hasn't been checked to be tightly sealed. Rashkin believes that the growing affordability of infrared cameras will allow...

See You Later, Hannon Armstrong

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Sustainable infrastructure financier Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI) is not in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio for the first year since its IPO in 2013. I still love the company and its business model, but I have become concerned about its short term prospects. Dividend Disappointment? In my last update on the 2017 portfolio, I wrote, “Sustainable infrastructure and clean energy financier Hannon Armstrong reported earnings on November 1st. The headline numbers were lower than expected, but for a very good reason. The company has spent the last few months locking in low interest rates by refinancing its...

FLIR: Another Dividend-Paying Energy Efficiency Stock

Tom Konrad CFA FLIR Systems' (FLIR) IR cameras save energy not just by spotting leaks, but by spotting intruders in the dark. When I published my list of dividend paying energy efficiency stocks in January, I missed one, and it is a long-time favorite.  FLIR Systems (FLIR) business is focused around thermography, and I picked FLIR as a stock likely to benefit from the stimulus in March 2009 because FLIR's cameras are used by energy raters.   FLIR did benefit from the stimulus, rising 56% by the end of 2009 from the $21 price when I...

Wise Energy Use Stocks: Efficient Lighting

Opportunity On Friday, October 10, 2008 , I stopped being bearish for the first time since the 1990s.  My long term expectation of a crash that didn't come had been undermining my self confidence.  Even the decline in 2001 and 2002 had not seemed severe enough, given the financial imbalances in the system.  I had begun to worry that I might be genetically bearish, and that my worries had nothing to do with a market that was greatly overvalued. I am relieved to say that I am not a permabear, and that the market as a...

Ten LED Stocks, and a Wildcard

Tom Konrad CFA Clean Edge says the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is opening the way for low-cost LEDs.  These are the stocks to know. Federal regulations are flipping the switch on our love affair with incandescent light bulbs.  Research firm Clean Edge's just-released Clean Energy Trends 2011 says this opens the way for a clean energy trend to watch: With compact-fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs the only legal competition in much of the world, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs need only the arrival of an affordable replacement for the standard 60 watt bulb in order to be met...
Packaged Mechanicals from Factory Zero used by Energie Sprong

The Challenge of Scaling Up Building Energy Retrofits

It’s almost always easier and cheaper to build an energy-efficient building in the first place than retrofitting existing structures. But humanity doesn’t always have that luxury. by Tom Konrad, PhD., CFA The sheer number of older, inefficient buildings means retrofits must be a critical part of decarbonizing the world’s building stock. There’s a pressing need, then, to develop new techniques for performing large numbers of energy-efficiency retrofits quickly and cost-effectively. The average age of a U.S. home is nearly 40 years, while nearly 40 percent of homes in the U.K. were built before World War II. Most building energy retrofits are one-off affairs...

Why the Financial Crisis is like Energy Inefficiency

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. I have a regular column called Greener Money in Smart Energy Living Magazine.  The Spring issue just printed, and I'd like to highlight this column, because it discusses ideas I have not written about elsewhere.  The column begins: As people become more aware of how we use energy, many become amazed and appalled at the sheer waste of it.  Why are homes built without attention to insulation and sealing that would not only make them more comfortable, but also mean they cost less to live in, even with the slightly larger mortgage payments?  Why do...

Lime Energy Strategy Validated by Award from Central Hudson

Tom Konrad CFA Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) has been a star in the very competitive energy services space recently because of its ability to maintain margins in what has been a very competitive environment.  While competing small efficiency companies have been closing up shop in the Northeast, Lime has been growing revenues at 30% a year, while maintaining a gross margin of around 20%. Recently, Lime sold off due to an earnings miss arising from a big write-off and less than expected revenues in the company’s Commercial and Industrial (C&I) division.  This was the buying opportunity I was waiting for...

Ameresco, New Flyer, PFB: Q1 Efficiency Earnings Highlights

Tom Konrad CFA Performance contractor Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) reported earnings on May 9th. Revenues were below analyst expectations, but Chairman, CEO, and President George Sakellaris put this down to timing issues, and stuck by his full year guidance. Strong growth in the firm’s backlog and awarded project’s seem to back up this relatively optimistic view.  From the earnings call transcript e are very confident about the improving market conditions in few of our regions, as well as continued growth in our all other offerings. These are expected to be the growth drivers for the near-term. We are also...

Power Efficiency Corporation Announces Successful Tests at Boyd Gaming Corporation’s Sam’s Town Las Vegas

Power Efficiency Corporation (PEFF) announced that it completed successful tests on two escalators at the Sam's Town Las Vegas, one of the flagship properties of Boyd Gaming Corporation. These test show a 36% decrease in energy consumption for the electric motors. The results of these tests reinforce the drastic power cost reductions possible with Power Efficiency's products in commercial and industrial facilities. Equipment powered by electric motors that operate at constant speed, but have a variable load, are excellent candidates for energy savings with the Company's technology. This includes not only escalators and elevators, but also many types...

The Sustainable Infrastructure Income Trust

Tom Konrad CFA Jeffrey Eckel Jeffrey Eckel has an investor relations problem. No, there has not been any scandal involving fudging the books or sweatshop labor.  Rather, most investors simply don’t seem to “get” his company. His company recently went public as a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust, and the traditional REIT investor likes the familiar.  They invest for income, and for many, a track record of past income and dividends is a must.  While Eckel’s company manages $1.8 billion of securitized energy efficient and sustainable infrastructure...

Lighting Science Group Purchase

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) has been on my watchlist for several months. They design and market energy efficient lighting solutions with long lasting LED bulbs that can be quickly deployed in existing lighting applications and produce immediate cost savings and environmental benefits. Some key events that have attracted me to this company: They recently moved to the OTC BB off the pink sheets.They recently received a private placement of almost $7 millionAfter a several year absence they are finally a fully reporting companyThey are currently far from being profitable, but the trend on the balance sheet is...

EERE Launches its Financial Opportunities Web Site

The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has launched a new Web site that lists opportunities for financial assistance. In fiscal year 2004 alone, EERE awarded approximately $506 million in financial assistance. So if your thinking of getting into the Alternative Energy business, or have an idea that only needs some financial backing, you may want to take a look at the EERE Financial Opportunities Web site and here is a listing of the current related solicitations.

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

Zumtobel Turns LED into Dividends

by Debra Fiakas CFA Based on Austria, Zumtobel Group (ZMTBF:  OTC or ZAG:  Vienna) is a supplier of modern lighting products using Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.  Zumtobel sells its lights and components under three international brands Thorn, Tridonic and Zumtobel and two regional brands ACDC and Reiss.  Zumtobel has a long history in lighting with its foundation in the 1950s in Dr. Zumtobel’s Electrogerate und Kunstharzpresswerk.  The Thorn brand, which was acquired in 2000, dates back to the 1920s when founder Jules Thorn set up the Electric Lamp Service Company.  Zumtobel sells lights in over...
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