2014 Young Energy Professional of the Year

By Megan Morse, Luthin Intern

The Association of Energy Engineers New York Chapter recently named Jessica Vogel, Luthin Associates’ Senior Project Manager, the Young Energy Professional of the Year.

The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) promotes scientific education and interest in the energy profession. In addition to being a leading source for information and networking in the field of energy, AEE is widely recognized for its certification programs. AEE currently has 82 chapters in the United States and 16,000 members in 90 countries. The Young Energy Professional of the Year is awarded to an individual under 35 years old who has made outstanding contributions to the energy profession and the community.

Jessica worked in the energy field for 6 years before she joined Luthin Associates in 2013. Her expertise is in energy efficiency, energy management, and renewable energy. Jessica has been involved in projects that have resulted in over 40 MW of solar installations in several counties throughout New Jersey. Jessica has been very active in the New Jersey AEE chapter, and currently serves as a board member.

Jessica originally became interested in the Young Energy Professional award when she started working with Robert Berninger, General Manager of Plant Operations, Energy, and Engineering for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) as his NYSERDA outreach consultant. Robert is the current president of the board of the New York Chapter of AEE.

Robert saw potential in the just 30-year-old Jessica who has become a trusted consultant, and nominated Jessica for the award.

Robert stated, “Jessica is a very passionate, knowledgeable and driven engineer who wants to make sure that MSKCC implements energy efficiency projects and that we obtain the largest available NYSERDA rebates.”

It was because of this and Jessica’s past experience that Robert nominated her for the Young Energy Professional award.

Jessica hopes her recognition will open new doors in the New York region for her to continue contributing to the energy profession and the community.

Awards will be presented at the upcoming Association of Energy Engineers 2014 Awards Gala Tuesday, June 17. Jess is unable to attend, but her colleagues, family and friends will be there to accept the award on her behalf.


2014 Top Women in Commercial Real Estate

By Megan Morse, Luthin Intern

Monday, May 19th Luthin Associates president and founder Catherine Luthin received the award for Top Women in Commercial Real Estate.

Presented by Sokol Media, this award recognizes successful women who excel in all areas in the field of real estate. In some cases, the works of these professionals are often overlooked.

Catherine was honored for her contributions as president of Luthin Associates, an Anchin 2012 Outstanding MWBE and 2013 Outstanding Advocacy Award Winning Company. Additionally, Luthin Associates has been awarded as one of the Top 100 Diversity Businesses in New Jersey.

With over 30 years of financial and energy management experience, Catherine has become a frequent speaker and contributor to the energy and real estate communities. Furthermore, she has been a mentor to women trying to advance in the energy industry.

Upon receiving the Top Women in Commercial Real Estate Award, Catherine stated, “In an era where women are slowly making headway in areas such as the energy and engineering fields, it is an honor to be recognized for my work in helping to promote that success.”

Along with the New York Real Estate Community, family, friends and colleagues were there to support Catherine at the Sokol Media Awards Gala for her hard work and effective leadership.

Catherine was awarded for her lifetime achievements but is “appreciative and hopeful” that young women will follow in her footsteps in pursuing an energy and sustainability career.

Power Storage In Your Building

Published to LA Confidential, Summer 2013

For decades, R&D firms have been striving to bring down the cost of large scale batteries to be cost-effective for utility scale power storage. Units have already been installed at a handful of US utilities, with systems having 10-20 MW of peak output. All are designed mainly to help grids ride through brief problems, such as failure of a power plant or transmission line, while power is switched to other sources or lines.

Of interest to facility managers, however, is the trickling down of that technology to the end user level. Development of electric vehicles has brought down the cost of lithium-ion batteries, and some competing technologies (e.g., zinc-air) have also been going down in price and up in reliability. Some are being scaled to capacities that could be used in:

  • storing renewable power (e.g., from photovoltaic [PV] panels or wind turbines) for later use, improving PV economics by 40% or more
  • peak shaving to counter brief high loads in buildings or manufacturing facilities
  • demand response programs, including frequency regulation and spinning reserve programs previously done only at utility levels because they require very fast response times in the range of seconds or minutes.
  • emergency backup power during utility outages (the vast majority of which last less than an hour), acting like a system or building-wide Uninterruptable Power System (UPS).

Several hotels in California, an apartment building in New York City, and part of a medical center in Philadelphia are already equipped with battery systems to help them perform such services. Prototypes will also soon appear in a NYC university and at some military installations.


All this has not occurred without casualties, however. In the last year, a flywheel battery firm and a major lithium-ion producer both filed for bankruptcy. The big hurdle is producing a battery that can be recharged many times without losing capacity over its lifetime, all for less than $400 per stored kilowatt-hour (kWh). For example, to be cost effective, a battery able to store and discharge 100 kWh per cycle cannot cost more than about $40,000 (i.e., $400 x 100 kWh = $40,000), doing so for at least several thousand cycles. So far, only a few very large batteries have achieved that goal. Some battery pioneers, such as Eos Energy (www.eosenergystorage.com), believe they can eventually create long-lasting units costing only $160 per stored kWh.


To help make this happen, significant financial incentives are becoming available. In California, utilities recently began offering funding to cover up to 60% of the installed cost of on-site power storage systems. In New York, NYSERDA has been funding prototypes and field testing both utility and customer level power storage systems. It’s presently supporting field testing of a 1,000 kW Eos system able to store up to 6,000 kWh. If successful, such a battery located in NYC could provide sufficient power to save over $250,000 a year in demand charges, yielding about a 4-year payback.


A few power providers, demand response (DR) firms, and energy service companies have recently been dabbling in ways to apply power storage technology for their customers. By this time next year, expect to see several facilities in the New York metro area boasting of their power storage systems.


To achieve real dollar savings, it’s essential to automatically manage battery output and charging. Software to accomplish this is now offered by several firms, such as STEM, Inc, Demand Energy, and Viridity.

Click here for full LA Confidential Summer 2013