Four years ago I wrote this:

Regular readers already know I drive a car that gets 49 MPG. Last month I went all out to lower my gas and electric consumption. To lower the house gas use, I used 2 programmable thermostats to only heat the house during a few key hours in the morning and evening. To lower electric consumption, I replaced all regular 60 watt bulbs with 15 watt fluorescent bulbs.

Today I got my scorecard (the utility bill). Gas usage down 50% from last month. Electric usage down 10.3% from the last month. Once I get the reflector-shaped bulbs replaced with low-wattage bulbs, the electric bill should drop another 10%.

That’s nothing. Turns out I’ve saved A LOT more energy. Last week my former company released this press statement.

Maximum Performance Group (MPG), one of the nation’s leading energy efficiency technology and engineering companies announced today that it has completed the installation of its eMAC (equipment monitor and control) technology on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at all 132 Modell’s Sporting Goods stores. The chain wide installation included a total of 578 eMAC units totaling an energy reduction of approximately 7.4 million kilowatt hours per year, or an estimated 17 percent energy savings, well exceeding MPG’s original energy saving projections by 7 percent.

Total dollars saved from the project is expected to exceed $840,000 a year based on “energy cost avoidance” at an average price of electricity in the region of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, according to calculations by MPG. By using the eMAC technology and hence less produced electricity from local utilities, MPG estimates it removed 4,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions — believed to contribute to global warming — from the air which is equivalent to permanently removing the emissions of 918 passenger cars from the road. The amount of electrical energy saved is enough to power 545 households for a year.

During my 4.5 years at that company I coded the web site and entire database tier that allowed our company the ability to connect to those devices and manage savings. Without direction I built in a message queuing system that allowed a single employee the ability control thousands of energy savings controls.

In addition to a paycheck and professional development, it’s nice when a job actually does important work. The above press release is just one of several customers they have and it isn’t even their largest. With web development it’s rare that your work has any lasting meaning. I’m glad to have been a part of this project.