Posts Tagged ‘new york’

New York, New York: Commercial Energy Efficiency Poster Child

July 30th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

king kong hugs the empire state buildingNew York is definitely where its at these days, what with those mandatory benchmarking laws swinging into effect and the Empire State Building’s and sustainable upgrades showing folks how it’s done.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) posted a byline in the Huffington Post on the iconic spire (did you know it is officially a Wonder of the World?), outlining the genius of the Empire State Building’s overhaul:

“…the retrofit will deliver improved windows, high-efficiency light bulbs, and among many other things, renovated heating and cooling systems at a cost of $13 million after netting out other savings. By 2013, this plan will have reduced the Empire State Building’s energy usage by 40%. The $4.4 million in annual energy savings will have completely paid for the costs of the retrofit project 3 years after completion.”

is it energy efficient? The story behind the retrofits is told at the Empire State Building sustainability exhibit, where a glowing cube and other interactive elements beckon visitors to look underneath the landmark at the energy saving innovations beneath.

Right now, the Empire State Building consumes the energy equivalent of 40,000 single-family homes.

Rep. Maloney writes about how she convened a hearing to learn more about the Empire State Building’s energy efficiency progress. She emerged learning a few things, one of them being,

“…government has a role to play in shining a spotlight on the economic, environmental and consumer benefits of retrofits, but it is the private and non-profit sectors that will roll up their sleeves, nail down the economics and make these retrofits happen.”

Across the Empire State, buildings are smartening up, with no little thanks to OptimumEnergy. The Sun-Herald.com picked up this press release from OptimumEnergy, maker of software to increase energy efficiency through HVAC, which trumpets the company’s latest New York state deals (including the 1271 Avenue of the Americas building in New York City; a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Troy; and Westfield Group’s Sunrise shopping center in Massapequa). OptimumEnergy estimates its reduction software to save 9.9M kWh annually across the building portfolio.

In honor of that The Building Advisor offers you this break from our regularly scheduled programming.

Empire State of Mind

In other news this week, EarthTechling decided to accentuate the negative in its coverage of the recent report from Pike Research, “Commercial Green Retrofit Interest Low.” Yes, they do point out the $41.1 billion potential savings from retrofits for new construction over the next 10 years. On the downside, nobody cares, apparently.

New York will fix that!

Images courtesy Doobybrain.comInhabitat and YouTube.

Required Energy Benchmarking Spurs Sustainability Strategy

April 29th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

As a followup to Greener, Greater, a Long Way Away?, our blog post from April 16 on New York City’s commercial energy efficiency legislation, The Building Advisor caught up with Rob Ragozine, president of Donnelly Sustainable Energy Services in Queens, New York, which uses BuildingAdvice as part of its

efficiency services for commercial buildings.

The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan may be the most sweeping energy efficiency legislation yet, but the deadline for most buildings to begin required energy benchmarking is still a year away. So, we checked in with Rob to feel the calm before the storm.

“There’s lots of buzz about the plan,” Rob said, but not a lot of benchmarking studies – yet. Owners and managers are “generally aware of plan, but don’t understand the detail.” As a result, Donnelly is currently doing a lot of owner / manager education on the finer points.

One such point is the fact that benchmarking data will become publicly available in September, 2012. Energy efficiency stats will be searchable by building address, as well as being available on tax assessment web sites.

As a result, Rob articulates incisively to his clients, “There needs to be a strategy involved.”

Many owners know their heating, cooling, and lighting systems need updating. With a year’s lead time, Rob points out, why should any building go on the books as having a poor efficiency score? Owners are considering implementing improvements before getting benchmarked, so as not to get stuck with an ugly EnergyStar score available to prospective tenants in a competitive marketplace.

“We’re going through a market transformation right now,” Rob said. “With the market crash in the last couple of years, tenants have become more savvy. They know the effect of utilities on lease rates.” With benchmarking scores soon-to-be available using a simple internet search, buildings with noncompetitive energy efficiency scores will be quickly discarded.

Rob’s most forward thinking clients look at the benchmarking requirement as more than a box checking exercise, but a plan to identify next steps. “Benchmarking is a starting point,” says Rob. BuildingAdvice, which Rob has used to benchmark and increase energy efficiency starting with the Donnelly Headquarters, speaks to these tiers with its tiered reporting structure: Energy Benchmarking, Energy Audit, and Energy Assessment Reports. And without reports, how can you sell energy efficiency, a product people can’t actually see until their utility bills go down after implementing recommendations?

“The biggest hurdle is that a lot of this is conceptual sale right now,” said Rob. Making the mechanics of energy efficiency more concrete was one of Rob’s goals with his energy seminar, “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” addressing what he sees as a laissez-faire attitude to “money people pay for utilities they’ll never get back.”

Donnelly Mechanical is one of the largest HVAC contractors in the New York City service area providing both construction and maintenance/emergency services. Clients range from small independent businesses to large corporations and include commercial tenants, building owners and building managers in the five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties. Donnelly Mechanical services many of New York City’s most prominent corporations such as Reuters, Major League Baseball, Bank of America and Latham & Watkins, among others.