Personal responsibility for saving our planet is a bunch of hooey

We had the pleasure recently of being part of East Islip High School’s Earth Day Celebration. While I was imploring the kids to study ways we can fix our country’s buildings energy use (30% of the total, more than any other category including gasoline), I overheard a well-intentioned teacher, inspired by all of the energy saving ideas say “man, this makes me wanna run home and turn off the lights.”

I ran up to her and screamed, “leave the lights on….fix the process” (I was then escorted off the premises). The idea that we individually can possibly make a dent in our energy consumption problem is ludicrous. Now, does it mean we should intentionally leave the lights on? Of course not! But we need to take drastic action to fix this planet. It’s April in NY and it is snowing. Think our planet is screwed up from our consistently increasing carbon emissions?

Just changing the source of energy also only marginally helps. As an example our cost per unit of fuel are actually flat but our bills keep going up because our consumption is going up 25% a year. Now, we are not going to stop using energy sucking things. We have to stamp out the waste! Otherwise, we are fixing the tires when our engine is on fire.

Stay tuned to this column for our thoughts on how we attack this energy enigma. Spoiler alert: The answer is not the flux capacitor!

Bribing building owners to do a good thing but missing the point

I recently spent 8 hours at the NYARM Trade Show in NYC . I saw vendor after vendor come up and tell people how their product would save you money — followed by someone from an agency telling them how they would help pay for it.

I couldn’t stop thinking how wrong the whole approach was. Why would a building owner want to put in more technology for something like energy, where the rules change every 5 minutes? Plus, the government keeps us hopping around with regulation (local law 84, local law 87).

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The Green revolution ain’t happening no matter what law gets passed, Mayor Bloomberg!


“Everybody wants to save money and help the environment — how come it’s not happening?”

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So, I was at MTA’s main bus terminal in Brooklyn today. We are working with them to lower their energy consumption and we were there to discuss the first phase of the project. I sat down, felt a breeze on my neck, looked over to the right and saw that the air conditioning was cranked. I knew at that moment, I made the right career decision to follow my passion, be part of the Energy & Environmental industries, and join US Energy Group to have a shot at making a difference. We were clearly going to be able to help the MTA – big time!

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Save the Date!

Save the Date!

US Energy Group and
Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP)
P R E S E N T

What Property Owners & Managers Need to Know About:
-Clean Heating Oil Law, effective July 2012
(requires conversion from #6 oil to #2 oil or natural gas)

- Local Law 87, effective 2013
(energy audits & retro-commissioning)

- Rebates & Incentives

-Ways to save money on fuel consumption

S P E A K E R S
Jeff Solomon, Abilene, Inc.
Mitchell Ingerman, Aurora Energy Advisors
Michael Scorrano, En-Power Group
David Unger, US Energy Group

W H E N
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
9:00 AM

W H E R E
CUNY Graduate Center
1st floor – Elebash Recital Hall
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY

R S V P
Call 718-285-9216
or
E-mail: ethan@use-group.com

Report Shows Environmental Benefits of Retrofits

Renovating an existing building is almost always more environmentally beneficial than demolishing an existing structure and building a more energy-efficient one, according to a new report by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab, a Seattle-based initiative that seeks to explore the value that older buildings bring to their communities. The report asserts that renovating an existing structure is more environmentally beneficial because it takes between 10 and 80 years for the benefits of a new energy-efficient building to compensate for the carbon emissions incurred during its construction. Click here to read the complete article

President Obama Announces Nearly $4 Billion Investment in Energy Upgrades to Public and Private Buildings

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector. The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This announcement builds on a commitment made by 14 partners at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects. More…

Building Owners Expect Energy Price Spike, Target 12% Energy Reduction

Eighty percent of building owners expect double-digit energy price increases over the next year, which has prompted an average energy reduction target of 12 percent, according to a report published on environmentalleader.com. Lighting and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and controls improvements are the most popular energy efficiency improvements.
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Landlords Under Fire

(Published in The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011)

Click here for PDF version

By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL

The City Council plans on Wednesday to approve legislation that would stiffen penalties for landlords who violate city heat laws, aiming to curtail any economic incentive for building owners to withhold heat and hot water from tenants.

The legislation was sponsored by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, the city’s chief government watchdog; it will be the first he’s introduced since taking office in 2010 to pass the council. Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to sign the bill into law, an aide confirmed Monday.
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