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).
Fuel is not a commodity. It’s our lifeline. It powers our lives and threatens them. It enables the next great breakthroughs as it damages our planet. People like Mayor Bloomberg have put laws in place to make us behave in a way that saves us from ourselves (similar to his soda initiative–like it or not). Now, we are throwing money at energy efficiency.
But what if the policy changes tomorrow when a new mayor is in town? What if the cost of solar energy comes down? What happens when the new numbers on the ozone come out?
We hold oil producing countries hostage for their production, while they leverage our inability to control our usage with higher and higher prices.
We have to focus on this. We can’t leave it to just the people who use it. We can’t leave it to just building owners and property managers who have 45 other responsibilities
The only answer is to have energy managed by experts who have skin in the game. Experts who analyze the metrics in the cloud and take action on what they see in real time. Knowing why a problem happened after the fact is nice (like finding the black box on a airplane) but it would have been better if the problem never happened.
Energy runs 24 hours a day. People don’t. If you combine the always connected cloud with people who understand what the data means, we could just fix this thing.
If we don’t, we won’t be talking about energy efficiency. We will be asking ourselves if it’s Tuesday…..because that’s the only day you can fill up your car.
-Brian Klansky, Senior Vice President of Sales
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!
But, it also confused me. Why didn’t they do this sooner? Energy Management Systems are not new. The price of oil is sky high and management obviously would love to reduce costs. So, why do they wisely look for lower priced alternatives (like natural gas), yet ignore the even bigger issues of system inefficiencies, environmental pollution, and wasteful usage?
The answer is that energy efficiency is at odds with what their employees working in the buildings want. We see this all the time in residential apartments too (who hasn’t lived in a city apartment where you saw windows wide open in the dead of winter, throwing fuel, energy and money to the wind?). Though we give lip-service to energy conservation, we place our personal comfort even higher. So how do you fix this problem? The answer is finding and maintaining each building’s perfect balance of Efficiency, Conservation, and Comfort!
However, you can’t just mandate efficiency. Though NYC Local Law 87’s Benchmarking of baseline performance is a good start, you can’t manage what you don’t monitor. If you don’t measure, you can’t see. So that’s the next step. To paraphrase that great philosopher, Yogi Berra, “You can understand a lot about fuel and energy efficiency just by watching it!” (Okay, well Yogi didn’t say that. But it’s true!)
How? Well, that’s the interesting part. Now, in a web-connected world, the answer is the combination of monitoring-software and savvy management control. But Internet monitoring is only part of the answer. US Energy’s application, as an example, sits in the “cloud” and monitors every bit of energy being used in the building — heating, cooling, electric (and water too). It’s working and providing information all the time …. even when the property manager is in a meeting or the super is helping Miss Jones bring the groceries to her apartment. The software looks for problems and even sends out alerts when it sees one. But someone, someone experienced, trained — a savvy professional — needs to act on the alert, weigh and then act on the information, and maintain the balance of optimum efficiency and comfort.
How much fuel did we use by this time last heating season and why does it spike every Thursday? Why is the 4th floor on target and yet the 6th floor’s temperatures are rising? Whoops, the electric bill is out of whack this past month. “OMG” we’ve got to do something about a jump in water use across the portfolio. What do we do? How do we do it? People make these decisions not software and US Energy’s TEEM (Total Energy Efficiency Management) Service gives you your own real-time, full-time Energy Expert to constantly fine tune the perfect balance of each building and an entire portfolio of buildings.
Fuel, electric energy and water is 40% of a buildings operating costs! But when we ask owners or top-management, “Who is watching your buildings?” the usual answer we get is, “The super and the property manager.” But, a property manager’s priority is keeping occupancy high and the super’s role is maintaining systems, handling emergencies and keeping residents satisfied. There’s a crying need for a real-time, full-time Energy Expert to constantly fine tune the perfect balance of each building and an entire portfolio of buildings … to reduce waste, reduce costs, enhance comfort AND improve the environment. We think we have the answer.
Check out our TEEM services to see if I am on the right track. Otherwise, we might as well open those windows wider and get a real good look at our planet drifting away.
-Brian Klansky, Senior Vice President of Sales
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
W H E R E
CUNY Graduate Center
1st floor – Elebash Recital Hall
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
R S V P
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
It’s no secret that a city like New York use a lot of energy, but it might be surprising that Midtown Manhattan alone uses more energy to keep the buzz going than the entire country of Kenya.
Vijay Modi, a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University, and Bianca Howard, a graduate student, are working on a project that aims to put New York city’s energy consumption on the map.
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…
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.
The primary motivation for energy efficiency projects continued to be energy cost savings. Government incentives and enhanced public image were also important, ranking second and third in the survey. Greenhouse gas reduction, which ranked as the second highest motivator in 2010, ranked fourth in 2011.
Access to funding topped the list of barriers to energy efficiency projects for respondents in the U.S./Canada (38%) and Europe (30%).
Nearly 40 percent of respondents achieved at least one green building certification, twice as many as the prior year. An additional 32 percent have incorporated green building elements. The 39 percent of building owners planning to pursue green building certifications for existing buildings slightly the 35 percent with plans to certify new construction.
The research also found that building owners have greater access to energy data, but few are taking advantage of it. More than eighty percent measure and record data at least weekly or monthly, but fewer than 20 percent review and analyze that data at least weekly. Those who have implemented smart grid/smart building technology such as advanced energy metering and management systems are nearly 3 times more likely to review and analyze their data frequently.
Organizations that set a reduction goal, analyze energy data frequently, add internal or external resources, and use external financing were found to implement four times as many improvement measures as those who did none.
And more good news for vendors, seventy-seven percent of U.S./Canada building owners plan to include green building elements in their facility plans in the next 12 months.