Personal responsibility for saving our planet is a bunch of hooey

Posted on April 17th, 2014 by

We had the pleasure recently of being part of East Islip High School’s Earth Day Celebration (http://www.eischools.org/news/article.aspx?id=17498). 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!

The Future of Motion Sensor Technology

Posted on March 31st, 2014 by

The Future of Motion Sensor Technology

Big News

Posted on December 24th, 2013 by

News Release – USE Power-Flo -Final – 12-23

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

Posted on November 15th, 2013 by


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

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

Posted on October 22nd, 2013 by

 


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

atla-051308-windowjack01

 


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

Here he comes to save some therms!

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by

tom

Save the Date!

Posted on March 23rd, 2012 by

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

Pic of the Day

Posted on February 13th, 2012 by

Report Shows Environmental Benefits of Retrofits

Posted on February 8th, 2012 by

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

An energy consumption map for New York City

Posted on February 6th, 2012 by

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.

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