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.
(Published in The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011)
Click here for PDF version
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.
“For too long, bad landlords have profited by withholding heat from tenants every winter,” said Mr. de Blasio, a potential 2013 mayoral candidate. “Passing the Heat Act will toughen penalties on those repeat offenders and make them think twice before leaving tenants in the cold.”
Between Oct. 1 and Sunday, the city received 172,062 heat complaints and issued 9,042 violations, according to records from the Department of Housing Preservation & Development. That’s up from the same period the year before, when the city received 169,144 complaints and issued 8,642 violations.
Eric Bederman, a department spokesman, said the agency supports “any legislation” that aims to “increase our enforcement options” against landlords who deny tenants heat and hot water during the cold months.
Currently, the law allows for a maximum fine of $500 per unit, per day for a first violation and a maximum fine of $1,000 per unit, per day for subsequent violations within the same calendar year.
The new legislation aims to extend the period during which subsequent violations are subject to the higher fine to two years, rather than one year stipulated in current law.
Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, a Brooklyn Democrat who is chairman of the council’s Housing & Buildings Committee, said “bad owners” need to know that heat and hot water are necessities.
The bill targets roughly 950 buildings that are considered repeat offenders, he said.
“If you’re a good [landlord], you have nothing to worry about—the bill won’t affect you at all,” he said. “But if you’re looking to not live up to your responsibilities, the cost will go up.”
A resident of Queens, Gloria Nieves, 52 years old, said she was using her stove and an electric heater on Monday to warm her Ridgewood apartment because there was no heat in the building.
“We all have to pay the price because he wants to save money,” she said of her landlord. “I will give my life to not have a landlord like this. I want to get out of here.”
Nilsa Glaize, office manager for the landlord, said the landlord didn’t receive any heat complaints from any tenants at Ms. Nieves’s building on Monday.
“Boilers break down sometimes. We do attend to them,” Ms. Glaize said. “We try to do our best. Not everybody will be satisfied.”
Ms. Glaize pointed out that it was in the 50s Monday. Some tenants, she said, “want it to be like summer.”
Follow us on Twitter: USEnergyGroup