Local Law 33 Overview
Get ready to start seeing some new letters posted in building lobbies. Local Law 33 (amended by Local Law 95) requires that eligible buildings larger than 25,000 square feet post Building Energy Efficiency Rating labels by October 31st.
The Drive to Sustainably Meet New York City’s Power Demand
Peaker plants are power plants which produce electricity at peak times, when the demand for power is greatest. Such times include the summer, as heat waves hit and air conditioner use increases. The need for power during these times is especially acute in large cities such as NYC.
There are 16 peaker power plants currently operating in NYC, each running for approximately 90-500 hours annually. Peakers have shown to be a necessary part of NYC infrastructure, meeting the increasing demand for power and preventing widespread blackouts in the city.
Key Takeaways From 2019 Benchmarking Season
Compliance with the NYC Benchmarking Law, Local Law 84, requires building owners to annually measure and report their energy and water consumption. The benchmarking process is standardized through the utilization of the EPA’s online benchmarking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager, to enter and submit energy and water usage data to the City. Usually, the deadline for benchmarking data submission is May 1st. Due to COVID-19, the deadline for 2019 data submission was extended to August 1st.
Do you live in a natural gas constrained area? Now may be a great time for a free Clean Heating and Cooling screening! NYSERDA’s Clean Heating and Cooling screening provides the information needed for building managers to evaluate the feasibility of Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP), Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technologies. NYSERDA is here to assist you in finding ways to reduce energy usage and costs in this tumultuous time.
Our recent blogs have mentioned a bit about Environmental Justice, the movement in response to the fact that environmental issues and climate change disproportionately impact low-income and BIPOC communities. This begs the question - is all environmentalism inherently just? It should be, but it is not. Though well-meaning in their ultimate goal, environmental and earth sciences (and STEM fields in general) are highly lacking in diversity.
Diversity in Energy Spotlight
WE ACT for Environmental Justice was founded in 1988 in response to environmental racism in Harlem. The three founders of WE ACT were fundamental in the beginnings of the environmental justice movement, which officially began in 1991. WE ACT works hard to represent BIPOC voices in an environmentalist movement that is overwhelmingly white. For more information on the environmental justice movement, read our primer here.
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The environmental justice movement works to address the inequities in US environmental policy which disproportionately expose Black people to environmental hazards including close proximity to waste facilities, poor quality water infrastructure, and air pollution. Last week, we provided a primer on the environmental justice movement which discusses the movement’s origin, history, and urgent relevance today. We will continue to call attention to the environmental justice movement by highlighting organizations doing this important work. Today, we focus on the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
By Eve Marenghi
Fitwel is a building certification program developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA) that sets standards for design features and operational strategies that support the health of building occupants. Fitwel offers more than 50 evidence-based design and operational strategies generated by expert analysis of over 3,000 academic research studies and tested across a portfolio of buildings. The Center for Active Design was selected by the federal government as Fitwel’s operator in 2016. Since then, Fitwel has become the world’s leading health certification system, with more than 1,000 registered projects in over 40 countries, impacting 830,000 people worldwide.
While there is a significant amount of uncertainty all around us in today’s world, one thing we know for certain is that organizations and institutions are going to feel the economic pain from this pandemic through 2021 even if a vaccine were to be developed towards the end of 2020. Healthcare organizations will see revenue shortfalls due to the pause on elective surgical procedures, which can account for between 40 - 60 percent of a hospital’s revenue. Higher education will likely see a decline in admissions or applications as many families struggle during this economic downturn. Commercial Real Estate is dealing with empty office buildings and the uncertainty that surrounds our return to work.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of environmental justice, there is no better time than the present to familiarize yourself. The events of 2020 have brought to national attention the systemic racism and subsequent injustices Black people in our country face on a daily basis. The outbreak of coronavirus has disproportionately affected the Black community and is evidence of other systematic inequalities Black people face every day, including access to health care and equitable treatment by healthcare workers. Black people continue to face police brutality (not only now, but for centuries in this country), as evidenced by the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) was founded by Clarke A. Watson, a prominent black community activist and mentor, in the summer of 1977. Watson saw a need for change in U.S. national energy policy and a need for black people and other minorities to have a voice in energy policymaking. In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter established a special task force to study the energy problem and develop recommendations. There were no persons of color representing the interests of black people and other minorities on the task force.
This morning I gathered my team to kick off the week and discuss our collective goals, as we always do on Mondays. Today, our regularly scheduled virtual meeting was instead a discussion about the only thing on all of our minds right now: racial injustice.
The university in the Bronx is evaluating geothermal sources to heat and cool buildings on their Rose Hill Campus
Fordham University is evaluating a geothermal pilot project to heat and cool three buildings at its Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, NY. The University reached out to EME Consulting Engineering Group whose services focus on engineered solutions to provide energy efficiency. The Project The University is looking to implement alternative and renewable heating and cooling strategies on campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as shift heating production from fuel to electricity and begin phasing out cooling towers on campus. EME proposed installing a new vertical bore field and ground loop heat exchangers. The bore field system would provide condenser water to new equipment, including a new 700-ton central ground coupled heat pump plant to generate chilled water and low-temperature heating hot water, and a 100-ton new variable refrigerant flow (VRF) cooling system. Additionally, the existing building HVAC systems would be modified to support the new central heat pump plant configuration.
Access free screenings, reduce your energy bills, and increase comfort levels in your building with Flexible Technical Assistance Clean Heating & Cooling (CHC) Screenings
The Clean Energy Action Plan provides relief for businesses and residents affected by a natural gas constraint. As part of this plan, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is offering Clean Heating and Cooling Screenings for customers affected by natural gas constraints. Eligible customers can access free screenings to assess the potential and benefits of installing clean, efficient alternatives to natural gas for heating and cooling their buildings.
Benefits of Clean Heating and Cooling
Ground and air source heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are smart, efficient, healthy options for buildings of all types and sizes.
- WARMER. Spread warmth more efficiently than conventional oil, propane, or electric resistance heating systems.
- COOLER. Cool more efficiently during high summer temperatures.
- COMFORT. Provide quiet, even heating and cooling throughout your building.
- EASIER. Clean heating and cooling systems last longer than conventional HVAC systems and require minimal maintenance.
- CLEANER, HEALTHIER, AND SAFER. No combustion of fossil fuels, fuel storage, or carbon monoxide emissions.
Your building must be located in an area affected by natural gas constraints, and you must currently pay the System Benefits Charge (noted on your electric bill).
You will receive a screening report detailing the estimated impact of installing clean heating and cooling systems in your building, including:
- Energy consumption and costs
- Capital costs
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Financial metrics (investment payback, net present value)