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.
Gotham 360 is pleased to announce that our client, Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens), has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.
Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code currently includes a 30% ITC for solar PV systems, fuel cells, small wind and some other technologies. The ITC allows those who install clean energy assets to subtract 30% of the project(s) value from federal income taxes owed. This 30% ITC significantly raises the economic value of renewable and clean energy projects -- both those pursued through capital purchase and those financed through leases, power purchase agreements, shared savings agreements, etc.
The Gotham 360 team took a trip to Arlington, VA to attend the JBG Smith 2019 Greenfair and Education Program. Sean Mullen, Sarah Gilly, and Ashley Kossakowski represented Gotham 360 at this tradeshow-style event with over 40 vendors that service JBG Smith. JBG SMITH is an S&P 400 company that owns, operates, invests in and develops assets concentrated in leading urban infill submarkets in and around Washington, DC. Their mixed-use operating portfolio comprises approximately 19 million square feet of high-quality office, multifamily and retail assets.
Gotham 360 was very pleased to participate as a Bronze Level sponsor at the 2018 AASHE conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Our team joined sustainability leaders from across North America to exchange ideas, impacting transformative actions that are within sustainability, higher education and surrounding communities.
The Gotham 360 team attended Greenbuild 2017 in Boston. Each year, Greenbuild brings together experts from all facets of sustainable buildings (and parking lots too!) for several days full of education sessions and an enormous expo hall.
Having several of our core staff at the conference meant that the team could split up and cover the various concurrent education sessions that were relevant to our clients within different industries - who hold different goals and face different roadblocks.