New York City Sets an Energy Efficient Course

by | Jan 25, 2017

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New York snow Energy Manage

Energy managers in The Big Apple have their work cut out for themselves.

Green Partners’ George Crawford points to Local Law 88 in New York City as a key decision point for many building owners. Those decisions will result in changes, no or in the future, that energy and facilities managers will be charged with implementing.

The law calls for multifamily properties’ lighting to be upgraded by the first day of 2025. That, as Crawford points out, is a long way off. But windows have a long lifetime and the looming law sets up many questions that may be best answered now.

LL 88, as it often is referred to, is comprehensive. It will require upgrades to lighting in hallways, fire stairs, lobbies, storerooms, boiler and mechanical rooms and other areas that are not actual residential units. The question: Should these ambitious projects be undertaken now, or should building owners wait until the deadline is closer?

Crawford lays out the rationale for both approaches. They include expense reduction (both through lower operating costs and rebates), better building operations and the ability to address existing compliance issues. “Wait and see” advocates save capex dollars now and may get more sophisticated and comparably less expensive LEDs closer to the deadline.

There are good points on both sides, he suggests. What is right for a certain property depends on a number of variables. The key is a deep analysis:

To get hard numbers, you will want to model your retro-fit. Start with your existing lighting configuration, including current annual electric charges, maintenance costs and lamp replacement costs. You will also want to survey the building common areas for lighting related code compliance issues. This is the “before” benchmark that you can use to measure the cost effectiveness and payback of proposed LED retro-fit options. For the “after”, you will need the same information with regard to your proposed retro-fit to make meaningful comparisons.

Forward-looking thinking should become second nature to property owners and energy managers in New York City. The NYC Retrofit Accelerator points eight laws that could impact investments and require input from energy managers going forward. Three were passed in 2009: In addition to LL 88, LL 87 requires a complete energy audit and retro-commissioning of building systems in structures of more than 50,000 square feet every ten years. LL 84, also aimed at buildings of more than 50,000 square feet, relates to benchmarking.

Last year, additional laws related to energy and water benchmarking, lighting and sub-metering were promulgated. The site also mentions a 2011 law on the books related to changes in fuel oil.

The aggressive moves by New York City in general, and requirements of LL 88 in particular, will make one group very happy: Vendors of sub-metering equipment.

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