A Co-op Board’s Realistic Decision-Making Pays Off | Co-op & Condo Boards | Habitat Magazine

A Co-op Board’s Realistic Decision-Making Pays Off | Co-op & Condo Boards | Habitat Magazine.

A recent article in Habitat magazine shows how the board of a 1,025 unit co-op in downtown Brooklyn leveraged grants and incentives and expert advice to make energy efficient upgrades to the building. The projected savings for the first year were $150,000 but the actual savings were $230,000. WOW!

How much would your building save? RO can help you start the process. Our experts will be able to  provide advice on which upgrades to make and which incentives are available to maximize your buildings savings potential.

Where the greenest buildings are……

In an effort to promote green buildings, New Building Institute (NBI) recently released their “Getting to Zero Database” which provides information on the greenest buildings – including those with net-zero energy – in the US, Canada and elsewhere.
The database includes a wealth of information on energy performance, building design, environmental conditions,
and more for each building.

Currently listed are just over 250 buildings. New York has 8 buildings listed.

If you want to learn more about the greenest buildings, take a look.


In an article by urban green council,

“The building sector is the source of 75 percent of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. 90 by 50’s modeling of eight typical building types shows that heating and cooling loads can be reduced through retrofit measures to a point where all thermal loads can be met by heat pumps, eliminating building fuel use. The resulting electric energy used in 2050, supplied by carbon-free sources, will be slightly more than today’s, while peak demand will increase significantly. “

How will we meet this goal when there are a number of behavioral, institutional and infrustructural issues?

Let’s name a few…..

  1. The NYC subway still has outdated lighting with T12 with magnetic ballasts
  2. A large # of residential buildings the tenants leave their window a/c units installed year round which results in heat loss
  3. Alternate side parking- numerous places throughout the city people sit and idle their cars while they wait for the street cleaner to pass
  4. Will NYC buses and Ferries run on alternative fuel? Who will pay for that?
  5. How long has it taken for the 2nd ave line and the #7 extension to be completed and yet still not done
  6. The city is strewn with tall Orange cones signifying high pressure steam leaks, down near bowling green there has been a cone sitting there forever (see my post from 5 months ago)
  7. A number of dept stores air condition the sidewalk and are not penalized
  8. Why don’t we harness the waste heat from the subway system, granted it is low quality heat but could be used to preheat DHW etc
  9. The financial system needs to be upgraded and standards for green capital needs assessments emphasized by HPD.
  10. At the end of a steam boiler’s life there should be greater incentive for retrofit to a hydronic heating system
  11. What is the carbon footprint of Times Square?
  12. Have you been downtown lately and seen the gridlock at the Holland Tunnel?

Energy Savings A Bounty!

A new energy-savings standard was established for refrigerators and freezers. The result is a 20 to 25 percent reduction in energy use associated with refrigerators and freezers. What does this mean for consumers? An estimated $215 and $270 on their annual utility bills compared to a refrigerator that just met the first state standards in 1978. The energy-saving targets were effective for manufacturers on Sept. 15, 2014.

How does DOE know what the maximum levels in the standard should be?  All levels should be cost effective at the time.

Do these standards inhibit manufacturers and stagnate technology growth?  Standards are technology neutral so manufacturers are free to innovate and find new ways to achieve higher levels of efficiency and at lower costs.

Read More

Robot neighbors wrap up TVA home energy efficiency study

An interesting 5 year study that compares the performance of three homes nearly identical that are inhabited by robotics that simulate actual human behavior.

The three  homes have identical floor plans, square footage, and have their broad sides facing the sun. The difference was the materials in the building envelop, the HVAC and the lighting.


What was the cost difference in construction of the three buildings?

According to David Dinse, senior program manager for technology innovation at TVA, “It cost around $30,000 more to build the high performance energy home compared to the normal build, but today it would be more like $20,000 because the cost of a lot of materials has gone down since we built these. What they started experimenting here five years ago is becoming the new standard for building.”

What was the difference in utility bills for the 5 year period?

“The build-house had a utility bill of $1,600 a year. The retrofit was $1,000. And this [high performance] was a shade over $400. Most of that difference is the solar buyback plan,” said Dinse. “It actually surprised me that the kilowatt hour basis, there was not that much difference between this house and the retrofitted house if you strip the solar off. But I think you have to cherry-pick the best things from both houses and pick the sweet spots that don’t add a whole lot of cost to come out with the optimum design.”

If the high performance building costs $20,000 more and  the savings between the build house and the high performance is $400 …That would be a 17 year payback and that is only because of the solar buyback program.  If it was based on energy savings not cost then the payback would be around 33 years.

Not such great results.

Read More.



Heating Season is around the Corner




Are you ready for the heating season? Have you checked your heating and dhw equipment: air vent, circulating pump and heat exchanger, etc? An annual clean and tune is essential for longevity of your equipment. B e sure to fix the band aids that helped you get through last heating season.