Tools For Your Super That Could Save You Money

The April edition of The Cooperator listed some tips on common tools and fixes your building staff should be aware of. These tools and tips could save you from unnecessary expenses. How many of these does your building super do/have?

  • Use a moisture reader (to detect leaks before opening a wall)
  • Portable floodlights with chains (illuminate exterior work areas such as new concrete to prevent vandalism)
  • Wire mesh that can be cut to size for drain covers in parking areas (clean weekly to prevent buildup)
  • Sandbags for low-lying areas that are prone to flooding (put them out before a big rainfall)

The entire article with some additional tips can be found here.


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 The NYC subway still has outdated lighting with T12 with magnetic ballasts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?

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Four Green-Code Bills

The Green-Code Bill recently passed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio are geared towards improvimg your health and our environment

The mandates are as follows:

      1) Construction companies to insulate piping which has been exposed during construction.

      2) Some stairwell doors in apartment buildings be equipped with devices to hold them open.

     3) Requires the use of mold-resistant drywall and cement in building areas prone to moisture.

     4) Construction companies use energy efficient lighting on construction sites.


Some questions come to my mind when reading the bills:

Will #1 and #4 increase the construction costs for the building owner?  Should construction companies provide additional information to the client showing the energy savings associated with the new mandates?

How will #2 impact security in a building?  how will this impact buildings that have conditioned hallways and permanently open louvers at the top of stairwells?

#3 should be tied in with greater emphasis on improved ventilation, in particular exhausting of bathrooms.  Even if the materials are mold resistant there needs to be equipment in place to regulate moisture in the building.


400 kilowatt-hour array of CellCube vanadium redox flow batteries at MTA’s new facility

Recently in the news New York has been seen as the next big U.S. market for grid-scale energy storage.   One of the biggest NYC energy storage projects to date is a 400 kilowatt-hour array of CellCube vanadium redox flow batteries  in downtown Manhattan. The CellCube, built by Germany’s Gildemeister and brokered by Canadian partner American Vanadium is the first U.S. installation of its kind.

So you may be asking what are the benefits of such an energy storage project? Well according to the CEO of American Vanadium:

“The prime is how these batteries can help customers make money by flattening their peak load curves,” –Bill Radvak, CEO of American Vanadium.

Another question that comes to mind is how are these batteries different from others used in energy storage?

According to CellCube the redox flow batteries is “one of the few currently cost-effective options for storing energy for multiple hours in a row”.

Is this feasible in commercial buildings where they have to shave peak load at buildings?

How does the utility company perceive energy storage and its ability to help balance the grid at times of stress and congestion?

Lastly, could this technology back up critical facilities such as hospitals during another hurricane like Sandy in 2012?

Read more  GreentechMedia article.

Mayor de Blasio and Sustainability in NYC

A recent Huffington Post article discusses the outlook on Mayor de Blasio’s possible stance on the city’s environmental and sustainability initiatives.  Some of the sustainability achievements (opinion of author) made under the Bloomberg Administration: “To achieve reductions in greenhouse gasses, Bloomberg went to the largest institutions in the city: the universities, hospitals, real estate and finance industries — and got them to sign on to greenhouse gas reduction targets.”  The low hanging fruit may be gone and Mayor de Blasio will have to work hard to determine the “next generation of sustainability initiatives”.

The author concludes– “Community based sustainability initiatives are the obvious next step and one that fits into the new mayor’s values and political style.”

Huff story