Remote Controls Saved This Building 15% on Heating Fuel

DEPM recently embarked on a very interesting project to save energy and cut fuel costs at one of our properties, a 38-building complex that straddles the Sunnyside and Woodside neighborhoods in Queens.

The residential rental property has been owner managed for over 50 years, but recently, DEPM was brought in to provide professional management. All facets of the property were evaluated, and one of the first initiatives was to analyze heating costs, operations and procedures. After some analysis, we determined that the complex was a prime candidate for a fully computerized, remotely managed heat control system.

Here’s how it works: Sensors are placed in the buildings to determine the heat levels throughout each property. Then the computerized controls determine if any heat is called for. The machines monitor how each boiler is operating, and send out a signal to an app that DEPM managers, supers and emergency staff all have on their iphones.

On this app, from literally anywhere, DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.

Last winter, even though it was one of the coldest in many years, these new controls and monitors saved this property 15% on gas bills! And because National Grid offers a large rebate on the installation of these controls, there is the opportunity for further discounts, and even greater savings.

For more information on using these types of computerized controls in your property, email us at info@ellimanpm.com.

DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.

DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.

Oil-to-Gas Conversion Update

In 2011, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued regulations phasing out the use of “dirty” fuel oils No. 6 and No. 4. Effective immediately was the provision that all new boilers and burners must use clean fuel: natural gas, No. 2 oil, biodiesel or steam. All buildings must convert by January 1, 2030, or whenever their existing system needs replacement. The last three-year Certificates of Operations for buildings burning No. 6 oil will expire July 1, 2015, somany buildings are up against an impending deadline.

When the NYC Clean Heat plan was initiated, the City estimated that 10,000 buildings would need to convert to cleaner fuel. These buildings—just one percent of the City’s properties—create 86 percent of the building-produced soot pollution, an environmental and health threat that can lead to fatal heart and lung conditions, including asthma.

Already half the buildings have converted to cleaner fuel, leaving just 5,000 left to do so, and this change has resulted in the best air quality in New York city in more than 50 years. But the conversion itself can be both complex and expensive. Many buildings wishing to convert to cleaner and cheaper natural gas, have been unable to do so because they don’t have the required gas lines, and are thus forced to switch to No. 4 oil while waiting for Con Ed to complete the infrastructure work, which they expect to take five more years (see Area Grown Map). As Con Ed runs the pipes,
buildings in the zones pictured may be able to connect at no cost. Gas service requests may be made through Con Ed’s website to determine the time frame and costs involved, if any.

DEPM is working with our client buildings to be sure they meet conversion deadlines. For more information on program requirements, deadlines and assistance, contact your DEPM Account Executive or visit NYCcleanheat.org, coned.com/gasconversions or edf.org/cleanheat. Or call us at 212-370-9200.

Con Ed expects to run gas lines to buildings in the areas of Manhattan shown on the map below by the dates in the color-coded key. Buildings must request gas service from Con Ed using their online request form at ConEd.com/es. If you are in the Bronx or Queens, visit bit.ly/ConEdmap to see your borough’s map.

area_growth_map

Con Ed expects to run gas lines to buildings in the areas shown by the dates in the color-coded key. Buildings must request gas service from Con Ed using their online request form at ConEd.com/es.

 

Save Fuel, Water and Electricity With Boiler and Utility Monitors

In our ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and energy conservation in all our properties, Douglas Elliman Property Management (DEPM) is constantly seeking out the latest tools and technology. Recently, we have implemented two types of systems that are on track to produce significant cost savings for the buildings where we are testing them.

In several buildings, we have installed heating controls on the boilers that allow the super, manager or board members to monitor heat levels any time, from anywhere. Using a computer, a smart phone, or any Internet access, we can log in and view the temperature in the buildings. This information helps us to prevent overheating, and keep temperatures nice and steady. The cost of the new equipment is reduced by 50 percent through a conservation rebate program, resulting in a payback period of less than two years.

According to Steve Stadmeyer, Manager of a building complex in Sunnyside, Queens that has installed these boiler controls, “We hired an independent engineering firm to analyze the projected annual savings, and they have estimated that these controls should reduce fuel costs by 15 percent.”

Carl Reinlib, General Manager of London Terrace, another DEPM-managed property, reports that heating sensor controls were installed there in February. “Preliminary results show that we are already seeing savings over previous years. In addition, the increased ability to monitor the system helped uncover other inefficiencies that needed correction.” This summer, London Terrace will embark upon their mandatory conversion from “dirty” No. 6 oil to a much cleaner fuel combination of gas and No. 2 oil.

This type of proactive energy policy has a huge impact on the City as a whole, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and on the buildings themselves, by reducing energy consumption and significantly reducing energy costs. The end result for residents is improved comfort and better budget controls.

A second level of monitoring has also been implemented in a number of DEPM properties. Using a unique digital application, we can now track water, electric, gas and oil usage in buildings where we have implemented this system. Boards and managers can then view and compare usage from the current year to previous years, as well as comparing the building’s usage to that of other buildings in the City.

This information helps us focus on where there are inefficiencies, and how we can correct them. Thus we can help our buildings reduce consumption and save money, while also improving their ability to forecast their utility budgets. Once we’ve made energy improvements, we can see how much savings have resulted, and make informed decisions about how to proceed in other properties.

If your board would like to view the monitoring sites, please contact us at info@ellimanpm.com or through our Facebook page at Facebook.com/DouglasEllimanPropertyManagement.

In many DEPM-managed buildings, including London Terrace in Manhattan, we're using technology to monitor and conserve fuel, electricity and water use.

In many DEPM-managed buildings, including London Terrace in Manhattan, we’re using technology to monitor and conserve fuel, electricity and water.

Take the Carbon Challenge And Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Launched in 2007, the City’s ambitious PlaNYC program laid out long-range plans for improving the quality of life in New York City. In the years since, huge strides have been made toward achieving many of these goals, from cleaner air to more comprehensive recycling. An important part of this plan is the “NYC Carbon Challenge,” whose goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Residential buildings are the largest single contributor to the City’s GHG emissions, accounting for 37 percent. As leaders in our industry we recognized our responsibility to advocate for positive change in the City, and Douglas Elliman Property Management became an active Participant in the Carbon Challenge.

Since joining the program in January, we have embarked on meeting the Multi-Family Property Challenge goal of reducing emissions by at least 30 percent over ten years in at least 15 of our managed properties. We expect to far exceed that goal, and are already well on our way as more of our clients recognize the impact they can have in creating cleaner, safer air.

Nearly a year ago, DEPM was recognized by the NYC Clean Heat program, another facet of PlaNYC, for converting over 75 percent of our managed properties to cleaner fuel. As one of the few property management firms on the Clean Heat Task Force, we have worked hard to convert our properties from highly polluting No. 6 and No. 4 fuel oil to cleaner sources of heat, such as No. 2 oil, natural gas, biodiesel or steam. Not only are these buildings helping to improve the air quality in their neighborhoods, but in many cases they are saving money as well.

There is plenty that multi-family buildings can do to help make the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge a reality. Start by visiting the website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/challenge/multifamily-buildings.shtml and download the Handbook for Co-ops and Condos at http://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/downloads/pdf/handbook_for_co-ops_and_condos.pdf for tips on the benefits of conservation, and how to make changes in your building that will save both energy and money.

Properties that participate in the program will receive a free mini-energy audit to help them get started. For more information, please call our in-house expert Vice President + Architect Peter Lampen at 212-370-9200 or email peter.lampen@ellimanpm.com.

Help build a cleaner New York City: Take the Carbon Challenge!

Visit nyc.gov and download the handbook to learn what Co-op and Condo owners can do to help reduce carbon emissions and improve the City's air quality.

Visit nyc.gov and download the handbook to learn what Co-op and Condo owners can do to help reduce carbon emissions and improve the City’s air quality.

 

Winter Energy Conservation

When it’s cold outside, it’s nice to have a warm place to come home to. There’s a lot that you can do to help keep your apartment cozy while also keeping heating costs in check for the entire building.

The manager, super and staff will attend to building-wide maintenance issues such as annual cleaning and overhaul of the boiler/burner, servicing radiator steam traps, checking pipe insulation, and draining outdoor water sources.

But there is a lot that individual residents can do to help. Be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use curtains or shades. Leaky windows may warrant plastic covers or foam insulation that fits into the seams.

Most buildings control unit thermostats from one central location. By programming daytime heat to around 68 degrees and nighttime temps to around 62 to 65 degrees, the building can save thousands of dollars in fuel. Rather than ask the doorman if the heat can be turned up, keep a sweater handy if you are at home and feeling less than toasty.

Be sure to report any overheated areas, as they can indicate a problem in the heat distribution system. If your unit has a fireplace, be sure that flues are closed in cold weather and that chimneys are cleaned out annually. Your super should monitor fuel usage throughout the winter, comparing it to the previous year, to be sure there are no drastic changes, which could indicate a problem.

With taxes and common charges constantly on the rise, one of the best ways that residents can control their costs is to be proactive about energy conservation.

To help keep your apartment warm in the winter, and save on fuel, be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use thermal shades.

To help keep your apartment warm in the winter, and save on fuel, be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use thermal shades.

HOT, STICKY DAYS ARE HERE; SAVE ENERGY, SAVE MONEY, STAY COOL

Energy-Saving Tips from Con Ed

Con Edison offers a variety of energy-efficiency programs for savings. The company is offering $25 to residential customers who buy an ENERGY STAR® room air conditioner between May 20 and Aug. 30. ENERGY STAR® air conditioners use at least 10 percent less electricity than other models.

Rebates are limited to two per account holder. Find the application here: http://www.coned.com/energyefficiency/energystar.asp. To learn about other energy efficiency incentives, visit Con Edison’s Green Team at http://www.coned.com/greenteam, or call 1-877-870-6118.

To prepare for the hot summer, Con Edison has also invested $1.2 billion this year to upgrade its electric delivery system and enhance reliability.

Con Edison offers the following money-saving conservation tips:

1.     Turn off air conditioners, lights and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home;

2.     Keep air conditioner filters clean for peak efficiency;

3.     Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees. Each degree lower increases cooling costs by 6 percent;

4.     If you have a room air-conditioning unit, close off the rooms not being used; if you have central air, block the vents in unused or vacant rooms;

5.     To reduce heat and moisture in your apartment or home, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler outside. Use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible;

6.     Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat in your apartment or home;

7.     Try using fans instead of air conditioners, but leave your windows open for ventilation.  Fans use as little as one-tenth the energy as air conditioners.

Customers can report outages, and check service restoration status at http://www.coned.com/sm/ or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available. Customers can also follow @ConEdison or like us on Facebook at Con Edison for general outage updates, safety tips and storm preparation information.

Find out how to get a $25 rebate on a new air conditioner at coned.com/energyefficiency/energystar.asp

Find out how to get a $25 rebate on a new air conditioner at coned.com/energyefficiency/energystar.asp

Local Law 87 Energy Audits and Retro-Commissioning

By Peter Lampen, Vice President and Architect with DEPM

In our June 10th Blog Post, we talked about Local Law 84, one of four Local Laws enacted as part of the City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). Local Law 87 is another one that requires action on the part of property managers and boards. Starting this year we are working with properties to engage firms to perform Energy Audits and Retro-commissioning services as required by LL87.  Buildings will need to comply over the next ten years based on the last digit of the building’s block number, with the first buildings required to file by the end of 2013.  This is also a part of the City’s “PlaNYC Green Buildings & Energy Efficiency” initiative.

We are working with several of the most capable firms in the city to set up proposals for the LL87 services at lowest and best pricing for our managed properties.  The LL87 assessments and reports must be completed by certified agents.

There are two parts to LL87, an energy audit and a retro-commissioning report.  An Energy Audit will compile all utility usage data for the past several years and review all major components of the building including walls, windows, roofs, lighting as well as all energy-using equipment.

The energy audit report will present this data and list possible energy use reduction measures with budget costs and payback periods. The recommendations are not mandatory but are intended to help properties see opportunities for savings and to undertake the planning necessary to implement any selected measures.

The Retro-commissioning process looks at all energy-using equipment such as boilers, chillers, motors, fans, controls, sequences of operation and energy management systems.  The retro-commissioning report lists repairs and adjustments needed to bring the systems back to the level of performance when originally installed.  The repairs, adjustments and other measures listed in the retro-commissioning report are mandatory, and must be verified as completed by the retro-commissioning agent.

The energy audit and retro-commissioning report are combined into a single document for filing with the city.  A building can choose to engage an audit firm up to four years before their required compliance year, and can thereby benefit from the resulting energy savings sooner, as well as extending the time until a re-audit is required to ten years from their original compliance date.

For more information about the City’s plaNYC initiative, visitwww.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030. For more about the City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and the four Local Laws that comprise it, visit nyc.gov/ggbp.

The Retro-commissioning Report analyzes the efficiency of all energy-using equipment in the building, from boilers to chillers and itemizes mandatory  repairs and adjustments needed to bring the systems as close as possible to their original level of performance.

The Retro-commissioning Report analyzes the efficiency of all energy-using equipment in the building, from boilers to chillers and itemizes mandatory repairs and adjustments needed to bring the systems as close as possible to their original level of performance.

 

DEPM Recognized By NYC Clean Heat

As seen on NYCcleanheat.org:

“Since 2011, the NYC Clean Heat program has been working with building owners and property management companies to help them comply with the heating oil regulation and make the best choices for their situation and the air quality of New York City. Since the program began, we have been continually impressed by the commitment of certain property management companies to move their portfolio of No. 6 buildings to the cleanest burning fuels.

The Property Manager Recognition Program seeks to reward property managers that have switched a majority of the buildings in their portfolio to the cleanest available heating fuels by giving them the recognition they deserve. Property managers are ranked by what percentage of their entire portfolio of large multifamily and commercial buildings is currently burning ULS 2, natural gas, biodiesel, or other clean alternatives.

By switching to cleaner heating fuels, these companies have improved air quality in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding their buildings.”

Douglas Elliman Property Management has been recognized for switching over 75% of our properties to the cleanest possible heating fuel available. If your building has not switched yet from “heavy oil” to cleaner No. 2 oil or gas, contact your managing agent to find out how to make it happen. Read more about Oil-to-Gas Conversion on this blog by scrolling down to our March 8th post. For more about DEPM’s recognition, visit this link: http://nyccleanheat.org/content/property-manager-recognition-program and for more information about switching to cleaner fuel, email us at energy@ellimanpm.com or call us at 212-370-9200, or visit http://nyccleanheat.org/content/how-to-convert.

By converting to cleaner, more efficient fuel, your property will not only contribute to a better environment, but could save tens of thousands of dollars a year on fuel oil.

By converting to cleaner, more efficient fuel, your property will not only contribute to a better environment, but could save tens of thousands of dollars a year on fuel oil.

Local Law 84 Requires “Benchmarking”

Local Law 84 is one of four Local Laws enacted as part of the City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP), a “comprehensive, mandatory effort to reduce emissions from existing large buildings,” said Mayor Bloomberg in signing the legislative package in 2009. Studies have shown that approximately 75 percent of the City’s greenhouse emissions come from buildings. The City’s ultimate goal is to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

According to Peter Lampen, Vice President and Architect with Douglas Elliman Property Management (DEPM), “The City hopes that this data will enable building management and owners to better understand the performance of their buildings, and incentivize the undertaking of energy-saving improvements and upgrades.”

For co-ops and condos, the usage data should be collected and reported by their management company. Peter Lampen reports, “We have been through two annual cycles of Benchmarking under Local Law 84, and this May we will be filing to complete the third cycle, submitting each property’s energy and water usage data for 2012.”

This year, for the first time since the Law was enacted, this data will be made public, showing electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water usage. With the ever-increasing cost of fuel and water, it is expected that co-op and condo buyers and investors will begin to use this data to compare properties. The City hopes that buildings with a higher energy use “score,” indicating better energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint, will become more attractive to buyers, encouraging less efficient properties to initiate energy upgrades, which could result in usage reductions of up to 40 percent.

“We will issue a simple report for each building,” explains Lampen, “listing the major data points as well as comparisons to the rest of the DEPM portfolio, and to a larger profile of multi-family residential buildings in the city.” This report will help managers and board members address shortcomings and plan ways to cut energy and water usage.

The Empire State Building is one of many properties in New York City that have greatly improved their energy efficiency through extensive upgrades of their insulation and mechanical systems. The City hopes that Local Laws 84 and 87 will encourage other buildings to do the same.

The Empire State Building is one of many properties in New York City that have greatly improved their energy efficiency through extensive upgrades of their insulation and mechanical systems. The City hopes that Local Laws 84 and 87 will encourage other buildings to do the same.

Oil-to-Gas Conversion Update

NYC’s Clean Heat initiative bans the use of No. 4 and No. 6 heating oil, which are responsible for 85 percent of all the soot pollution from buildings. The 10,000 buildings in NYC currently using these “heavy” oils must convert to a cleaner form of heating fuel by the middle of 2015.
Many buildings are switching from oil-burning boilers to dual fuel or natural gas boilers, a change that will not only help reduce pollution, but will result in significant fuel savings as well. Buildings that use 100,000 gallons of No. 6 oil per year can save over $100,000 each year on their fuel costs by switching to gas, based on 2012 oil and gas prices. The City has been working with Con Ed, the Environmental Defense Fund, and several banks and organizations to help buildings meet the deadlines, and finance these costly conversions. Currently, Con Ed is using “Area Growth Zones” to
offer reduced or no cost gas service to buildings that want to convert to gas heat.
DEPM is working with our client buildings to get applications in by the deadlines in order to get Con Ed on the job as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. For more information on program requirements, deadlines and assistance, contact your manager or visit NYCcleanheat.org, coned.com/gasconversions or edf.org/cleanheat.