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.

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.