Saving energy does a lot more than just reduce a building’s carbon footprint and toxic emissions—it can save a building some green too.
The steps a co-op or condo building can take to reduce energy consumption and save money range from the very simple to the very complex. Here, various energy experts to offer their top 10 tips for saving energy and money. Remember, the list is just a start—there are many ways in which you can go green, but following some of these ideas is a great place to start.
Check Your Current Systems
Without a doubt, all of the experts agreed that keeping your current systems maintained was the number one way to save both energy and money.
Benchmarking and Energy Audits
With anything in life, it’s hard to know where you’re going when you don’t know where you’ve been and a building is no different. An energy audit will provide an overview of how much energy your building is saving or losing. The experts say that, as a result, you’ll see what changes you may need to make.
A qualified firm should complete the energy audit and a retro-commissioning project. Local Law 84 requires yearly benchmarking of a building’s energy and water usage, and Local Law 87 requires buildings to undertake audits that lead to energy efficiency retrofits, which generally result in major cost and energy savings. Local Law 87 mandates that buildings 50,000 gross square feet or larger undergo periodic energy audit and retro-commissioning measures, as part of the administration’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). Following an ASHRAE Level II energy audit, buildings are required to file an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) with the Department of Buildings. The reports must be filed once every ten years, and the first reports are due in 2013 on a staggered schedule.
According to PlaNYC and the Mayor’s Office Report on Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Manhattan has the highest compliance rate for Local Law 84 at 83 percent and Staten Island the lowest at 39 percent. Compliance in Brooklyn was 69 percent, Queens, 72 percent, and The Bronx, 71 percent. Building owners that missed filing deadlines are subject to repeated fines and violations.
Stay in Control
Imagine if a building system goes awry—if no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Now it does thanks to automated control systems that send notifications to the email or smart phones. These notifications alert owners and managers when there is a problem with a system, or it has been tampered with.
Better Appliances and Accessories
It’s simple—upgrade appliances and other accessories to ones that are more energy efficient and you’ll see a major difference. When you’re choosing new appliances, look for the Energy Star certification and the EnergyGuide Label. The certification means that the appliance has met standards that makes it an energy-efficient unit. They use less energy and water than the older models.
Learn About Incentives
If you want to install Energy Star appliances and other energy-saving accessories, such as low-flow shower heads, it’s possible to earn money back if you know how.
Source: www.cooperator.com; Lisa Iannucci.