As the popular saying goes, ‘Without data you're just another person with an opinion.’ This adage certainly holds true when managing commercial properties, manufacturing plants, central energy plants or refineries. According to Rocky Mountain Institute, “Most U.S. buildings’ expenses break down into a similar distribution —largely fixed costs, followed by utility bills, repairs and maintenance expenses (R/M). On average, building owners spend 22% of their operating costs on energy and water.” Since industrial facilities typically require extremely energy-intensive equipment and operations, utility expenses can be significantly more.
Without data you're just another person with an opinion
ENERGY STAR estimates that while $400 billion is spent on energy costs for U.S. commercial buildings and industrial facilities annually, thirty percent of this energy is wasted. With 45 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to commercial buildings and industrial facilities, it’s strikingly clear that commercial and industrial facilities need to do a lot more to reduce utility consumption. However, in order to be able to reduce consumption, you first need to know exactly how much you’re using. With accurate data on utility usage, you’re not ‘just another person with an opinion.’ Being able to accurately calculate and track utility consumption on a granular level allows facility owners and managers to uncover efficiency opportunities and make informed decisions based on factual data.
You can't manage what you don't measure
Without accurate data, your plant may not be running optimally – potentially impacting profitability, performance and sustainability. Since the average plant has hundreds of gauges and other complicated instrumentation, the odds are high that a number of devices are not producing accurate readings or not working at all. This becomes further complicated when managing multiple sites comprised of differing infrastructure, equipment and varying fuel sources. Furthermore, plant conditions change over time due to a wide range of reasons, including ownership, management or staffing changes, regulatory issues, fuel variability, installation of new equipment or meter upgrades, etc. Even if an existing metering or monitoring system is in place, these changing conditions over time can significantly impair the accuracy of the efficiency and performance data collected.
Uncovering efficiency and cost saving opportunities
An instrumentation audit includes a focused and in-depth assessment of metering architecture, sensors, and gauges and identifies corrective actions to ensure optimum performance. Once data quality assurance is achieved, ongoing efficiency monitoring via advanced metering and a centralized web-based software system is imperative to efficiently managing a large-scale portfolio – whether these facilities are commercial buildings or industrial plants.
Building and plant operators are better able to react and adjust equipment, controls and/or meter performance based on high-quality, real-time data. Understanding plant performance not only allows management to make adjustments that increase efficiency and profitability, but also typically results in reduced consumption of raw fuel – yielding significant additional savings and GHG emissions reductions. Initiating a nation-wide instrumentation audit has proved to be extremely beneficial to Veolia North America – operator of the largest portfolio of district energy systems in North America.
Launching the Veolia Efficiency Optimization System
With a district energy fleet incorporating central plants of differing types and vintages with varying fuel sources and energy outputs, Veolia operates and maintains a diverse portfolio of district energy systems in 12 major cities across the United States. In 2014, Veolia required granular efficiency data across its portfolio and a centralized database to monitor and optimize its district energy plants nationwide. With in-house expertise in energy efficiency and energy plant operations and management (O&M), Veolia chose to leverage its own district energy and software experts to design and implement the Veolia Efficiency Optimization System (VEOS) – a data acquisition system which provides real-time equipment and plant efficiency data.
Due to its multi-faceted energy and software development expertise, Veolia is unique in the sense that they are able to design their own software application. However, for most corporations this would typically require either investment in an outsourced Software as a Service (SaaS) user interface or contracting a consultant to develop a custom data management solution. With the development VEOS underway, Veolia turned to its energy consulting business, SourceOne, to facilitate the comprehensive data collection and instrumentation audit comprising twenty-five district energy plants across the U.S.
National instrumentation audit yields efficiency opportunities
As part of the development of Veolia’s integrated plant efficiency monitoring system, VEOS, Sourceone is currently evaluating existing metering and instrumentation at each of Veolia’s district heating, chilled water, and cogeneration facilities. These detailed evaluations and reports determine the availability and accuracy of data necessary to calculate actual and target efficiencies on both the plant and equipment level and provide recommendations for optimizing current instrumentation and metering architecture.
Since plant equipment varies in size, age and condition across Veolia’s district energy portfolio, the VEOS investigations require comprehensive field audits to verify facility records, document current configurations, identify required metering enhancements and validate metered energy reporting techniques for wide variety of utilities, including electric, chilled water, hot water, natural gas, oil, super-heated steam and saturated steam. Energy flow streams are measured using a variety of both cutting-edge and tried-and-true instrument technologies. Interviews conducted with on-staff operations and maintenance personnel are also required to comprehensively document current procedures and institutional knowledge.
Each audit results in an in-depth report highlighting current plant configurations, instrumentation, conditions and opportunities for efficiency improvements. Although this nationwide audit is still currently underway, SourceOne has completed evaluations for half of the designated plants – uncovering several opportunities for improvements.
Understanding where you are is the first step to planning where you need to go
With accurate performance data, industrial and commercial building owners are better equipped to make educated decisions regarding budgeting, hiring, procurement, investments and efficiency improvements that will yield savings, reduce GHG emissions and improve profitability. By validating and streamlining utility data via an instrumentation audit, smart-metering technology and a centralized web-based data management system, Veolia is gaining a crystal clear understanding of plant performance nationwide. Based on this data, Veolia is making informed decisions to further reduce fuel and electricity usage, lower its carbon footprint and launch efficiency projects at its district energy facilities throughout the U.S.
As a testament to the importance of metering, data management systems and accurately assessing efficiency data, Veolia and SourceOne joined together in June 2015 to present on this topic at the International District Energy Association’s 106th Annual Conference and Trade Show. Download the presentation HERE.
The concept of the ‘smart city’ has emerged in recent years and is continuing to evolve as technology advances and resource requirements are stretched. More than half of the world population now lives in cities and these expanding urban areas are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and account for 60% and 75% of global drinking water and energy consumption, respectively. The smart city aims to find solutions to the growing scarcity of resources and climate change, all while improving the quality of life of its citizens.
You can't have a smart city without smart buildings
By adapting and implementing more efficient and automated management of its buildings and infrastructure (water, energy, waste management, information and telecommunications, public facilities, recycling and sorting, etc.), cities and towns can better serve residents, all while helping to protect the environment. A key component in defining a building as ‘smart,’ is its efficient delivery and consumption of water and energy – both critical and limited resources. Although with the integration of advanced metering and software technologies, buildings are now equipped to help conserve these precious resources while efficiently meeting the utility needs of building occupants.
How metering and software solutions help make buildings smart
Sub-metering, data management, and utility management software solutions, allow building owners and municipalities to track energy and water usage by department or tenant and bill and/or budget future use based on actual consumption. This enhances energy and water savings by tracking and identifying any deficiencies - enabling more accurate budgeting, spurring energy efficiency retrofits and motivating building occupants to be more conscientious about their consumption. The ability to leverage advanced web-based systems and metering to track granular utility data has proven critical to Vornado Realty Trust (Vornado), one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the United States.
Vornado lowers its carbon footprint and recovers millions with smart-metering
Because commercial buildings account for the bulk of building infrastructure in urban areas and on average waste 30 percent of the energy they consume, commercial property owners represent a critical component in paving the way for smarter buildings and cities. With a portfolio over 100 million square feet, consisting of office, retail, and residential property, Vornado leverages smart metering technology and software to track energy use across its portfolio. Incorporating over 3000 meters, Vornado’s fully designed, scalable, and innovative metering and data management solution has enabled granular insight into tenant energy consumption across its portfolio, helping to drive sustainability initiatives and efficiency projects, while streamlining tenant utility cost recovery.
For nearly a decade, SourceOne has been providing meter data management and sub-metering design and installation for Vornado’s properties in New York and California. In 2013 SourceOne integrated its web-based energy management system, EMsys, to help support Vornado’s sustainability and energy management efforts. This web-based tool integrates historical energy and water usage, temperature, humidity and environmental data and enables tenant’s access to their electricity bill, energy usage and data. By serving as a central repository, through which meter data and historic utility data is collected and tracked, EMsys supports real time monitoring of energy consumption, reporting of consumption and green-house-gas emissions (GHG), and customizable tenant energy invoices based on individual leases.
By leveraging the EMsys energy management software and smart-metering, Vornado is able to recover millions in tenant utility costs, budget for future consumption and drive energy conservation and infrastructure investments that have a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Vornado an ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award for its efforts in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. (Learn more about the award and Vornado’s energy management achievements HERE).
Strategic utility management for smart urban growth
Strategic energy and water management by local governments, residents, and commercial property owners is critical to ensuring 'smart' urban growth for metropolitan cities. By leveraging technology and digital tools to better track, manage and reduce water and energy consumption, building owners and municipal governments are helping to lower their carbon footprint, improve the delivery and quality of utility services, save money and pave the way towards creating smarter, more sustainable cities.
What do the businesses Tishman Speyer, Vornado Realty Trust and SL Green Realty Corp all have in common? If you said they are all very successful real estate investment trust’s (REIT) headquartered in New York City, you’d be correct! However, a little known commonality exists between these REIT’s: robust and strategic energy management. As leaders in the energy efficiency movement across the country, these firms are integrating energy management practices, tools and strategies at their commercial properties to save energy and money. In fact, one might argue that energy management is a significant contributing factor in each of these REIT’s business success.
Tishman Speyer, Vornado and SL Green receive ENERGY STAR Awards
By leveraging tools and strategies, such as energy management software and metering, these commercial building owners are able to access granular energy consumption data to help recover tenant utility costs, budget for future consumption and drive energy conservation and infrastructure investments that have a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded each of these firm’s an ENERGY STAR® Award for making outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. Although each real estate firm is unique in its approach, they each share a common vision to develop and adopt world-class strategies that provide substantial energy and money savings in the buildings where we live and work.
SL Green Realty Corp
As New York City’s largest office landlord, SL Green Realty Corp is a REIT that primarily acquires, owns, manages, leases, and repositions office properties in Manhattan, with an expanding retail and multifamily portfolio. SL Green is receiving the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year recognition for its robust energy management program. For example, through energy management software and metering, SL Green has made significant strides in managing its energy consumption and tracking energy use at its properties.
For nearly a decade, SL Green has partnered with SourceOne to support energy management and sub-metering initiatives at a number of its New York City properties. By leveraging SourceOne’s support in upgrading its tenant sub-metering infrastructure and implementing EMsys, SourceOne’s web-based energy management software, SL Green can monitor usage data in real time, generate invoices customized to each tenant’s lease and access a powerful suite of tools designed to track energy cost recovery performance from an individual sub-meter to an entire portfolio of buildings.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Investing more than $35 million in energy efficiency projects since 2010, including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and HVAC, and real time energy management initiatives to save more than $13 million annually with an average project payback of only three years.
- Earning ENERGY STAR certification for 16 properties and more than 8.5 million square feet of building space.
- Benchmarking its properties through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® and applying for ENERGY STAR certification for eligible buildings. Since the launch of its benchmarking program in 2010, more than 25 properties, totaling 11.5 million square feet have received this designation.
- Extensive tenant outreach and education program to communicate the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency.
- Developing an annual sustainability report, including greenhouse gas emissions reporting and future program development.
Tishman Speyer is one of the leading owners, developers, operators, and fund managers of first-class real estate in the world. Tishman Speyer leverages a number of tools and processes that have contributed to its 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition.
Over the past three years, SourceOne has rolled out the implementation of a web-based energy monitoring system at more than 60 properties, in addtion to installing advanced metering architecture and hardware at several sites. Using these tools, along with ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager, Tishman Speyer is better able to track detailed energy consumption to drive operational, maintenance and facility improvements.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Benchmarking its entire U.S. property portfolio in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® and earning an average score of more than 78 - representing an 8 percent improvement over the past four years.
- Combining real-time monitoring with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager metrics to develop new operational, maintenance and facility improvements.
- Developing Tishman Speyer University to take internal lessons-learned and best practices to its global management platform.
- Spearheading New York City efforts to mandate energy benchmarking for all commercial real estate properties. Achieved certification of more than 20 buildings in 2014.
- Developing Tishman Speyer University to take internal lessons-learned and best practices to its global management platform.
- Spearheading New York City efforts to mandate energy benchmarking for all commercial real estate properties. Achieved certification of more than 20 buildings in 2014.
Vornado Realty Trust
Vornado Realty Trust is a fully integrated Real Estate Investment Trust with more than 40 million square feet of property. With its sophisticated and strategic approach to energy management, Vornado is receiving the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence recognition. "You can't manage what you don't measure" is a common management adage which applies to energy as well. Over the years, Vornado has become a pioneer in the sub-metering of its properties and leveraging smart metering technology to track energy use across its portfolio. These strategies have enabled Vornado to gain granular insight into energy consumption, helping to drive sustainability initiatives and efficiency projects, while streamlining tenant utility cost recovery.
For nearly a decade, SourceOne has been providing meter data management and sub-metering design and installation for Vornado’s properties in New York and California. In 2013 SourceOne integrated its web-based energy management system, EMsys, to help support Vornado’s energy management efforts. This web-based tool integrates historical energy and water usage, temperature, humidity and environmental data and enables tenant’s access to their electricity bill, energy usage and data. By serving as a central repository, through which meter data and historic utility data is collected and tracked, EMsys supports real time monitoring of energy consumption, reporting of consumption and green-house-gas emissions (GHG), and customizable tenant energy invoices based on individual leases. By using the power of data, innovative technology and a comprehensive outreach and communications platform, Vornado has demonstrated its energy management leadership.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Funding more than $5 million of base-building energy efficiency projects expected to result in an annual energy reduction of 14 million kilowatt hours with an average three-year payback period.
- Enrolling all of its eligible buildings in EPA’s 2014 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition.
- Providing energy efficiency-related training to more than 500 employees.
- Using Vornado’s Tenant Service Center (TSC), one of the largest energy management and building systems control centers in the United States.
- Using technology platforms on a portfolio scale allows the TSC to conduct analysis and implement operational strategies that yield an 8- to 14-percent reduction in energy in a typical building.
- Achieved certification of more than 15 buildings in 2014.
On Earth day, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York Port Authority (NYPA) were recognized for the successful completion of MTA's largest-ever energy efficiency project, which will save about $2.5 million in annual energy costs at Grand Central Terminal. As the implementing contractor for NYPA's energy conservation programs, SourceOne managed the design, implementation and commissioning for the $25 million infrastructure improvements at the iconic Grand Central. Read the MTA press release and SourceOne's blog post about the Grand Central project to learn more!
Hospitals and medical facilities are required to provide reliable, consistent care for their patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means that utilities, such as heating and cooling, hot and chilled water and electricity, also need to be reliable and accessible at all times. Unfortunately, storms, overloads and security breaches pose significant threats to the traditional electric grid and can result in grid failures and utility outages- putting medical facilities and their patients at high-risk. Grid-interconnected distras ibuted generation, such district energy or an on-site power generation source like Combined Heat and Power (CHP), eliminates that risk and often lowers utility costs.
District energy and CHP technology help strengthen the local energy supply, while providing greater efficiencies over traditional generation. Relying solely on the electric grid is an option. However, it is demonstrably less reliable, particularly for hospitals and healthcare facilities that require 24/7 operations even under the most challenging circumstances. Employing the use of various energy sources, such as a district network or CHP, can help mitigate power disruptions, optimize efficiencies, and provide significant environmental benefits. In fact, most district energy systems integrate CHP technology due to its efficiencies and reliability.
CHP: A sustainable solution for medical institutions
CHP uses an on-site system to generate electricity and thermal energy by capturing waste heat produced during electricity generation and can exceed 80 percent efficiency. Traditional methods of separately producing electricity in power plants and heat and steam in boilers require the consumption of significantly higher volumes of fuel relative to CHP. Because CHP uses the same fuel source for both heat and power, it lowers resource demands and fuel costs, while providing 24/7 facilities with an on-site reliable power source. In addition, CHP’s simultaneous production of power and thermal energy results in lower carbon emissions than if produced separately, especially when paired with an efficient fuel source such as natural gas or renewable fuels.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass Medical School) in Worcester, Massachusetts is an excellent example of a healthcare institution leveraging advanced CHP technology to supply its critical energy needs – while also reducing its carbon footprint. As a leading hospital and university in Massachusetts, the UMass Medical School campus houses a hospital, medical school and the new 500,000 square foot, $400 million Albert Sherman Center research and education facility, all of which necessitate reliable energy in order to provide dependable care for patients and to preserve valuable research.
As part of the UMass Medical School’s Climate Action Plan and pledge to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, it is aiming to be climate neutral by 2060. As one of the fastest-growing academic health centers in the country, UMass Medical School is also committed to expanding its research and academic campus. With the planned addition of the new Sherman Center, UMass Medical School required expanded energy requirements to meet the additional campus demand, without increasing carbon emissions. To ensure that energy requirements for the state-of-the-art research and educational facility were met, while meeting climate commitments, UMass Medical School looked to CHP.
Finding a reliable energy source for a 24/7 facility
Reducing energy use while accommodating growth is a common problem faced by institutions looking to improve sustainability and the operational success of their facilities. As UMass Medical School’s owner’s representative for the new research and education facility, PMA Consultants sought energy consulting support from SourceOne related to the expanded energy requirements. Through the advice of SourceOne’s energy experts and PMA, the medical school opted to expand its existing 10 megawatt (MW) plant to accommodate the campus’ additional energy needs. With its location in western Massachusetts, far from the robust district energy network in Boston-Cambridge, expanding UMass Medical School’s existing CHP plant was deemed the most efficient and economical choice. For this project, PMA retained SourceOne as the owner’s representative and independent engineer for the CHP plant expansion to provide technical expertise, project coordination and on site project engineering, startup and commissioning.
While almost every hospital and medical facility has an emergency backup generator, CHP provides reliable energy independence from the electric grid and can seamlessly transition from on-grid to off-grid power. Using grid power and then switching to an emergency backup generator can cause patient care to stall, diagnostics to be delayed and losses in vital research due to temperature fluctuations. When off-grid power sources like CHP or district energy are used, these risks can be avoided. Furthermore, backup generators often produce less electricity, less efficiently; whereas CHP and district energy is significantly more efficient.
Implementing CHP for reliability, growth and sustainability
Completed in 2013, the new central plant expansion included the installation of a 7.5 megawatt, gas-fired combustion turbine and associated heat recovery system, which replaced the UMass Medical School’s oil-fired steam boilers. The new jet engine-powered turbine produces 60,000 pounds of high-pressure steam per hour which is used to drive two of the plant’s existing electric generators and feed the campus’ steam distribution network to heat buildings and drive compressors that make chilled water for the campus’s cooling systems. The expansion increased electricity, steam and water-chilling capacity, but actually reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions because the turbine is more efficient than the previous boiler system, despite the added energy load from the new buildings. In fact, because the cogeneration power plant expansion increased capacity while reducing carbon emissions, National Grid granted UMass Medical School a $5.6 million incentive in support of the project.
By generating its own steam, chilled water and electricity, UMass Medical School has doubled its campus research capacity, while achieving 58,000 MWh of annual electricity savings, or $6.2 million in savings a year - a payback period of less than 3 years. In March 2015, the Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative (NECHPI) honored UMass Medical School with a “Clean Heat and Power Champion” award for its expanded CHP plant and for ‘championing’ the development of clean heat and power throughout the Northeast.
By leveraging the guidance of qualified energy consulting experts and keeping sustainability top-of-mind, UMass Medical School has achieved significant financial, environmental and operational benefits with its CHP plant expansion. Thanks to its environmentally-friendly CHP technology, UMass Medical School can rely on a 24/7 energy supply to treat its patients and continue its advances in clinical research and health care delivery.
As one of the busiest train stations in the country and the largest in the world by number of platforms, the iconic Grand Central Terminal lies in the heart of midtown Manhattan and provides services to approximately 750,000 people per day. Built in 1913 in the neoclassical Beaux-Arts architectural style, the splendor and grandeur of the historic Terminal is reminiscent of a time in American history when rail travel was in its heyday and trains were the most efficient means of long-distance commuting.
Described as "the world's loveliest station," this mammoth, 49-acre, pink-granite complex is leased and operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a state transportation agency. The Terminal boasts cavernous spaces and meticulously crafted detail, including a gleaming marble Main Concourse extending 125 feet high and chandeliers and lighting fixtures featuring over 60,000 bare, exposed light bulbs – a reflection of an innovative turn-of-the-century invention: the electric lightbulb.
One Hundred Years of Innovation at Grand Central
As one of the world’s first all-electric buildings, the Terminal was considered pioneering when it opened over a century ago. Constructed to better accommodate ever-growing rail traffic into the restricted Midtown area, the bi-level century-old station integrates a system of efficient circulation within the Terminal and between the city's streets, trains, subways and adjacent buildings. The facility also introduced new electrification technology, allowing the trains to run underground. This innovative technology avoided the soot and smog produced by steam locomotives, opened up valuable air rights on the streets above and created a resurgence of development in the area — paving the way for the modern midtown Manhattan we know today.
Today, the Terminal remains a design and technology innovator. Following the completion of a four-year, energy-saving renovation project at Grand Central Terminal in 2014, the complex will save an estimated $3.3 million annually and avoid 10,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Comprehensive Energy Efficiency at a National Historic Landmark
As a customer of New York Power Authority (NYPA), the MTA has leveraged NYPA’s innovative energy efficiency programs to conserve energy and save money. A leader in promoting energy efficiency, developing alternative energy sources and advancing clean transportation initiatives, NYPA's award-winning energy efficiency programs have contributed to New York’s ambitious environmental goals and has saved New York State taxpayers an estimated $6.4 million a year on energy costs at public facilities.
As an implementing contractor for NYPA’s energy conservation programs, SourceOne was contracted by NYPA to manage the design, implementation and commissioning for the $22.3 million in infrastructure improvements at Grand Central. Serving under a multi-year contract for NYPA, SourceOne is implementing energy efficiency projects at several facilities of NYPA electricity customers in New York City and Westchester County.
Energy efficiency encompasses a wide range of cost-saving energy conservation and planning initiatives to minimize energy usage, maximize savings and reduce carbon footprint. In order to address inefficiencies, energy usage must first be quantified via an energy audit by a trained engineer. The objective of an energy audit is first to quantify and analyze usage and then to identify applicable Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to increase energy efficiency and generate energy savings.
Following a comprehensive energy audit where several ECMs were identified, SourceOne managed the extensive utility system upgrades at the Terminal, including new controls, lighting, chillers, cooling towers, fans, compressors, air handlers, metering and tenant sub-metering systems, extensive steam distribution system modifications and a new a state-of-the-art Building Management System (BMS).
One of the more challenging aspects of the comprehensive energy conservation project at the national landmark building was completed in 2014 with the replacement of the Terminal’s antiquated cooling system. This proved to be a complicated endeavor considering the Terminal’s location in the heart of bustling Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the United States.
Grand Central - One of the ‘Coolest’ Places in NYC
Using a crane and a carefully coordinated rigging operation, several cooling towers on the roof of the Terminal were replaced with new efficient stainless steel cooling towers in 2014. Completed in two stages at night to ensure safety and minimize disruptions, the massive equipment was hoisted up and over the south façade of the Terminal, above the iconic statue of Mercury and a priceless Tiffany clock and placed atop the century-old facility, invisible from the street below. The installation of the equipment required detailed coordination and scheduling due to the sheer size of the units, the Terminal’s location in Manhattan’s urban core and the construction permitting requirements within New York City.
The new energy efficient cooling towers work in tandem with four new centrifugal chillers located in the subbasement of the Terminal to efficiently cool the facility. With the use of Terminal’s new building management system, the operation of the pumps, cooling towers and chillers have been optimized using variable speed fans to control air flow based on demand and temperature fluctuations. In addition, the cooling towers have been equipped with improved monitoring and are controlled remotely to regulate the speed and flow of the equipment — providing optimal performance, energy savings and water savings by limiting the water consumption used in cooling.
Award Recognizes Terminal’s Energy Innovation
As technology advances and new solutions arise for streamlining energy consumption, building owners are challenged to continuously optimize the efficiencies of their properties. This is particularly complicated for historic property owners that need to consider not only potential energy savings, but also the protection of the property’s materials and features. Through a holistic approach and evaluation of all aspects of the building envelope and its systems, the energy efficiency improvements at the historic Terminal were strategically implemented to avoid impacts to the facility’s historic characteristics.
In recognition of the $23.4 million Grand Central Terminal energy project, the MTA agency was awarded with a BuildSmart NY Innovators Award at the first annual "BuildSmart NY Innovators Summit" in 2014. The award recognizes the MTA for its innovative energy-savings and financing strategies. With its modern systems and efficiency improvements, the complex will save an estimated $3.3 million and 5.5 million kilowatts of electricity annually — representing a 10,000 ton reduction in carbon emissions and 30 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Each year, commercial buildings waste about 30 percent of the energy they consume and spend a cumulative $107.9 billion annually in energy costs. With numbers like these it’s no wonder that commercial property owners are looking for ways to use energy more efficiently and cut energy costs. However, advanced technology requirements, evolving regulations and energy volatility pose significant challenges for businesses and organizations that are often unable to successfully navigate the complex energy landscape. Fortunately, qualified energy consulting experts, paired with advanced systems and technology, can help commercial building owners develop comprehensive energy management strategies to reduce energy consumption and cost. The ability to leverage advanced web-based systems and metering to track granular energy data has proven critical to Vornado Realty Trust (Vornado), one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the United States.
Smart-metering recovers millions for Vornado
Sub-metering and data management solutions, allow building owners and managers to track each tenant’s energy usage and bill tenants based on actual consumption. This enhances energy savings by helping to identify energy deficiencies, enabling more accurate budgeting and motivating tenants, building owners and managers to be more conscientious about their energy use. According to The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), “The inability of commercial building owners to access whole‐building energy data, including energy consumption data in separately metered tenant spaces, restricts the capacity of both building owners and tenants to make informed decisions to drive energy efficiency improvements.”
With a portfolio over 100 million square feet, consisting of office, retail, and residential property, Vornado has been a pioneer in the sub-metering of its properties and leveraging smart metering technology to track energy use across its portfolio. Since 2006, SourceOne, a national energy management consulting firm, has assisted Vornado in reaching a fully designed, scalable, and innovative metering and data management solution, incorporating over 3000 meters across the Vornado portfolio.
For nearly a decade, SourceOne has been providing meter data management and sub-metering design and installation for Vornado’s properties in New York and California. In 2013 SourceOne integrated its web-based energy management system, EMsys, to help support Vornado’s energy management efforts. This web-based tool integrates historical energy and water usage, temperature, humidity and environmental data and enables tenant’s access to their electricity bill, energy usage and data. By serving as a central repository, through which meter data and historic utility data is collected and tracked, EMsys supports real time monitoring of energy consumption, reporting of consumption and green-house-gas emissions (GHG), and customizable tenant energy invoices based on individual leases.
In addition, SourceOne’s integration of open protocol design metering systems has allowed Vornado to efficiently expand its metering infrastructure over time. With an open protocol design, the system operates modularly and technology upgrades do not require a major capital investment and replacement of the entire system. Utilizing open protocol design metering systems allows bi-directional, two-way communications and the application of the next generation metering infrastructure.
Through the implementation of sub-metering and energy management technologies Vornado has recovered millions in utility costs each year. In general, accelerating tenant cost recovery through metering and sub-tenant billing reduces collection periods and maximizes business profitability.
National life-science real estate firm streamlines energy, invoicing and metering for entire building portfolio
Like Vornado, many developers, office building owners and corporations own properties across various regions. In these instances an advanced energy management tool provides an added advantage. Using the EmSys tool, another SourceOne client, which owns many laboratory and medical research properties across the U.S., can now compare one building’s energy use, efficiency and best practices to another’s, thus improving operations. This customer selected SourceOne to provide a unique range and breadth of services to streamline energy management and costs, including use of EMsys, energy procurement and tenant utility billing, metering and invoice processing, energy tracking and reporting, and budgeting support.
Coordinating with multiple suppliers and procuring energy across regional energy markets is complex and time consuming, and requires multi-faceted, national energy expertise. Knowledge of regional energy markets allows for more flexible and accurate strategic commodity procurement, location-by-location. Despite growing energy volatility in the marketplace, differences in regional energy infrastructure and varied market constraints, SourceOne helped the customer negotiate a number of successful electricity and natural gas supply contracts in multiple energy markets.
In addition, SourceOne designed and developed a centralized location to contain and more easily manage all energy data related to the customer’s portfolio of buildings. Using the EMsys software, SourceOne provides data management services, including capturing the data from energy invoices and storing it in a centralized database.
To recover their costs and ensure that each tenant receives fair and accurate billing for their energy use, the customer relies on SourceOne to provide sub-metering and tenant invoicing. By leveraging the EMsys software and smart metering technology, the customer is able to produce individual tenant invoices based on energy use to better allocate utility costs for each tenant. The customer can also use the utility invoice and energy consumption data stored in EMsys for budgeting and site performance benchmarking.
Since partnering with SourceOne, the customer has greatly increased efficiencies across its national building portfolio, including:
• Greater tracking and management of energy usage and costs
• 10-15% savings on energy procurement and data management costs
• Expected payback of less than two years from smart metering upgrade
• Streamlined invoice payment and processing
• Efficient tenant cost recovery
• Improved budgeting process
Smarter energy management = Smarter commercial buildings
The energy marketplace is filled with complexities that can be both intimidating and seemingly impossible to translate without the insight of a seasoned energy expert. It is with the help of these experts, along with advanced metering, data management and tenant billing solutions, which have enabled commercial property managers and owners like Vornado to realize significant energy efficiencies and cost savings. With a robust energy management system in place, coupled with advanced metering technology, commercial buildings can help their bottom line, while advancing their sustainability goals.
NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Market
NYMEX natural gas was poised to close out the year at historic lows, despite a wild ride over the past 6 weeks during which the price of gas for 2015 traded in a $0.55/MMbtu (14%) range. The swift drop in the price of gas during the back half of 2014 has been driven by a combination of higher than expected gas production and modest weather related demand...
Click the link below to download the entire December energy commodity market update!
In an effort to lead by example, the nation’s largest energy consumer, the Federal government, established the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) to help guide Federal agencies towards more effective energy management solutions. The program, led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), includes a List of Qualified Energy Service Company’s (ESCO’s), offering Federal agencies a skilled pool of experts to facilitate major capital projects and infrastructure improvements at Federal facilities. By facilitating projects and providing technical guidance to Federal agencies, the FEMP is saving energy and water, increasing use of renewable energy and alternative vehicle fuels, reducing petroleum use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Federal facilities. According to the DOE, “The Federal sector is leading by example by meeting more of its energy requirements from clean technologies and secure sources, and is helping spur innovation and commercialization of clean energy technologies across the country.”
SourceOne recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a qualified ESCO
Following a stringent review process assessing SourceOne’s service capabilities, staff qualifications, financial strength and past performance, the DOE has recently added SourceOne to its List of Qualified ESCOs. Having provided project management, design, and implementation services for several successful energy, water and cost saving infrastructure projects, SourceOne has demonstrated its expertise in delivering a full range of turn-key energy solutions to help meet the DOE’s energy and sustainability goals. SourceOne’s team is responsible for approximately $500 million of monthly utility billings for its customers and has executed nearly $750 million in energy infrastructure capital improvements. (Learn more about utility incentives and energy saving programs HERE).
Innovative financing guided by private sector experts
Aging infrastructure, significant up-front capital cost requirements, and rising energy costs, represent significant challenges for Federal agencies. However, qualified ESCOs, with dedicated teams of subject matter experts specializing in energy management, energy efficiency, and engineering solutions, can help navigate the volatile energy landscape. Qualified ESCO’s are able to leverage innovative financing options, such as Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC), to advance critical infrastructure projects. By engaging the expertise of an ESCO to manage and implement capital improvements using an ESPC, organizations can secure financing for infrastructure projects based on the future guaranteed savings.
With an ESPC, agencies work with a contractor or ESCO that manages and implements a project aimed at reducing energy and maintenance costs for a facility. Under this innovative financing model, ESPC’s provide Federal agencies with a unique opportunity to fund and advance capital infrastructure projects that yield significant energy and cost savings. (To learn more about ESPC’s, click HERE to read the first blog post in our new 3-part series!)
ESPC’s in Action – A community health center saves $150,000 annually
The Dimock Center in Roxbury, Mass. recently completed the replacement of its existing central steam plant with distributed boilers via an ESPC managed by SourceOne. In addition to greater energy efficiencies, the non-profit community health center is also benefitting from guaranteed savings valued at $150,000 per year.
Having provided The Dimock Center with successful commodity procurement services since 2009, SourceOne was engaged to conduct a campus-wide energy audit to identify additional energy saving opportunities. During this audit, SourceOne identified the central steam plant as a strategic energy and cost saving opportunity and suggested various options for its replacement. Working with The Dimock Center, the SourceOne team identified creative financing structures and implementation options to meet the health center’s specific needs. Completed a year ahead of schedule and significantly under budget, SourceOne managed the full design and construction of the distributed natural gas steam boilers to replace the existing central steam plant. As owner’s representative of this ESPC, SourceOne developed an advanced design, estimated project costs and provided an annual $150,000 savings guarantee. The annual guaranteed savings, which is based on a combination of electricity, fuel, water and operational cost savings, was integral to the Dimock Center obtaining 3rd-party financing and advancing the project.
In addition to yielding $150,000 in annual savings, this boiler decentralization project is providing The Dimock Center with low-cost, sustainable heat, reduced maintenance and fuel costs and a comfortable environment for occupants. Additionally, SourceOne completed the project ahead of schedule and identified significant cost savings for the non-profit through a 30 percent reduction in capital costs. (Read more about The Dimock Center project HERE).
Central plant upgrades at New York college yields half million dollars in annual savings
In order to ensure optimal energy use throughout campus facilities and generate cost savings, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a privately funded college in New York, N.Y., engaged SourceOne to develop an infrastructure master plan. Following retro-commissioning of the existing HVAC system, SourceOne recommended the renovation of the central plant and two floors of air distribution to optimize the college’s energy systems. In addition to helping The Cooper Union receive on-bill financing through a program offered by the New York Power Authority, SourceOne also provided engineering design for the rehabilitation of the central plant. Additional upgrades included the replacement of absorption chillers with high efficiency centrifugal chillers, a 150 kW packaged cogeneration plant with heat recovery and a comprehensive direct digital control based system to control and monitor all systems and equipment.
Over the course of the five-year, $14.1 million contract, SourceOne achieved and exceeded the total estimated savings for the new high-efficiency natural gas-fired condensing boiler and distribution system upgrades. The project achieved $550,000 per year in annual savings from steam, electricity and water efficiencies, in addition to chemicals and fuel price savings through the switch from utility-supplied steam to natural gas.
Select a partner from the DOE’s qualified list of ESCO’s
Although the energy marketplace can be volatile and often intimidating for agencies and organizations that require significant capital infrastructure upgrades, there are several options available to help advance these projects. As a DOE Qualified Energy Service Company, SourceOne can help agencies improve energy efficiency, save money and meet their energy and sustainability goals.
To learn more about the program and SourceOne’s capabilities, please reach out to Louis M. Schoen, LEED AP at (212) 612-7616 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(If you missed the Part II blog post in this series about the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, CLICK HERE!)
Several U.S. universities and colleges have pledged to eliminate net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from specified campus operations and encourage sustainability research and education by signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The ACUPCC recognizes the necessity of reducing emissions to mitigate climate change and adverse health impacts. Signatories are required to develop an inventory of all GHG emissions and a Climate Action Plan (CAP) outlining emission reduction strategies and milestones (read Part I and Part II in this series to learn more about developing a GHG inventory and Climate Action Plan). In crafting solutions to meet the AUCPCC’s framework, signatories have several financing mechanisms and project implementation strategies to consider.
Financing options for energy conservation projects
There are several options available to help fund energy conservation projects with minimal financial exposure and risk, including revolving loan funds, power purchase agreements and Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), to name a few. The ACUPCC has recognized Energy Performance Contracting in particular as an extremely effective vehicle to advance comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits by leveraging the savings generated to fund the capital improvements. Oftentimes, capital bonds and tax-exempt loans can also be leveraged to enhance the ultimate financial outcome.
For example, the Dimock Center, a non-profit health center located in Roxbury, Mass., recently leveraged an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) for a critical boiler decentralization project. Completed a year ahead of schedule and significantly under budget, SourceOne served as owner’s representative for this ESPC, managing the full design and construction phases for the replacement of the existing central steam plant with distributed boilers. Following project completion in October 2013, the Dimock Center now benefits from guaranteed savings valued at $150,000 per year, greater energy efficiencies, and improved occupant comfort (Read more about the Dimock Center’s boiler decentralization project HERE). By leveraging this innovative financing model, signatories can finance the cost of the project from the future estimated savings resulting from the capital improvements.
The University of Pennsylvania leverages “Green Steam” to help meet its ACUPCC commitment
Since each college and university’s campus, infrastructure and environmental footprint is diverse and unique, signatories can follow various paths to meet climate neutrality. As the first Ivy League signatory of the ACUPCC, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) launched its Climate Action Plan in September 2009 and has committed to achieving climate neutrality by the year 2042. Penn has undertaken several significant efforts to improve sustainability in all aspects of campus life and operations, including developing a centralized system to track steam consumption, implementing several smart meter installations and leveraging highly efficient and sustainable “Green Steam” supplied by Veolia North America.
"Green Steam is an innovative environmental solution that captures and reuses heat that was previously lost to the environment. All systems on campus that require thermal energy - heat, hot water, lab equipment, humidifiers – are supplied with “Green Steam which totals about half of Penn's energy usage. As part of Veolia’s recently extended steam supply agreement with Penn, Veolia completed the replacement of an older, less-efficient oil-fired boiler with two new, natural gas-fired rapid-response boilers to significantly reduce GHG emissions and increase the overall efficiency of Veolia’s steam service. Veolia's multi-million dollar investment in energy infrastructure increases efficiency and reduces annual carbon emissions by the equivalent of 70,000 cars removed from the streets. According to Penn’s Climate Action Plan, the improvements are expected to reduce Penn’s emissions associated with steam by an estimated 10 percent (overall campus emissions are estimated to drop 2 percent).
New York University’s CHP plant ‘powers on’ through Hurricane Sandy
New York University (NYU) is also a signatory of the ACUPCC and has committed to reaching a zero-emission climate neutrality goal by 2040. According to NYU’s Climate Action Plan, launched in March 2010, the energy required to heat, cool, and power university buildings accounts for 96.5 percent of NYU’s direct GHG emissions. Therefore, reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency and leveraging clean energy are both fundamental strategies outlined in NYU’s CAP. NYU’s Climate Action Plan is structured around four major emissions reduction strategies, as follows:
- Reduce energy intensity
- Generate and use cleaner energy
- Generate renewable energy
- Reduce or offset remaining emissions
To help the achieve its emission reduction targets, save money and meet increasing electricity demands, New York University decided to expand its existing cogeneration plant on its Greenwich Village campus in 2010. Serving as owner’s representative, SourceOne led the redevelopment of the expanded Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant which serves the electrical needs for 22 campus buildings and steam and hot water for 37 campus buildings (Reference). According to NYU’s Climate Action Plan, the expanded cogeneration plant accounts for the single largest reduction in GHG emissions to date, representing a 23 percent decrease in total campus emissions since 2006. According to the EPA, NYU's cogeneration system prevents an estimated 43,400 tons per year of GHG emissions and reduces the university's energy costs by over $5 million annually.
NYU’s cogeneration plant proved to be critical in ensuring reliable power and heat supply following 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. In the fall of 2012, Hurricane Sandy, left millions without heat and power and caused $50 billion in damages. While the majority of Manhattan was without power, most of NYU’s Greenwich Village campus had electricity, heat, and hot water. NYU was able to generate electricity and heat on its own from its expanded cogeneration plant (learn more about NYU’s experience HERE). The campus quickly became a haven for staff, students and surrounding community members without heat and power. Following the storm, it became a command center for emergency workers throughout Manhattan. In 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded NYU with the Energy Star CHP Award. As one of five award recipients, the EPA selected NYU for its efforts in reducing emissions and increasing energy reliability and efficiency for its cogeneration plant.
ACUPCC as a framework to guide energy efficiency and sustainability
Colleges and universities are the perfect partner to advance sustainability and emissions reduction efforts to mitigate climate change. The nation’s 4,000-plus private nonproﬁt and public colleges and universities educate more than 20 million students each year and own and manage tens of thousands of buildings, heating and cooling millions of square feet each day. The ACUPCC provides a solid framework to help colleges and universities implement advanced energy solutions to reduce emissions, save money and improve efficiencies.
- ACUPCC (Part I): Colleges and Universities Fight Global Climate Disruption
- ACUPCC (Part II): Develop a Climate Action Plan to drive energy conservation projects
- Best Practices Toolkit: Energy Performance Contracting for Higher Education
- Veolia Energy joins with Penn to Support the University's Climate Action Plan
- Cogeneration: The Independent Solution – An Example from NYU
- “Microgrids become reality as Superstorm Sandy's anniversary nears," by Julia Pyper, ClimateWire, September 11, 2013.
- "How Natural Gas Kept Some Spots Bright and Warm as Sandy Blasted New York City," by Andrew Revkin, The New York Times, November 5, 2012.
- “How N.Y.U. Stayed (Partly) Warm and Lighted,” by Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times, Green – A Blog about Energy and the Environment, November 5, 2012.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Winners of the 2013 ENERGY STAR® CHP Award
- To CHP, or Not to CHP? The Process of Evaluating Combined Heat and Power