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  • Are Building Owners Leaving Money on the Energy Efficiency Table? | Elizabeth Brooke Stein | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    building is actually operated and occupied over time not just how base systems are operated by building management but also unanticipated tenant and occupant behavior can cause energy performance diverge from what is expected in a way that can wipe out anticipated savings A lot of opportunities for outcomes to diverge from projections And indeed while data is scarce those few studies that have examined realization rates the percentage of energy savings anticipated at the outset of a project that ultimately materialize in various sectors have made findings that suggest all those risks accumulating over time may exert downward pressure on results Consider the following evidence In the case of LoanSTAR a revolving loan program dedicated to performing energy upgrades on public buildings in the State of Texas a close examination of project performance found in 1996 that whereas audits projected an average payback period of 3 8 years actual payback periods were 5 1 years See also Sallan Snapshot Finding the Proof of Energy Retrofits Haberl J et al Loan Star After 11 Years A Report on the Successes and Lessons Learned from the LoanSTAR Program Texas A M University System Energy Systems Laboratory December 2002 and Public Building Pudding Finding the Proof of Energy Retrofits Oral presentation Michael Bobker Building Performance Lab CUNY Institute for Urban Systems May 19 2010 Deutsche Bank Living Cities study of 231 retrofits done on multifamily housing 21 000 units of housing in New York City found that across the projects studied the fuel realization rate was 61 with a 90 confidence interval of 14 A new white paper Modeled vs Actual Energy Savings examines single family retrofits performed in California found actual savings based on utility bills averaging approximately 2 3 of what was predicted using a model The fact is that while energy efficiency retrofits are commonly performed and there are market sectors notably the MUSH and government sectors in which workable deal structures have been used with some success for decades available data does not appear to provide sufficient evidence that for a given energy saving retrofit projected savings will materialize in full Now the good news energy efficiency upgrades do not have to be faith based enterprises Many developers and funders of energy efficiency upgrade projects in large buildings can take affirmative steps to protect themselves against underperformance Believe it or not LoanSTAR is actually a success story The disappointing results identified early on inspired researchers to invent a process they called Continuous Commissioning SM a practice of frequently measuring performance identifying faults and Continuous Commissioning SM isn t free but it represents a relatively small incremental cost the requisite metering adds 3 5 to the cost of retrofits and annual reporting adds an additional 1 and the improved performance of projects within the program is notable In the year 2000 the program was slightly overperforming 53 2 million of forecasted savings had become 53 4 of measured savings and Continuous Commissioning SM is credited with 25 of those

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2012/08/are_building_owners_leaving_money_on_the_energy_efficiency_table_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Realizing the Behavioral Wedge — Getting Tenants Involved in Saving Energy | Mirele B. Goldsmith, Ph.D. | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    Walczyk and Sally Larsen designed a pilot behavior change initiative tailored to the needs of tenants in supportive housing I urged the Network to conduct a focus group with the staff of each building to inform the selection of specific behaviors to target In a discussion with the staff at one building they learned tenants were not turning off their PTAC packaged terminal air conditioning units because many units lacked knobs No amount of programmatic education could be expected to overcome this physical obstacle to implementing energy saving behavior change McKenzie Mohr and other experts emphasize that there are many different ways to influence people s behavior In selecting among behavior change strategies change agents must consider the nature of the behavior to be changed For instance purchasing a new refrigerator is an indirect way to reduce energy use The buyer must be influenced to make one decision and s he is done In contrast curtailment of energy use may require repeated actions to turn off appliances and load management actions such as changing the time of energy use may require changes in other activities of daily life Sometimes we want people to recognize less energy intensive options as desirable These are known as lifestyle changes Each type of behavior change takes place in a different setting involves different obstacles and must be addressed with a tailored strategy Behavior change tools and techniques are based on insights about human behavior Past efforts to change energy use behavior often rested on narrow assumptions about human motivations A review of programs implemented by utilities in California found most were based on a perception of human beings as economic actors who make decisions based on calculation of financial returns expected from investments in equipment even though we know from our own experience that money is not our only motivator Frequently the prospect of future savings fails to motivate people at all and when economic incentives do not work other approaches must be employed What type of insights provide a basis for a behavior change strategy One is that humans are social beings who make most decisions about how to act based on what we see others do An eye opening study conducted by Aronson and O Leary found that 67 of students entering the shower room in a university fitness center would turn off the shower while soaping up if they saw two other people engaging in this water saving behavior This study spotlighted the power of social norms to influence the behavior of complete strangers Since home energy use takes place in private harnessing the power of social norms to influence tenant behavior often depends on finding ways to making energy saving behavior visible to others One strategy now being employed by electric utilities that harness the power of social norms is to send out bills that show customers how their energy use measures up to that of their neighbors In the right circumstances it is possible to achieve a similar effect

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2012/06/realizing_the_behavioral_wedge.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Commercial PACE Financing: An Innovative Way To Scale Up The Building Retrofit Market In NYC | J. Cullen Howe | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    or install renewable energy equipment The funding for the projects is secured by a tax lien on the property which is normally senior to all mortgages or other obligations and the owner repays the amount via an annual assessment on its tax bill over a set period usually 10 20 years If the property is sold before the repayment period ends the new owner assumes the remaining obligation The PACE model has been embraced by 27 states including New York by adopting in most cases enabling legislation that allows municipalities to create such financing districts However the Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA which guarantees over half of all residential mortgages in the U S views the senior lien position of PACE loans as constituting an undue risk on these properties and through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has issued announcements to lenders stating that it will not purchase loans containing such liens FHFA s stance has effectively shut down most residential PACE programs at least for the time being Fortunately commercial PACE programs while just beginning to emerge are not hindered by FHFA since the agency does not operate in the commercial lending market Several financing structures have evolved to support commercial PACE programs These include the pooled bond model the owner arranged model and the warehouse model In the pooled bond model applications for PACE financing are approved by the municipality during an aggregation period and then when a sufficient pool of qualified applicants has been assembled the municipality sells a revenue bond to fund the projects The Florida PACE Funding Agency uses this model In the owner arranged model the municipality acts as a conduit and property owners independently secure financing with a lender of their choice and negotiate rates and reserve requirements for the level of funding needed The Los Angeles Commercial Building Performance Partnership program uses this model In the warehouse model an investor makes available a line of credit for a municipality to use in funding the PACE program with the intention of reaching a critical mass of funding that results in bonds or other securities issued to replenish the line of credit A fund created by the Carbon War Room uses this model Some commentators have noted that the pooled bond model may be better suited for smaller projects i e those costing less than 500 000 given that these projects are normally too small to attract private financing while the owner arranged model is appropriate for projects greater than 500 000 because the financing terms schedule of performance and measurement and verification of upgrades could be customized for each property While the owner arranged model would appear to be advantageous to New York City given the relatively large size of most commercial buildings and because it offers the advantage of not having to wait until a bond is funded a potentially significant drawback is that virtually all commercial mortgages have clauses requiring senior lienholder consent when an additional lien is placed on the

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2012/04/commercial_pace_financing_an_innovative_way_to_scale_up_the_building_retrofit_market_in_nyc.php (2016-02-10)
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  • From MUSH To The City of Tomorrow: Taking District Energy To Urban Neighborhoods | Christina Grace | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    in identifying a block ripe for the LCB model At the center of the project is the 85 000 square foot redevelopment of a set of traditional brick and timber industrial buildings The developer is deeply committed to sustainable design resources efficiency and community building While at this time the project specifics are still a work in progress and the ultimate decisions rest with 14 building owners without the developer s willingness to house district energy on his property the project would not be possible One district energy option is to provide electricity and by employing combined heat and power CHP capture the waste heat created during the production of electricity for productive use including hot water space heating and space cooling Although capable of using renewable fuels such as biomass or landfill gas CHP applications today predominately rely on natural gas According to a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority 2010 report the productive use of waste heat from such systems can result in overall energy efficiency of these systems as high as 80 providing significant environmental performance benefits New York City is a compelling market for community scale energy The region has sky high energy costs and utilities are grappling with aging overextended infrastructure New York State and Con Edison already offer a number of incentive programs for energy efficiency measures and renewable and clean energy to encourage alleviate pressure on the existing grid But up until now district energy systems have gained traction primarily in what is referred to as the MUSH market municipalities universities schools and hospitals for obvious reasons including high energy usage balanced loads a single campus or agency owner and access to traditional funding mechanisms As Living City Block develops a clear model for organizing a very diverse set of building owners we need to address policy hurdles both regulatory and zoning for implementing district energy projects across the different urban building types A critical issue is how to overcome regulatory barriers to moving electricity water and steam across property lines and streets For example in a CHP scenario the waste heat from a CHP plant can be used to produce the circulating hot water for the entire district replacing the central boilers in each building To heat a district though requires the pipes connecting the heating network to extend outside of a single building crossing property lines both private and public The project will require a waiver from the New York State Public Services Commission There is an encouraging precedent in New York State The Burrstone Energy Center in Utica NY which provides electric and thermal energy to the Faxton St Luke s Hospital St Luke s Nursing Home and Utica College received a waiver from the PSC There are also potential zoning challenges building and fire codes to address when siting district energy especially if New York City authorities categorize a district energy system as a power plant Here s the crucial question for LCB and Gowanus how do

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2012/02/from_mush_to_the_city_of_tomorrow_taking_district_energy_to_urban_neighborhoods_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Inconvenient No Longer | John Tepper Marlin | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    which by the way place costly stresses on existing utility systems In the process they are major emitters of carbon dioxide whether on site or from electric power plants They use close to three fourths of U S electricity and 40 percent of energy according to the US Energy Information Agency Annual Energy Outlook The market test is whether lowering energy costs will be reflected in the value of real estate energy is 30 percent of a building s operating cost This connection has been documented by Berkeley faculty A study of U S commercial buildings in 2009 using CoStar data and EPA energy efficiency ratings finds that energy efficiency is rewarded with higher rentals and building valuations Returns to residential buildings that obtain the Green Mark in Singapore are substantial according to 2011 research A study of U S buildings shows that economic premiums for rentals and sales prices for green buildings are substantial and have not been reduced by the recent volatility in the housing market or by the increased availability of green buildings Premiums persist for both thermal efficiency and other sustainability features The average premium within rated buildings was a 3 5 percent higher rent 0 95 sf for every dollar saving in building energy costs and a 4 9 percent 13 sf higher building valuation These studies reinforce my own perception of what is happening in the green marketplace in New York City and area The low hanging fruit of negative cost energy efficiency investments that McKinsey Co diagrammed in 2007 2008 and 2009 is now bending to eye level One missing piece has been financial support for homeowners who see the logic of investing in insulation or on demand heating but just don t have the cash on hand New York State in June passed an On Bill financing law enabling homeowners to make energy efficiency investments that are paid for over time on their electricity bills I have reviewed lists of hundreds of names of entrepreneurs in green incubators or providing green services in New York City or on Long Island I have assigned these names to industries based on the services they provide The largest single group it turns out is made up of individuals and firms working on ways to introduce or disseminate green practices in building construction or management A green architect in Woodstock NY switched to the latest version of the REScheck software of the U S Department of Energy in order to comply with the residential Model Energy Code The architect Curry Rinzler found that the latest software gives less credit for heating efficiency than the old one When he called the Department about this they said that marketplace incentives for more efficient heating were now abundant They therefore shifted the attention of the software to other variables Mr Rinzler got the credits he sought by complying with the code for the geo placement of the building 3 Public Opinion Is Catching Up to Climate Change Science Public

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2012/01/inconvenient_no_longer_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • The Sad Story Of The National Infrastructure Bank | Joyce Miller | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    energy The proposed bank could lend up to up to 50 of a project s cost or provide loan guarantees It would lend at approximately the Treasury rate which is lower than any other source of capital in effect providing a subsidy to the projects at no cost to the federal government Loans would have a maximum term of 35 years a much longer term than would be available through conventional bank loans This is particularly important for infrastructure assets as it reduces the monthly cost of debt service by stretching the payments over the life of the project Loan guarantees also reduce the cost of capital by reducing the repayment risk to private lenders so that lenders will lend at a lower interest rate Eligible projects could be privately or publicly owned and the financing package could include local state or federal funds in addition to the private capital which could take the form of debt or equity Applicants could be public or private entities The infrastructure bank s ability to provide a long term source of capital at a lower interest rate than commercial loans reducing the average cost of capital for the projects and the amount of their periodic debt service payments thereby increases their feasibility The revenue streams from infrastructure projects which are used to cover debt service and operating costs are usually derived from user fees such as tolls fares and charges for use and these must be kept affordable Infrastructure projects generally cannot support a high cost of capital because they cannot generate sufficient revenues to cover high debt service payments and still be affordable to users The bank would be an innovative way to incentivize private investment in new infrastructure projects especially for new alternative energy and energy efficiency projects It would blast away the sector silos created by existing legislation and agency priorities which erect major barriers to creative alternative energy infrastructure projects because they force projects into narrowly defined sectors such as energy water transportation and agriculture In turn this would facilitate cross sector projects for example conversion of municipal solid waste into biodiesel fuel which could reduce reliance on fossil fuel for transportation or generating electricity or the use of agricultural water reservoirs to generate power for local use by covering them with microfiber covers embedded with photovoltaic cells PV which could generate solar power as well as conserve water by reducing evaporation Covering reservoirs with PV generators would also cut the distance over which power is transmitted increasing available power and reduce costs and demand on the grid So how was this important bill derailed Republicans have not allowed any legislation proposed by the President to pass hence the party line negative vote in the Senate even by those Republicans who support the bank Opposition has come from conservatives and tea party supporters particularly in the House who view the bank as an undesirable expansion of the role of government and as a new form of government expenditure something

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2011/12/the_sad_story_of_the_national_infrastructure_bank_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Faster, Stronger, Smarter: The Smart Grid's Informational Efficiency | Dania Nasser | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    energy Implementation of a smart grid would bring a much needed and overdue update to U S infrastructure The current electrical grid system was rolled out over one hundred years ago It s a system that was built for 19th century technology and energy demands providing for one way interactions which can do no more than try to deliver energy when demanded The nation s electric grid especially in regions where both population and general demand have increased is in need of an upgrade The smart grid offers a technologically feasible upgrade with systemic and economic advantages such as enhanced performance The smart grid can be implemented on a very local scale or given the willingness of several municipalities cities or states on a larger geographic scale If the federal government chooses to be involved participation from several organizations including the U S Department of Energy the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the Environmental Protection Agency the U S Department of Commerce and the U S Department of Defense can all be expected What s so smart about the smart grid The information it can provide about current energy demand peak times number of customers general customer usage and patterns and system stresses weather or time of day will allow for a more effective response from the energy provider to consumers energy demands A smart grid system will also bring more connectivity to an energy system By functionally bringing together numerous electrical grids information as well as extra energy can be shifted to regions where energy demand is peaking thus reducing the cost for the consumer and reducing the burden to meet demand for energy producers This ultimately allows for a better understanding of energy usage demands and the ability to shift energy throughout regions seamlessly As a new technology smart grid is also designed to integrate various electricity technologies including clean technologies into the electrical delivery system In fact the deployment of clean energy technologies heavily relies on the implementation of smart grid which is built to handle uneven output from various clean energy producers like wind farms and solar panels While smart grid has gained momentum in many cities worldwide complexities may delay progress The first complexity is how to encourage standardization of the smart grid In order to make the smart grid as connective and fluid as possible standards or a set of regulated guidelines for the design of the various components of an electrical grid such as the electric vehicle EV charging digital information language by which the grid communication will occur meters internet usage must be set in place Recently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC refused to adopt a set of smart grid guidelines for standards FERC also opted against giving guidance as to future expectations or steps for developing a unified and communicative energy system With no set guidance as to how to build and update electrical grids the development of a protocol that will work on all electrical grids will be tentative if

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2011/09/faster_stronger_smarter_the_smart_grids_informational_efficiency.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Over Our Heads: What Will Design Students Need To Know About The Revolution In Sustainable Roof Design? | Lynn Phillips | Snapshot Column | the Sallan Foundation
    trillion dollars A man can dream Although blue and green roofs also help lessen the UHI effect the real reason that they are Mayor Bloomberg s darlings is because he is rightly concerned with the city s aging infrastructure for handling storm water runoff Currently sewer water and storm water flow together after downpours overwhelming treatment facilities and polluting the ocean When warmed by UHI effects storm runoff also overheats aquatic ecosystems Both blue and green roofs by releasing water more slowly than flat or shingle roofing of any color can keep storms from crashing the system saving taxpayers billions in clean ups and water treatment plan upgrades 2 something neither white nor solar roofs can do 3 The industrial strength supports membranes and cachement pools of all blue roofs are expensive to install and many architects and builders are habitually wary of standing water on a roof no matter how thick the protective membrane containing it so blue roofs tend to be used for larger flat topped institutional or industrial structures where drainage is a relatively serious problem and key decision makers are seldom either architects nor builders Green roofs can be extensive shallow and low maintenance or intensive deeper and more labor intensive like the High Line Whether designed as artworks or bought like carpeting in modules packs or rolls green roofs bless the city with increased bird and insect habitat CO2 scrubbing and a higher prettiness profile the latter a seemingly twee consideration but one which for real estate developers can have impressive payoffs Designers curious about how green roof techniques are applied can start at Greenroofs com The self styled industry portal offers a free searchable online catalogue of over a million square feet of green roofing already installed within NYC s five boroughs While crowning a building with a sustainable roof is a righteous and inspiring project the chief constraint on the designer is spoiler alert cash For the public good the U S New York State and the City offer owners a variety of financial incentives to soften the sticker shock of ecologically responsible roofs Energy companies will also pony up in some cases for projects that help blunt spikes in energy use None of them however completely compensate builders for the cost of doing right Fortunately because white green and to a lesser extent blue and solar roofs better insulate the buildings they protect sustainables can produce significant savings for whomever pays a building s electrical bill Since environmental altruism is not every builder s mission these operational cost savings are often a client s primary interest when shelling out for environmentally friendly roofing and designers do well to provide them New York City keen on solar recently published a solar map allowing a designer or building owner to type in an address outline a potential installation and find out exactly how much sense it might make economically and environmentally to take this option The EPA is so psyched on white that it

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Snapshot/2011/08/over_our_heads.php (2016-02-10)
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