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  • Tallying 2013 | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    power in a world where climate chaos is becoming the new normal and centralized infrastructure systems resting on century old models have demonstrated their vulnerability literally to the stormy winds of history 2013 was a good year for Sallan special reports The Friends of Benchmarking First Year White Paper posted in 2012 has endured as a much read resource to advance useful knowledge for greener cities and the new Second Year White Paper is attracting reader attention Companion resource materials like the City s Annual Benchmarking Report have also been consistently downloaded through the year Sallan s bi monthly Snapshot guest columns each with its own voice and message are among my favorite postings This year Ken Levenson s update on the Passive House movement and its use of the blower test was a hit as was Chris Benedict s manifesto on how to work at the cutting edge of green affordable urban architecture Tom Bourgeois and Bill Pentland s deeply informed essay on New York State rule making to encourage the development of a climate resilient distributed power supply system excavated some of the complexity entailed in modernizing a century of utility regulations Snapshots are meant to capture moments in time for practitioners observers and critics of today s urban sustainability campaigns Will next year s Snapshots display continuity or ruptures with today s emerging positions and practices Visit our website and find out It was also a good year for discovering what was useful knowledge for greener cities back in 2011 remains current Site visitors are still clicking on the mini site featuring a Wrap Up of our Market Makers panel series The premise then and continues to be was that adapting New York City s legacy building stock to 21st century requirements is the energy efficiency task before us It is made increasingly urgent as climate change accelerates energy debates heat up and a volatile economy makes energy savings matter more Not surprisingly energy related subjects now figure in many real estate related plans and promotional materials But ideas are one thing actionable ideas may be another How is the market actually responding to new realities To gauge market response experts on energy efficiency technologies electric utilities financial innovation and real estate trends reported on their own work and shared broader insights While my co sponsor Micah Kotch of NYU ACRE and I shared the sense of momentum that panelists conveyed was palpable We also agreed that their acknowledgement of obstacles was sobering and remains so today Speaking of actionable ideas readers flocked to the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation s nuanced report on energy retrofitting projects in New York City apartment buildings Recognizing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Underwriting Its goal was to encourage the financial industry to scale up financing of building energy efficiency retrofits in the belief that private capital if deployed for retrofits could prove transformational in achieving significant carbon reductions while upgrading multifamily buildings and stimulating much needed job creation As

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/11/tallying_2013.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Notes From A Green Building Transition Talk NYC 2013 | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    More community education adults and kids alike Call for community forums on available energy efficiency techniques and methodologies People need to learn about others hands on experience This will help reduce the fear of doing something new unknown or being taken advantage of Need a NYC master plan or zoning framework to encourage more energy efficiency The public lacks useful information Call for government outreach and targeted expediting of energy efficiency and resiliency projects These services should be made available in local storefronts The City should improve access to good green jobs and training More access to information of building energy use tracking and comparison should be made available Mayor de Blasio should undertake boiler side chats The City should set up energy efficiency demonstration projects The new Administration should press NYS through Public Service Commission rule making to go greener Energy efficient new construction and rehabbing should get more access to financing The City should do more education on the impact of energy efficient construction Create a hot line for the public to access basic information on energy efficiency and access to additional information The City should education the public about how energy consumption is part of every household s budget Concern that there is no critical mass of voters demanding more energy efficiency To add to urban resilience the City should conduct annual disruption day events to assess every building s preparedness to face infrastructure outages and energy systems and equipment robustness Improve the coordination among City agencies to deliver on building energy efficiency policies programs and paperwork Mayor de Blasio should use the bully pulpit power of his office to highlight building energy efficiency Public engagement and information about energy efficiency is still lacking Organize energy efficiency competitions to engage and motivate people Promote energy efficiency literacy

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/11/talking_transition.php (2016-02-10)
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  • So Quiet You Can Hear A Plank Drop | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    contenders if they believed in the reality of man made global warming eight out of the nine candidates raised a hand Then each one offered general support for the PlaNYC 2030 carbon reduction goal To get there they ticked off lists of transit building and energy ideas Advancing the Greener Greater Buildings Plan with its focus on improving the energy efficiency of New York s building stock as well as ideas for scaling up renewable energy were high on everyone s list There was no disagreement or argument among the contenders although there were differences in emphasis Joe Lhota volunteered that the next mayor must use the City s zoning powers to encourage more energy efficiency and cited the proposed rezoning of Midtown East Bill de Blasio applauded PlaNYC for putting the City on the right path but said the next mayor should move faster He advocated a more aggressive finance policy to speed up energy retrofitting in public and affordable housing If Mr Lhota or Mr de Blasio have spoken out on these issues since April the media hasn t reported it So where does this leave the Greener Greater Buildings Plan The first two rounds of reporting on energy use to comply with the Building Benchmarking Law have taken place and the City has published the first of three mandated annual reports and the Building Audit and Retrofit Law is just getting under way Both these laws are sunshine statutes that call for data disclosure and rely largely on voluntary compliance to obtain full and accurate information and the implicit policy hope is that information will lead to action However without an alert media and a public that values these laws and the worth of cutting our carbon footprint the truth of President Franklin D Roosevelt s vintage

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/09/so_quiet_you_can_here_a_plank_drop_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Energy Auditing In San Francisco: An Owner's POV | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    floor meters allowed for a finer grained level of analysis Boilers for heat and domestic hot water are part of the building s basic system so accurate fuel consumption data is in hand She plans to adopt audit recommendations to replace fluorescent lights in common areas with LEDs As well she s now considering whether to adopt virtually all the audit recommendations related to timing controls for building HVAC equipment For Ms Woytak it s good to have smart building systems ones able to pull in cool morning air to help with keeping things comfortable in the heat of the day Controlling the hours that building equipment is in operation is also a smart way to save on wear and tear and thus cut down on capital costs for equipment replacement Deciding what to do about recommendations such as putting a film on west facing windows is a longer term prospect recommending that tenants use existing blinds to control light and heat levels is the best course of action for now Rooftop PV is also something that s not at the top of her to do list given the scope of currently available incentives and the quantity of solar power output given the size of the available roof space To pay for the lighting upgrades improved HVAC controls and equipment repairs identified in one building with a twelve year energy savings of 257 633 Ms Woytak outlines two options first participating in an on bill finance and repayment program offered by the local utility Pacific Gas Electric One plus of this approach is that the loan is not considered a capital expense The second option is up front financing arranged by her audit consultant Each option is attractive but in either case how to calculate and operationalize benefits to tenants resulting from improved energy efficiency has yet to become routine For now Ms Woytak is confident in the energy savings predicted by her audit consultant and calls them more conservative than the local utility s own predictions In her buildings which are too small to justify on site operating staff smart and reliable automated control systems might the way to go later on Ms Woytak would be open to installing some automated building management system devices if she could identify a nearby building to share both the system and its costs Ultimately her decision making is rooted in calculations of up front costs long term layback and the challenge of executing a given energy efficiency upgrade Like other expense and investment decisions her energy action choices will be determined by a building s long term prospects which can include external trends like whether the neighborhood suddenly gets hot not in the climate change sense Of course like any landlord she does not have final say over how much power individual tenants use so their plug load does remain a concern and if a space leased to one tenant who vacates is replaced by three tenants in the same space that

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/07/energy_auditing_in_san_francisco_an_owners_po.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Industrial Strength Sustainability | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    in outer boroughs Advancing the Greener Greater Building Plan with its focus on improving the energy efficiency of New York s building stock and a menu of ideas for scaling up renewable energy were also high on everyone s list There was no disagreement or argument among the nine candidates but there were differences in emphasis but Ms Quinn given her role in enacting the Plan was the most specific in what s been done so far Mr Lhota said the next Mayor must use the City s zoning powers to encourage more energy efficiency and cited the proposed rezoning of midtown east as an example Mr De Blasio applauded PlaNYC for putting the City on the right path but said the next Mayor would have to speed things up Buildings need more aggressive finance policy to speed retrofitting up and cited public housing s desperate need for energy retrofitting Throughout Mr McDonald sought to link his sustainability ideas to the creation of jobs and job incentive programs Mr Catsimatidis while not sure about the science of anthropomorphic climate change still saw it as the job of the next Mayor to help all New Yorkers do their part but did not commit to the particulars of PlaNYC In contrast Mr Liu was explicitly praised PlaNYC as a good idea with the qualification that it has not been as fully carried out as needed He proposed tapping the financial power of the City s pension system and creating green bonds system for this purpose Brian Lehrer also asked by a show of hands if the Indian Point nuclear power plant should be shut down Only Ms Quinn raised her hand but no one opined about whether the Mayor has any legal role in making this decision Instead the candidates focused on the importance of renewable energy including prospects for offshore wind power and the furor over hydrofracking and new natural gas pipeline construction into the City The forum turned next to challenges of post Sandy rebuilding in flood zone areas According to Mr Lhota the Rockaways need building code amendments that will require elevated buildings Staten Island is different because there is more interest in buy outs and letting marshlands thrive Lower Manhattan is different again and will need concerted public and private action to get storm proofed not necessarily with a sea wall instead soft ecological initiatives like oyster beds might be best Mr Thompson favored Governor Cuomo s plan for optional buy outs The overall Sandy response won t be a one size fits all answer for changes in building code or deployment of natural and man made solutions Taking a different approach Mr Albanese insisted that New York City has had a reactive government one that did not heed scientists Sandy warning Policies and actions for the next Mayor regarding the City s parks recycling program and the City s overall solid waste management plan urban farming bike lanes and air quality and environmental justice were also engaged

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/04/industrial_strength_sustainability.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Hedgehogs And Foxes | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    by five years of data on the integrated daylighting designed New York Times headquarters near Times Square The study team began working with the Times Company a decade ago and now it proves that a work horse office building can cut its annual electric use by 24 and reduce its heating use 51 in comparison to a similar size building designed just to meet current code requirements These savings also translate into a 12 rate of return on the investment the Times Company made in daylighting systems and controls While building operators admit to some teething problems these performance numbers are proof that green building design can deliver on its promises While critics point to the risk that an even a well designed building relying on daylighting can run into trouble if a light blocking behemoth is built nearby system controls should still help this kind of high performance building stay high performance As Let There Be Daylight notes Daylighting is an important component of a comprehensive lighting controls package Energy savings from daylighting are only realized if controls make it easy and acceptable to turn down or dim the electric lighting in the space Nevertheless it would be premature to declare Mission accomplished As the report acknowledges Many existing advanced daylighting systems are not working as intended or have been disabled and often these systems are not delivering expected savings and it calls for a multi year proof of concept project to offer financial incentives training and outreach along with real world projects that would provide opportunities for daylighting system evaluations and reporting Foxes everywhere stay tuned Within a month of the Daylight report the Urban Green Council the City s high performance building brain trust broke climate action ground by posing a challenge to the owners and occupants of the Big Apple s real estate with NYC Can Reduce its Carbon Footprint 90 by 2050 While Mayor Bloomberg envisions cutting New York City s overall carbon footprint 30 by 2030 many climate scientists and some policy makers declare that an 80 cut by 2050 is needed to keep the planet from calamitous overheating The Urban Green Council report embraces this climate activism by upping the ante to 90 With the core of the analysis focusing on buildings currently the source of 75 of the City s greenhouse gas emissions it spells out how to put New York City on the path to such an enormous achievement Relying on building simulation modeling the report posits Heating and cooling loads can be dramatically reduced through air sealing heat recover ventilation and additional insulation to a point where all heating cooling and hot water can be provided by heat pumps The one two punch here is the postulate that virtually all the energy to heat cool and light New York buildings can be provided by geothermal wells along with some rooftop scale solar power and that all conventional power plants can be shut down This means that New York s electricity

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2013/02/hedgehogs_and_foxes.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Taking Stock of Benchmarking | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    and they combed through it both to identify patterns and trends and to weed out building data submissions that were clearly so flawed as to be useless Everyone agrees there s a learning curve in operation but already there s a wealth of information and comparisons in hand There were unsurprisingly a few glitches in this first reporting cycle For instance Portfolio Manger calculates energy performance based on a building s square footage However New York City s Department of Finance does not include basements when calculating that number This disparity obviously throws off any energy performance calculation As of now there s no fix for this glitch On other hand when the City first released the spreadsheets containing benchmarking data for commercial buildings in September 2012 some of the largest buildings that had filed their Portfolio Manager reports were missing from the database As soon as the City was alerted the source of the problem was identified and a revised spreadsheet was released The City is now organizing an expanded research team that will have access to next year s raw data for assisting in the preparation of the annual benchmarking report due out in 2013 and release of the next round of data spreadsheets which for the first time will include apartment building data What else can we expect The need for better ways to report and compare the performance of multi unit dwellings cannot be ignored The US EPA is working with the federal mortgage giant FANNIE MAE to get better data and the Department of Energy is also developing standardized building energy performance protocols The DOE effort would allow building energy information to be systematized into broad national data sets useful to researchers financiers engineers and other experts Some experts are hoping that future reports will require information on building occupancy because two buildings of the same size and use but with different vacancy rates cannot be compared for their level of energy performance So too some would like to see data that would easily allow for comparing the energy use and rankings of LEED rated buildings to others Others are seeking to refine Portfolio Manager data in ways that will be of greatest use to underwriters and real estate financial institutions The ability to capture and monetize the value of energy performance should make a great contribution to the greener greater building plans of New York and other cities around the nation Finally City government is considering an amendment to the 2009 Benchmarking law that would require benchmarking annual reports to be issued every year going forward and not just for the first three years of the program Seems like exactly the right thing to do Comments Taking Stock of Benchmarking October 19 2012 I second your point that the benchmarking law is a great success but agree that if the intent of the law is to encourage behavioral change then buildings and more importantly those who manage and run them must be able to

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2012/10/taking_stock_of_benchmarking_1.php (2016-02-10)
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  • Irrigated With Sunlight | Nancy Anderson, Ph.D. | Torchlight Column | the Sallan Foundation
    University student projects for 21st century underground mobility enhancements But the biggest attraction is found in a vast dark curtained off space where light bounces off a curvy panel system onto an islet composed of a tree on a mossy mound where mushrooms grow on scattered logs undefinedStaticflickr Above the solar distributor canopy consisting of 600 unique laser cut light reflecting aluminum panels is suspended from the ceiling These panels diffuse sunlight brought into the space through a tube containing special fiber optics The light tube gathers and concentrates sunlight collected on the building roof and can transmit it for a 100 feet Enough light enters to allow plants that grow on forest floors to thrive in underground New York City spaces undefinedStaticflickr Close your eyes and think of other urban locations that would benefit from becoming irrigated with sunlight undefinedStaticflickr What do you see Subway platforms underground concourses garages and basements take on a whole new look Suddenly prospects brighten for all kinds of subterranean spaces What a value proposition Originating 93 million miles away sunlit urban interiors now could be in easy walking distance The twitterverse is abuzz with responses to the call lowline as the installation comes to a close on Sunday September 23rd THANK YOU to the thousands of supporters who ve shared the journey to the exhibit with us http ow ly i XzyVlowline Recent articles written about the Lowline High Time for the Lowline The Architect s NewspaperWell aware that the areas of greatest density often have the least public space James Ramsey the principal of RAAD Studio set out to t This Is Science The Low Line is Not Just A Subterranean High LineThe fact that it was underground was not the only aspect of the Low Line that set it apart from

    Original URL path: http://www.sallan.org/Torchlight/2012/09/irrigated_with_sunlight_1.php (2016-02-10)
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