The UN Climate Action Summit – 2019

The 2019 UN Climate Action Summit was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 23rd, 2019. The target of the summit was to advance climate action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also aimed to prevent the mean global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. Sixty countries were expected to “announce steps to reduce emissions and support populations most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

 

The Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative

 

Zero carbon buildings (ZCB) are integral to developing a sustainable future. Buildings – of all types – are responsible for nearly 30% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately the reduced energy demand in buildings also represents the most cost-effective way to tackle climate change. Better buildings can add important co-benefits, such as improving health and quality of life for residents and workers. The Zero Carbon Buildings for All initiative, proposed for the 2019 UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, unites leaders across sectors in a strong international coalition to decarbonize the building sector and meet climate goals. Zero Carbon Buildings for All’s core components include securing commitments from two audiences:

  • National and local leaders – to develop and implement policies to drive decarbonization of all new buildings by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050
  • Financial and industry partners – to provide expert input and commit $1 trillion of market action by 2030

These commitments join and complement the corporate real estate and sub-national commitments galvanized by partner World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

 

What Are Zero Carbon Buildings (ZCB)?

 

ZCBs are buildings with a net zero amount of carbon emissions associated with their annual energy demand. ZCBs achieve this by:

  • Implementing high levels of energy efficiency
  • Meeting energy needs with on- or off-site renewable energy sourcing

In some cases, buildings can also partly achieve net zero emissions through carbon offsets, which often come in the form of renewable energy investments elsewhere. Offsets, however, are only recommended for cases in which a 100% renewable energy supply is not feasible.

While in the past the ZCBs have been seen as a target only wealthy countries could reach, there are policy pathways today to reach zero carbon buildings regardless of location or development status.

 

 

How Do We Achieve ZCBs?

We have the technology to achieve ZCBs in nearly every context; what national and local leaders need are policy pathways and financing solutions. There are multiple ways to achieve ZCBs through combinations of energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon offsets. They are found in the following order of priority:

Zero Carbon Buildings

The more carbon avoided through efficiency, the better. Energy efficiency is generally the cheapest approach and the remaining energy needs can then be met with greener energy supply.

In addition to the set of principles shown above, municipal, national and state governments have different roles and degrees of influence in achieving ZCB pathways. These guiding principles lay the groundwork for a menu of pathways to arrive at net zero carbon for individual buildings, districts and building portfolios – turning carbon neutrality from an aspiration into a target well within reach. If you want to know more, or if you would like to make your building Zero Carbon, get in touch with us today.

 

Energy Modeling

 

Energy Modeling, short for Building Energy Modeling (BEM), is the computer simulation of a building used to determine or estimate building energy usage.  BEM is a versatile, multi-purpose tool that is used in new building and retrofit design, code compliance, green certification, qualification for tax credits and utility incentives, and real-time building control.  BEM is also used in large-scale analysis to develop building energy efficiency codes and inform policy decisions.

 

How does it work?

A virtual building is created in a software package, the building components are entered, and the building is simulated over the duration of the one year using a weather file.

This allows for multiple scenarios to balance the lowest construction cost with the lowest annual energy cost.  The estimated energy cost of using different windows, walls, roofs and HVAC systems can all be quantified.  This is how we decide for example, if adding wall insulation provides a shorter payback than installing a more efficient boiler or vice versa.

Energy modeling is required for LEED certification.

 

How BEM is used

  • Building Analysis: On prototype models supports the development of energy codes and standards, as well as helps organizations like utilities and local governments plan large scale energy efficiency programs.
  • Building Performance Rating: Can be used to assess the inherence performance of a building while controlling for specific use and operation.  Inherence performance rating is the basis for processes like code compliance, green certifications, and financial incentives.
  • Architectural Design: To design energy efficient buildings, specifically to inform quantitive trade-offs between up-front construction costs and operational energy costs.  In many cases, BEM can reduce both energy costs and up-front construction costs.
  • HVAC Design and Operation: Commercial building HVAC systems can be large and complex, BEM helps mechanical engineers design HVAC systems that meet building thermal loads efficiently.  It also helps design and test control strategies for these systems.

 

May Include:

 

Benefits:

  1. Helps to identify which system is the best fit for your building
  2. Understand the total costs of ownership
  3. Achieve “green building” standards (LEED, ASHRAE, etc…)
  4. Comply with utility and municipality rebate programs

 

The Cotocon Group specializes in Energy Modeling, for more information call us at (212) 889-6566!

Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP)

 

The Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP) is a plan implemented by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) in 2014, to improve new construction and renovations.  To proactively address energy waste in its existing structures, a problem that had been a difficult task because of the enormous amount of buildings inside of NYC.  After some digging, the city’s square footage is highly concentrated, (in less than two percent of its properties) two percent translates into 15,000 properties over 50,000 square feet, which account for almost half of NYC’s total energy consumption.

After these findings, NYC executed the GGBP, whose objective is energy efficiency in these large existing buildings. Local Laws were put in place as an energy conservation effort that has been industry-transforming, and internationally recognized.  GGBP is designed to ensure that information about energy is provided to decision-makers and that the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures are sought after and maintained.

The GGBP was the most comprehensive set of energy efficiency laws in the U.S., (prior to the NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act) targeting New York City’s largest existing buildings which constitute half its built square footage and 45 percent of citywide energy use.

For these buildings, the policies require an annual benchmarking of energy and water use with public disclosure(Local Law 84 of 2009); an audit and retro-commissioning every ten years(Local Law 87 of 2009); for non-residential spaces, upgrades for lighting to meet the energy code (Local Law 85 of 2009); and the installation of electrical meters or sub-meters for large tenant spaces (Local Law 88 of 2009).

Goal: Reduce GHG Carbon Emissions 30% by 2030.

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Increase Your Building’s Value

Benefits:

Environmental:

  • Encourage the reduction of water use
  • Inspire the use of renewable resources
  • Reduce the use of oil and gas

Community:

  • Create thousands of construction-related jobs
  • Building owners benefit from energy savings (Those that comply in advance will reap benefits earlier)
  • Enhance Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Improve public health by reducing air pollution
  • Boost energy technology
  • Enhance indoor temperature
  • Regulate lighting
  • Improve indoor environment
  • Lower demand for electricity = Citywide electrical systems are more reliable

 

For more information contact us at (212) 889-6566

Bills Within The Act

 

By now almost everyone has an idea about what the Climate Mobilization Act, i.e the Green New Deal entails.  It’s all over the news and social media, but what’s not there is the fine print.  The laws within the Act are precisely the most important pieces of the entire puzzle.  There are several bills or Local Laws in the Green New Deal,that we at The Cotocon Group have carefully put together for you.

 

Local Law 97 of 2019:

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Starting in 2024, buildings over 25,000 square feet will be mandated to meet carbon emission limits.  Buildings that exceed their designated Energy Use Intensity (EUI) limits will face steep penalties, depending on their facility.  There are initiations of emission trading systems to be updated by 2021 as well as renewable energy credits (RECs) limited to NYS electric generation for up to 10% of compliance with the emission limit of a building.

 

Local Law 96 of 2019:

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Voluntary Finance Program

Establishes a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, i.e PACE.  A sustainable energy loan program which is a voluntary financing mechanism that will provide low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency projects. P  PACE will help building owners finance energy efficiency projects that are required by the new legislation in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions citywide.

PACE financing will be repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill and can be used for commercial, nonprofit, and residential properties.

 

Local Law 94/92 of 2019:

Requirement of Green Roofs on NYC Buildings

Requires the inclusion of a green roofing zone in new construction and for buildings undergoing certain major renovations.  This roofing zone must be comprised of a photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system (Solar Panels) or a green roof.  Buildings with greater than 200 square feet of usable roof space must install a minimum of 4kW PV electricity generating system.  If a building is unable to install a PV electricity generating system, a green roof system must be utilized.

 

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NYC Green New Deal

 

These package of bills aim to significantly reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions and fight against climate change.  The NYC Climate Mobilization Act includes local laws, introductions, and resolutions.  We can only hope that these bills as well as property owners compliance will lead to a productive and positive outcome for our planets future.

 

The Cotocon Group believes firmly in a sustainable environment and works side by side with developers,  building owners, and property managers to guide them into compliance.  For any questions or information, please call us at, (212) 889-6566.

Cooling Season

Cooling Season comes quickly and sometimes with no warning, especially in New York.  It can be challenging to control indoor comfort during springtime weather fluctuations.  In this time, it is also important to make sure that building controls are reset to reflect changes in occupancy schedules, temperatures and daylight.

New York City’s cooling season runs from May 26 to September 24, so maintaining these requirements are crucial.  Usage outside of these dates may result in an electrical demand charge for which funding has not been budgeted.  These guidelines and recommendations have been established for the use and maintenance of air-conditioning systems in City buildings.

 

Many factors impact occupant comfort, such as;

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air Movement
  • Vertical and Horizontal Temperature Differences
  • Temperature Drift
  • Lighting Conditions

 

Whatever the weather conditions, you’ll want to ensure that your building’s systems are in top shape to control these factors as best as possible to keep occupants complaints to a minimum and ensure productivity and facility performance.

The temperatures are warming up, creating less need for heating and more need for cooling.  To ensure that your building’s performance is running safely and efficiently to increase your comfort and save money, follow these spring maintenance tips…

 

Tips on how to stay cool this summer:

  • Maintain healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Control Moisture
  • Monitor Thermostat Settings
  • Adjust Lighting
  • Test Cooling Systems
  • Check the Building Envelope
  • Change Air Filters

 

2019 NYC Cooling Season Guidelines for building owners and tenants gives an in depth breakdown for occupants and facility managers on the proper requirements and suggestions to help maintain proper cooling temperatures.

 

At The Cotocon Group, our experts go in the field to examine investment opportunities firsthand, we help you identify cooling opportunities and to take care of your seasons requirements.

Call us now for more information, (212) 889-6566

What is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is the process of identification, survey and the analysis of Energy usage in a building. It is done to optimize the energy usage of the system i.e. Keeping the outputs the same while reducing the energy consumption. A successful energy audit results in energy and cost saving while also reducing the overall carbon footprint.

During an energy audit, health and safety are the primary concerns, while reducing energy consumption and maintaining human comfort. An energy audit seeks to prioritize the energy uses according to the most cost effective technique while keeping in mind the comfort levels.

 

Purpose of Energy Audits:

  • Verify that a facility and its systems meet the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
  • Enhance building performance by saving energy and reducing operational costs
  • Identify and resolve building system operation, control and maintenance problems
  • Reduce or eliminate occupant complaints and increase tenant satisfaction
  • Improve indoor environmental comfort and quality + Reduce associated liability
  • Document system operations
  • Analyze the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) personnel training needs and provide such training
  • Minimize operational risk and increase asset value
  • Extend equipment life-cycle
  • Ensure the persistence of improvements over the building’s life
  • Address code issues

 

HOME ENERGY AUDITS in New York

A home energy audit is a service where the energy efficiency of a house is evaluated by a person using professional equipment (such as blower doors and infrared cameras), with the aim to suggest the best ways to improve energy efficiency in heating and cooling the home.

A home energy audit is a process of analysis carried out by a professional. A professional with various equipment to suggest the best methods of energy usage.

Various factors, such as the local climate, the number of residents and building orientation are considered before making final suggestions. The equipment that is in place is checked for optimal performance as well as the life of building.

 

The Cotocon Group has energy audit professionals with vast experience. Use of technology such as thermal simulations and the use of experience goes a long way in creating the best audit report.

In New York City, laws like the Local Law 87, require buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. to have an energy audit once every 10 years. The Local Law 87 requires a licensed Professional Engineer to oversee the work and The Cotocon Group handles these regularly. Similarly, Local Law 84 states that as of May 1, 2011 all buildings 50,000 square feet and larger must be ENERGY STAR Benchmarked and report their building’s energy & water use. These laws are the results of New York City’s PlaNYC.  o reduce wasted energy used by buildings.  hich are the greatest source of pollution in NYC.

The Cotocon Group can manage Local Law 84 requirements and start saving you money on building operations, making your building more competitive. We have a group of experienced professionals qualified to carry out these tasks.

 

Benefits of Energy Audits

 

 

 

Greater Comfort

Energy Efficient homes are inherently comfortable because of better insulation, better cooling and fixed heating leaks.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

During an energy audit, focus is also given on how the indoor air quality can be increased. The ventilation and Air Conditioning is scrutinized for proper operation.

Greater Building Durability

One of the major aims of an energy audit is to ensure building longevity and durability. Attention is paid to leaks, moisture levels, ventilation and sun-proofing so as to maintain the buildings health.

Higher Resale Value  

With the energy prices increasing all the time, the value of energy efficient buildings always ensures high market value of your house as much as 20%. A little investment now ensures your home is valued higher than its counterparts down the road.

 

HOW TO GET AN ENERGY AUDIT DONE?

The Cotocon group caters to Energy Audits, LEED Certifications, ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Certifications and more. Get in touch with the Cotocon Group for a detailed explanation on how you can get your home LEED certified. You can also call us at (212) 889-6566.

NYC Climate Mobilization Act

What is it?

In NYC on April 18 2019, the Climate Mobilization Act was passed in the hope of reducing the city’s built environments gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.  New York City is calling this the “Green New Deal”, the law will take full effect in 2024.

Climate Emergency: A cascading breakdown of the climate system due to unsustainable extractive economic and social forces, posing an existential risk to humanity and life on earth.

Annual energy and water benchmarking data is required for these buildings in order to assess their usage levels.  The NYC Local Laws such as; Local Law 133, Local Law 84 and Local Law 87 (which had become Pilars throughout the country) have been put in place to audit these levels of usage for the past years.  The NYC Climate Mobilization Act is the aggressive action of passive results to make a change.

For those structures that can’t be brought up to code on schedule, their owners can offset a portion of their emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits.  If an owner still isn’t in compliance, they can be hit with an ongoing fine based on their actual emissions versus the cap.

 

 

How much do NYC buildings waste?

According to the Urban Green Council, NYC produces 50 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, and buildings account for approximately 67 percent of that—meaning buildings over 25,000 square feet produce 35 percent, or about 13 million tons of carbon dioxide, a year.

— That’s a lot.

How do buildings waste energy?

  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Inefficient Equipment
  • Leaky envelopes

 

New York City Climate Mobilization Act

Benefits:

  • Job opportunities for clean energy industries
  • Decrease in carbon emissions
  • Sustainable environment
  • Green solutions
  • Cleaner NYC

Concerns:

  • Expense to building owners
  • Tenant retention
  • Time & effort
  • Annual violations
  • Replace coal, oil, & natural gas (electricity & transportation)

The Cotocon Group is an impartial third party consulting firm that specializes in helping you optimize your energy consumption while reducing your energy costs.  We are energy management specialists who have extensive expertise in large-scale contracting and construction.  In addition, because we have a clear understanding of the financial benefits of energy efficiency.  We stand out as a leader in the green building community.  Our team consists of Architects, Engineers, Certified Energy Managers, Certified Building Commissioning Professionals, and LEED Accredited Professionals.  Our company is here to help benchmark, audit and get your building up to compliance with NYC regulations.  Call us for more information, (212) 889-6566

NYSERDA Commercial Tenant Program

 

This is for tenants looking to not only improve the performance of their office space but lower the utility cost.  The NYSERDA Commercial Tenant Program provides up to 100 percent of the cost, with an energy analysis of the space which enables the tenant to effectively and efficiently enhance their work environment.

“Commercial office tenants and buildings owners are receiving up to 100% cost share for an energy study that can help enhance the efficiency of their leased spaces.”

Obtaining the right information at the right time can help you make better design and energy management decisions.  NYSERDA enables this process by covering the cost of a consultant who will help uncover energy savings opportunities in your space and create an easy to follow, practical action plan.

 

Tenants can choose from two tracks:

  1. Spend $5,000 & receive $5,000 return
  2. Spend $50,000 & receive $50,000 return

…It’s that simple

 

“Her office space was no where near using the amount of energy she was being charged with monthly, so she decided to invest in the Commercial Tenant Program and her return on investment far exceeded her expectations.”

 

Benefits:

  • Reduce your operating expenses & save on your energy bills
  • Gain a competitive edge to attract & retain the right talent
  • Create a healthier, more comfortable, and productive workplace
  • Fulfill your organization’s energy efficiency & sustainability goals

Commercial Tenant Program is responsive; average 13-day turnaround for NYSERDA to review, process an application, and issue an approval notice.

 

For more information

 

The Cotocon Group works closely with NYSERDA in support of the Commercial Tenant Program because of it’s benefits to the environment and to everyone involved, financially and productively.  Call us for more information (212) 889-6566.

NYC Local Law 33

Energy Efficiency Grade

Have you seen the NYC Restaurant Letter Grades?  The letter on the front of the restaurants indicating the Sanitation Inspection results?  Almost anyone who has walked around New York City has.  Well, similarly to that score, beginning in 2020, NYC Local Law 33 will take effect.  There will be grades on every building that is on the NYC Covered Buildings List.  These grades will be based on their Energy Efficiency and Water Usage.

An “Energy Efficiency Grade” means (for a covered building), an Energy Efficiency score assigned through the benchmarking process (Local Law 84) in accordance to a NYC grading tool.

 

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NYC Local Law 33 of 2020

 

The ENERGY STAR rating that a buildings earns using the United States Environmental Protection Agency, helps compare the building’s energy performance to similar buildings in similar climates.

NYC Buildings (on the Covered Buildings List) required to comply shall receive scores according to the following:

A= If the score is equal to or greater than 85
B= If the score is equal to or greater than 70 but less than 84
C= If the score is equal to or greater than 55 but less than 69
D= If the score is equal to or greater than 1 but less than 54
F= If the owner of such building has not complied, and the owner has had an opportunity to be heard with respect to such non-compliance.

 

Within 30 days after the owner obtains his/her Energy Efficiency Grade, such owner must post the grade and the Energy Efficiency score upon the location near each public entrance to such buildings.  They must do this in a form and manner established by the department.

Get in touch with us to learn more about Local Law 33 & save yourself thousands in violations!

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