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.

 

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.

 GOING GREEN WITH LEED

 

What Is a Green Building?

Green building simply refers to a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle.  From design, construction, operation, maintenance and renovation.  It is designed to have a positive effect on the environment and its residents.  Green buildings have also proven to be very cost effective, in some cases provided financial and other rebates upon going green.

 

LEED Certifications: A Way To Build Green

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  It is one of the most popular Green Building Certification programs used worldwide.  Developed by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

Any Building can be a Green Building, ranging from a house to a large factory.  The good thing about LEED is that it has designed its guidelines for both, new buildings and existing buildings.  LEED constantly comes up with rating systems customized according to the type of building, for example, the guidelines for a home will be designed keeping in mind the residents comfort and optimal usage of the resources.  A large building has to comply with more stringent guidelines to reduce its negative effect on the environment.

 

LEED Green Homes

Simply put, a green home uses less energy, water and natural resources compared to a standard home.  It is more efficient, and thus creates less waste.  In addition, a green home can be a much healthier habitat for the people living inside.

LEED Certification: A building is categorized into 4 types of certifications according to how well they perform on the set guidelines.

Points are awarded under six credit categories:

  1. Sustainable Sites
  2. Water Efficiency
  3. Energy and Atmosphere
  4. Materials and Resources
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality
  6. Innovation in Design.

According to the total score, a building is then certified as

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver: 50–59 points
  • Gold: 60–79 points
  • Platinum: 80 points and above

 

Benefits of a LEED Green Home Certification:

 

LEED Green Home Benefits

LEED Green Benefits

 

Now the question arises, what are the benefits of going for a LEED certification and spending money on a consultant? Well, here are just some of the benefits:

1- Savings: You will be saving money!

LEED-certified homes are:

  • Built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that the home can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage; Designed to minimize indoor and outdoor water usage.
  • Predicted to use an estimated 30-60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code.

Based on some studies, these homes could potentially see energy reductions of:

  • Up to 30% (for LEED Certified homes)
  • Approximately 30% (for LEED Silver homes)
  • Approximately 48% (for LEED Gold homes)
  • 50-60% (for LEED Platinum homes)

 

**Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings and $54.2 million in waste savings.

Several government bodies provide financial and other type of benefits to Green Building owners. Financial, extra Floor Area Ratio or tax rebates are just some of the incentives.

 

2- Value: Green Homes Create Value

Researchers found that between 2007 – early 2012, the value of homes in California with a green certification label was an average of 9% higher than comparable, non-certified homes.

Consumers ranked green/energy efficiency as their top requirement for their dream homes.

  • Green homes sell at higher prices and faster than comparable, conventional homes. In 2011, the Earth Advantage Study found that, on average, green-certified, new homes sold for 8 percent more than non-certified green homes. Additionally, resale prices of existing green homes were about 30 percent more than conventional homes.
  • Today’s tenants understand and are looking for the benefits that LEED-certified spaces have to offer. The new Class A office space is green; lease-up rates for green buildings typically range from average to 20 percent above average.

 

3- Well Being 

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is two to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified homes are designed to maximize the quality of indoor air and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. They require proper ventilation, high-efficiency air filters and measures to reduce mold and mildew.

Each LEED-certified home undergoes onsite inspections, detailed documentation review and performance testing to ensure the health and safety of home dwellers.

 

4- Saving The Environment

The LEED Certified Buildings have an overall positive impact on the environment. The guidelines ensure that the impact of the building is positive as compared to other buildings.

Some green homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy by using alternative sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Similarly, there are other sustainable methods that can be adopted to ensure the positive effect on environment.

Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year; Green Buildings use fewer resources and minimize waste. LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and by 2030 that number is expected to grow to 540 million tons.
So you will be saving costs, creating more value and doing your bit for the environment in the process.

 

How to go about a LEED certification?

The Cotocon group caters to 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 or 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

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.

 

 

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!

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of the air within and around a building. It depends on a lot of factors like the quantity of gases such as; Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide etc.  It also depends on the content of particulates and microbial contaminants.  The Indoor Air Quality is important because an average human being spends approximately 90 percent of their life inside.

 

Why Does This Matter?

As most of our time is spent inside building’s, it is vital that the Indoor Air Quality is maintained according to the proper standards.

Poor Indoor Air Quality can lead to symptoms such as; headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the; eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.  Also, some diseases have been linked to specific air contaminants, such as asthma with damp indoor environments.

Considering the other side, it is said that well maintained Air Quality can have a positive effect on the resident health.  It is said to have increased productivity, concentration levels and happiness.

Factors Affecting Indoor Air Quality

  • Building site or location
  • Design
  • Building systems design and maintenance
  • Renovation activities
  • Local exhaust ventilation
  • Construction materials
  • Furnishings
  • Building maintenance
  • Occupant activities

 

Ways to improve and maintain IAQ are:

  • Source Control

Usually the most effective way to improve Indoor Air Quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions.

  • Ventilation Improvements

There should be ample fresh air inside the building and the ventilation systems should be properly working.  Besides this, there should be regular checkups on the HVAC systems.  There should be a scope for maintaining the Air Quality even when there’s more pollution than normally expected.  Paint work and extra occupancy are some of the factors that can temporarily increase the polluted air inside a building.  There should also be proper filtration of the air entering the building.

 

  • Air Cleaners and Purifiers

There are devices that can measure the Air Quality, therefore making it easier to make decisions according to the present conditions inside of the building.  An example of this would be, if the cleaner detects more Carbon Dioxide than normal it will automatically pump fresh air.

Air Cleaners vary according to a number of factors such as their features, size, and long term performance. While you can make the decision yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional for selecting the best Air Cleaner.

  • Indoor Plantation

Indoor Plantation is a great and cheap way of maintaining the IAQ Plants needed as a bare-minimum investment, and they are great when it comes to cleaning the air.

 

Summary

Although, preventive measures and regular maintenance will improve IAQ.  The Cotocon Group possesses expertise and experience in the field.  A thorough audit is suggested for continuous and secure Indoor Air Quality.  It can help in making changes to your current building or proposed constructions so that fresh air is always present in your system.

The Cotocon Group caters to 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 and/or business LEED certified or call us at (212) 889-6566.

“By becoming LEED certified, the money I have saved has increased my profit over the last few years”

Did you know?  Large buildings waste about 30 percent of energy, according to the U.S Energy Information Administration, or EIA.  Efforts to find and eliminate energy waste can have a huge payoff.  Read more to find out how you can be Energy Smart.

The Cotocon Group is a New York City consulting agency that promotes energy efficient goals.  They also provide information and solutions on NYC Local Laws.  NYC Local Laws are enforced by the government.  Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of awareness about them which leads to an increase in violations.

Worried about capital expenditures?  Don’t be, 46-60 percent of potential energy savings in a building can typically be achieved through low or no-cost operational changes.  These changes come in the forms of optimizing equipment sequencing, use of outside air, or even night or weekend setbacks.

How does our team here at The Cotocon Group assist you in strategizing your energy management?

Simple. We help you

  • Evaluate dynamic pricing programs or energy efficiency incentives offered by your local utility
  • Analyze and understand your facilities current energy usage
  • Identify and assess your local energy procurement options

LEED certified buildings or Leadership in Energy and Environmental buildings

  • Implement practical and measurable green building design concepts
  • Rated on an open-ended, industry-consensus point scale for green building categories
  • Have a higher tenant retention rate and ultimately a greater asset values for their owners

Visit Us @ https://thecotocongroup.com

PSEG LI Rebate Programs provide customers with numerous types of incentives to not only save money but conserve energy.

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), is a municipal subdivision of the State of New York that oversees PSEG Long Island, the electricity service provider for most of Long Island.  LIPA currently is responsible for the oversight and ownership of the former LILCO electric grid on Long Island.

History: On December 15, 2011, LIPA selected Public Service Enterprise Group of New Jersey, the largest electric utility of that state, to take over management and operation of the electric grid from National Grid, starting in January 2014.  On July 29, 2013 the state legislature passed a law effectively transferring most of LIPA’s operations to PSEG beginning in 2014.  LIPA’s Long Island retail electric system provides electric service to over 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

In a bid to create a more sustainable future, PSEG LI provides its customers with various types of rebate programs.  If a customer complies with those standards, he/she is given financial incentives.  The rebate programs are meant to encourage energy efficient practices in order to save energy and resources.

Two types of incentive programs are;
1- Residential
2- Commercial

1- Residential Programs:

PSEG Long Island offers a plethora of incentives which help resident customers adopt more energy efficient equipment and appliances. Incentives are available for home energy audits and for purchase and installation of equipment like refrigerators, washers, dryers etc.

The Cool Homes Program provides rebates for both homeowners and contractors for the installation of energy efficient central air conditioning systems and air-source heat pumps.  Customers can from choose from list of specially-trained contractors.  They can also choose any licensed air conditioning contractor to install their preferred system.
As well as, customers may also choose to receive a free programmable thermostat of $300 value.  This would allow PSEG to remotely adjust the electricity use of the central AC.

In-home energy assessment is available through the PSEG’s Home Performance.  They can with ENERGY STAR program (for homes with central A/C) or through Home Performance Direct program (for homes without central A/C). These programs offer home energy audit at no additional cost.
The rebate amounts can be checked out at the PSEG LI website here.

2- Commercial  Programs:

As with the residential buildings, the PSEG Long Island offers a variety of incentives.  Incentives for its non-residential customers to increase the energy efficiency of facilities through the Commercial Efficiency Program. Major renovations of existing buildings and new construction projects are both eligible for this program.

There are several paths to choose from in the program, each one designed to fit the needs of a particular customer.

The Prescriptive Approach offers rebates on a pre-qualified list of energy-efficient equipment including lighting, compressed air, kitchen equipment, variable frequency drives, and HVAC equipment.

The Custom Approach offers funding for more complex energy-saving measures, perhaps measures unique to the building or business, which are not covered under the prescriptive approach.

Energy Assessment program provides free services for facilities to assess their energy demands and analyse energy conservation measures.  Based on the size of the facility the assessment will include 1-2 hour walk-through of a facility.  It will also provide recommendations on any efficiency upgrades and calculations for rebates and paybacks.

**The rebate amounts can be found out here.

 

-> The Cotocon group is a proud Technical Assistance Efficiency Partner of PSEG-LI.  Even more, they are equipped with a group of qualified and skilled professionals, such as; architects and engineers that can help you in achieving the CEP rebates to meet your energy saving goals.

Furthermore, they also cater to LEED Certifications, ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Certifications and more.  Get in touch with the Cotocon Group for any doubts or queries or call us at (212) 889-6566
You can also find us on the official PSEG-LI CEP Partner list here

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