The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the winners of a design competition Wednesday as part of an effort to cut its $380 million annual energy bill.
The agency’s 2,547 buildings use about 40% more energy than privately owned multifamily buildings. However, the authority has been historically cash-strapped and has struggled to meet its more pressing capital needs, such as repairing leaky roofs, making extensive energy retrofits difficult to fund.
Rather than trying to replace building systems entirely, the authority and the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, which jointly made Wednesday’s announcement, challenged private companies to pitch solutions that work in tandem with the existing NYCHA infrastructure. The three winning teams—H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design, Sentient Buildings, and Applied Thermal Solutions and Maxi-Therm—will pay for the installation of the products in the hope that, if successful, they’ll be hired to roll out the technology across more of the city’s public housing stock.
“The challenge was, bring us technology that will help reduce energy consumption without changing the building’s fundamental systems,” said Bomee Jung, NYCHA’s vice president of energy and sustainability.
The competition focused on two specific types of NYCHA developments. For example, nearly all of the authority’s complexes use a single electricity meter for the entire building. Without getting any feedback, tenants tend to use quadruple the amount of energy compared to similar buildings with meters for each apartment.
To cut down on usage, a partnership between H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design plans to install sensors on window-mounted air-conditioning units that regulate the compressor during peak energy usage, when watts are most expensive, while still allowing the unit to run. The switch would reduce air-conditioning energy usage by up to 60%.
The 51 buildings heated by steam from Consolidated Edison, on the other hand, are much more expensive to operate than those heated by gas, and much of that energy is wasted.
“The majority of old buildings are providing heat based on the outdoor temperature only, without really paying attention to what is happening inside,” said Justin Rumack, chief operating officer of Sentient Buildings. “So you get units that are way overheated, and tenants compensate by opening their windows.”
Sentient Buildings will install wireless thermostats that are powered by ambient light in apartments and can communicate with a valve attached to a radiator. When the apartment reaches the desired temperature, the valve will shut off, allowing residents and managers to monitor the climate—and save NYCHA money.
Steam Water Heater Technology
In the same buildings, Applied Thermal Solutions and Maxi-Therm will install a system to heat hot water with Con Ed steam up to 20% more efficiently. Maxi-Therm technology is based on unique vertical flooding steam heat exchanger design that not only allows energy savings but also reduce maintenance costs and take less space in mechanical rooms which can result in more renting square feet.
The Con Ed steam comes into these buildings at a pressure too high for NYCHA’s antiquated systems, meaning the authority simply lets some of it burn off before using it to heat hot water.
“That is just energy lost,” said Jeff Bailey, head of Applied Thermal Solutions.
Bailey plans to install a new system that uses the full pressure of the incoming steam, making hot water production up to 20% more efficient.
To know more about Maxi-Therm visit maxi-therm.net
CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS – Joe Anuta
NYCHA news: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/press/pr-2017/nycha-mayors-office-of-tech-and-innovation-announce-winning-proposals-to-improve-energy-efficiency-20170315.page
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