Month: September, 2014
We at Bright Power applaud Mayor de Blasio for his ambitious plan – One City: Built to Last – to cut greenhouse gas emissions. For years, we’ve argued that while any effort to reduce energy waste is a step in the right direction, nothing beats buildings. If we’re really going to save the planet, we have to start by fixing the inefficient aspects of our built environment. Buildings account for 30% of the world’s energyconsumption and 20%-40% of that typically goes to waste. Addressing this clear and unnecessary performance issue is the obvious place to start the fight against climate change.
Ironically, energy use is the only thing you can reduce in a building that increases the comfort and happiness of the people who live and work there. Anyone who’s ever been in an NYC apartment in the dead of winter with the windowsopen because it was too hot inside knows just how true this is. My wife teaches in a City school and leads the class with her coat on, not because the heat isn’t on, but because they blast the air conditioning to cool the building back down after it’s been overheated — you just can’t make this stuff up.
This cuts to the most ambitious part of the Mayor’s plan: his commitment to retrofit every single city-owned building by 2025. At Bright Power, we love when we get the chance to help a client design their building to be “green” from the beginning but we still need practical solutions for the buildings we already have — 80% of the buildings currently built will still be here in 2050. Retrofits of existing buildings are the most pragmatic and cost-effective approach to reducing the impact of NYC’s building stock and the City will see real savings, comfort improvements, and significant emission reductions from day one. Even more importantly, in leading by example, the City is “putting its money where its mouth is” and will be able to show building owners throughout NYC that this stuff really works.
The one concern we at Bright Power have about this plan is the ambiguity surrounding how results will be tracked and verified — if we don’t watch the results both initially and forever, we could easily find ourselves back at square one in a few years. In our work, we track everything we do to improve buildings and use our database of benchmarking data — the largest database of multifamily energy use data in the country — to demonstrate the impact over time. Measuring is only the first step. If you don’t watch the measures after implementation, it’s inevitable that “creep” occurs and the benefits of your efforts gradually fade away.
That’s the tricky part of energy management. The plan alludes to a database the City will use to track its progress towards the goals and we are anxious to hear more about that. It’s a brilliant move to have complete transparency about this initiative because that will prove to the skeptics that the initiatives are actually working. Hopefully, this will be an independent platform as we know once the data is in spreadsheets, it can easily be massaged and manicured. If we do this right, though, the truth will stand on its own and we will have set a precedent of what’s possible for the rest of the world. If you can make it here…
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Bright Power is proud to welcome Brian Klansky to the team! Brian officially joined us this month as our first Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Before coming to Bright Power, Brian was most recently Vice President of Sales and Marketing at US Energy. He joined to the clean tech industry after moving from M5 Networks, a leader in cloud telephony, for seven years. With almost 20 years experience managing and building top performing sales organizations, we are excited about what he adds to the team. I recently sat down with the man of the hour to hear his thoughts on his latest endeavor.
Why us? What drew you to Bright Power initially?
What drove me to Bright Power was the people I met and the opportunity to solve a large problem. No one is owning buildings’ energy problems with the intention of actually reducing energy waste, it was a clear hole in the market. With that in mind, we can build a great business and help save the planet.
What do you hope to achieve as VP of Sales and Marketing?
We need a scalable sales model. My job is to find, hire and manage great people so we can grow revenue fast. I will also be leading the charge on an energy management as a service (EMaaS) platform.
Where do you see the company going?
Well, we are 100% going to California but we still have a huge business to grow here in NY. We plan on expanding our presence in the hotel market as there are many parallels to the multifamily market in terms of energy use and misuse.
How would you describe the current state of energy management in multifamily buildings? In New York? Across the country? Where does Bright Power fit in?
Energy management is broken. We can fix it. Incentive programs come and go, and set it and forget it installations don’t work. Without someone watching the whole picture at all times, inefficient energy usage can creep back into the picture, even after energy conservation measures have been taken. We see it every day. With that kind of result, it’s no wonder owners are skeptical of energy efficiency. The risk of taking action is outweighed by the risk of unhappy tenants not paying rent, every time. The good news is we have the right people and software to make sure the creep doesn’t come back. We can truly own energy issues. Now we just have to convince people that this is a fixable problem.We have a head start, let’s not waste it.
Check out the formal announcement of Brian’s arrival via Greentech Media here.
You know that vast patch of parking lots you see right before you get on the Williamsburg Bridge? Take a good mental picture because it won’t be there for long. Instead, this is the future home of Essex Crossing, a development that will consist of nine mixed-use and mixed-income sites which will effectively reshape the face of the neighborhood. On top of that, the L+M Development Partners project was recently awarded an Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant for their commitment to neighborhood sustainability, making the development an even greater upgrade from the current swath of pavement.
Sponsored by The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Bank of America, the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program is in its third year of providing support and resources to developers of affordable housing projects seeking LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) certification. This year, eleven winners were chosen based on their ability to elevate the design and sustainability of an affordable green neighborhood while meeting various environmental and social criteria such as creating a mixed-income community, redeveloping infill and previously developed sites, engaging stakeholders in the development process and revitalizing both the project area and the surrounding community.
Essex Crossing does just that. Not only will each building in the Seward Park mega-project pursue LEED ND certification, but as it is such a large project, the team has the opportunity to provide resources and foster sustainable practices that will envelop an entire neighborhood and improve the quality of life of residents for generations to come. The site-to-be will feature a slew of amenities including garden spaces, shops, a movie theater and The Andy Warhol Museum to name a few, but its sustainability plan is what nabbed the grant, and we are proud to be working with L+M on such an exciting and beneficial project.
Our response to the recent announcement of WegoScore, as reported by Energy Manager Today. Read the full story here.
Flashy dashboards are just that and numbers don’t make decisions. Our competitors seem to think that using their latest algorithm to give you a single number that describes the efficiency of your building is sufficient, while you’re left to hash out everything that comes after it (along with the billion other things you have to do this week). At Bright Power, we’ve got superb algorithms and a dashboard that is used by more multifamily square footage than any other, but we take issue with dashboard-only offerings because they only address a piece of the puzzle without providing you with truly actionable information.
In general, people need experts to help them set plans to achieve desirable results. Take CrossFit for example – a made-to-order fitness regimen that consists of many functional movements performed at a high intensity. The science behind why it works is interesting enough, but that’s not the reason why they’ve experienced an obscene amount of growth over the last few years. The reason for their success is simple: they lay out your workout for you, you do it (and don’t have to think about it), and it works. Most gyms have you figure it out for yourself, which is probably why my gym membership has gone largely unused since I first signed up 6 months ago. To property managers and building owners, energy management presents the same exact problem: they know that they should be doing it, and they know that if they do, they’ll see some great results. The problem is that they don’t have anyone laying out a comprehensive plan to help them get there.
Energy service companies have been using complex algorithms to describe the overall energy efficiency of their clients’ buildings for years now, but in order to make real changes and see real savings, you need a real plan. There’s no doubt that benchmarking plays a pivotal role in helping building owners better understand their energy and water consumption, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. What our competitors fail to realize is that a glossy dashboard alone isn’t enough to drastically reduce energy consumption, cut utility costs, and decrease carbon emissions. You need a team of experts whose mission is to not only monitor the performance of your buildings, but also to lay out a comprehensive energy management plan that will increase efficiency and reduce capital expenditures at your property. Simply put: you need someone who is going to take care of your energy problems for you so that you can get back to focusing on what you do best.
I always find it interesting when non-energy publications try to tell an energy story. The results are usually mixed. Earlier today, this short article about nation-wide electric price increases in the first six months of 2014 says just that. However it leaves out the meat of the story, the meat being why electric prices were so high. The answer lies in how the electric markets work.
Natural gas is the price setting fuel for electric generation in many parts of the US, particularly on the East Cost. This just means that because it is the main fuel source consumed, the price of electricity moves with the price of natural gas. Historically, wholesale natural gas prices are lower in the “spot” (a.k.a. cash) market where prices are determined shortly before the commodity is needed (say less than a month or even on a daily basis.) Electricity generators know this all too well and so they do not hedge very much of the supply. As a result, when natural gas prices spike as they did this past winter, the increase in natural gas costs are passed along to the electric market in their bidding process.
For consumers, this materializes in a price spike from both ends: heating costs and electric prices soar at the same time. With so many variables, it can be difficult to understand why these two seemingly-unrelated spikes would occur in unison but it’s actually because they are inherently related. Natural gas is calling all the shots.
Vice President, Energy Markets