Author: Bright Power

04 Jun

Village East Towers Gets Their Cogen Units Delivered

Bright Power CHP, Resiliency
Village East Towers receives their two 65 kW Capstone cogeneration units and backup generators. Generators are on the left and the cogeneration turbines are on the right.

 

Village East Towers (VET) had their two 65kW Capstone cogeneration units delivered the last week of May.

The project design pairs the two cogeneration units with backup generators for added resiliency. The cogeneration units will provide electrical and thermal energy savings for the residents along with backup power in the event of an electrical blackout.

Bright Power first began working with the board of VET, a 434-unit Mitchell-Lama multifamily residential cooperative located on East 10th Street and Avenue C, in 2016 to conduct a feasibility analysis. VET’s architect then hired Bright Power to provide Design and Implementation services to ensure project success. The scope of work also includes replacing some of the electrical infrastructures at the property.

Bright Power has been working with VET’s architects, contractors, and the board to complete the project – set to be completed later this summer. To help offset the cost of the project, the co-op received a $9.95 million federal resiliency grant from HUD that was locally administered by the HDC.

Read more about the exciting project here.

21 May

Bright Employee: Jamil Ellis

Bright Power Bright Employee

Jamil Ellis CTOWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. This month, we’re excited to introduce a new member of our team.

Meet Jamil Ellis, Chief Technology Officer.

What are some of the things you are excited about in your new role at Bright Power?
I always look to use my technology skills for good. I want what I do to have an impact and push the needle on creating more healthy buildings. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about using their skills to make a positive impact on the planet. I find that technology is better used when there is a real impact on the physical world and a big bonus if it saves the planet.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment for which you’re proud.
One of my first leadership experiences at Major League Baseball comes to mind. I worked to rebuild the entire video experience in one off-season. The deadline constraints coupled with my love of baseball made it especially rewarding.

What’s something people might not know about you?
I speak Ukrainian at home with my wife and daughter. My daughter is trilingual – she speaks Ukrainian, Spanish, and English. I’m also working on two podcasts in my spare time.  Take a listen here and here. I also love karaoke and organize this Meetup group.

What’s the future of technology look like at Bright Power?
The future of technology at Bright Power will be guided by everyone here at the organization. I want to start a continual conversation about what the future will bring. Technology is always changing and is not one size fits all. It will take all of us working together to get the right solutions for our business.

What are some trends that you are seeing in the industry that excite you?
Everything going on with smart buildings, sensors, and meters is game-changing. Specifically getting new data streams and using that data as another tool will allow us to even more effectively deliver the right solutions for each building.

15 May

Bright Power Honored as Rising Star in New Construction

Bright Power new construction

Anchin Construction Award

Pictured L to R: Andrea Mancino, Director of New Construction; Terri Pissi, Partner, Anchin; Jeffrey Perlman, President & Founder; Steven Aponte, Vice President, Operations & Finance; Jamin Bennett, Director of On-site Generation

We’re proud to announce that Bright Power has been selected as a Rising Star in New York Construction at the 2018 New York Construction Awards, Presented by Anchin.

In cooperation with the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC-NY), the American Institute of Architects – New York Chapter (AIA New York), the Subcontractors Trade Association (STA), and Willis Towers Watson, Anchin will recognize other leaders in New York Construction at their awards dinner held on June 14.  

30 Apr

Update to New York Local Law 84

Bright Power benchmarking, LL84 Tags: , ,

UPDATED April 30, 2018:

The City has extended the May 1, 2018 deadline for benchmarking buildings. The new deadline is December 31, 2018.

Benchmarking provides key insights on how buildings are performing at a specific point in time and how their performance compares to historical data.  When paired with a service like EnergyScoreCards, benchmarking becomes a strategic tool that unlocks areas of opportunity for energy and water efficiency optimization and savings.  It also sheds light on how a building’s performance compares to similar buildings in the same region.  

 


February 20, 2018:

The City has lifted the May 1, 2018 deadline and mandate for benchmarking buildings between 25,000 and 50,000 sq ft but also strongly recommends complying anyway.  While the deadline has been lifted for this May, the City will require submission in 2019.

We will benchmark any 25k to 50k buildings that have been identified in collaboration with our clients – not only will they have baseline data ahead of their peers, but they will be prepared should the City require submission later in 2018.


October 24, 2017

For the first time, owners of mid-size buildings above 25,000 square feet in New York will be required to submit their annual benchmarking reports. The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan approved this legislation last October and will go into effect next submission deadline, May 1, 2018.

Required buildings failing to report their energy and water data will receive a violation from the Department of Buildings and be fined $500 for each quarter of non-compliance, up to $2,000 per year.

Learn more about the changes here.

Other cities and states with local benchmarking policies can be found on Building Rating.

Have a building above 25,000 square feet that needs benchmarking?  Reach out to your Account Manager or contact us as soon as possible so we can ensure you are in compliance.

 

 

19 Apr

Groundbreaking Financing for Energy Upgrades in Affordable Housing: The “Pay from Savings” Approach

Bright Power affordable housing, California, carbon, efficiency, energy management

Mercy Housing

How do affordable housing organizations lower operating costs while keeping tenants comfortable? The obvious solution: upgrade buildings to use less energy and water and deliver better comfort. But it’s not so easy to secure funds to pay for efficiency upgrades. Even with incentive funds that are available from utilities and the government, owners have to get creative. With the “Pay from Savings” financing model, owners can complete efficiency improvements when they are needed most, rather than waiting for refinancing or taking out a secondary loan.

Mercy Housing: A Case Study

In 2016, Mercy Housing, one of the largest affordable housing nonprofits in the country, sought out assistance in upgrading its California portfolio of nearly 100 properties and 6,500 units.

As Mercy Housing’s energy and water management partner, Bright Power first used EnergyScoreCards, our cloud-based energy analysis and benchmarking platform, to understand areas of waste and underperformance. Then, we completed comprehensive onsite energy audits to identify the best opportunities for improvement. Mercy Housing, Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), and Bright Power prioritized phases of work based on factors including building performance, location, and available government and utility incentive programs like California’s Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP).  The first phase, which consists of six Mercy California properties, wrapped up the installation at the end of 2017.

The three organizations partnered on an innovative “pay from savings” financing approach, which gives Mercy Housing the ability to complete the upgrades and use project savings to pay for the upgrades over a 10-year period. In order to help finance the upfront cost of these projects, ACE recently secured funding through the Reinvestment Fund.

To ensure project returns, Bright Power will actively track and verify savings through EnergyScoreCards and engage with site staff to help optimize operations and maintenance. The efficiency upgrades being deployed across Mercy Housing’s California portfolio include new LED lighting in common areas and resident apartments, innovative heat pump hot water heating systems, low-flow fixtures on faucets and showerheads, domestic hot water controls, and pipe insulation.

Pay from Savings

ACE’s “pay from savings” approach is groundbreaking because it allows owners, like Mercy Housing, to take the savings generated from their energy and water efficiency upgrades and use them to pay for the upgrades over the next 10 years. That means while Mercy Housing is conducting business as usual, their efficiency upgrades will be paying for themselves.

Paying for the project in this way requires careful tracking of the energy and water savings pre- and post-retrofit. Bright Power’s EnergyScoreCards breaks down consumption and spend by end use to allow Bright Power, ACE, and Mercy Housing to monitor savings at the building and portfolio level. This rigorous monitoring was an important factor in securing the “pay from savings” financing for these projects.

Like all EnergyScoreCards clients, Mercy Housing is paired with a dedicated Energy Analyst to monitor their savings. Caleb Smeeth, Bright Power’s Energy Analyst for Mercy Housing said, “I pay close attention to the monthly performance of each project to ensure savings are consistently achieved. If the data begins to trend in a different direction, Bright Power has a hands-on approach to engage with the site staff to diagnose the issue remotely and deploy our California team for additional on-the-ground insights.”

Beyond tracking savings for financing purposes, Mercy Housing can also use this information to see which measures make the greatest impact. This allows Mercy Housing, Bright Power, ACE, and the Reinvestment Fund to forecast projects that will yield strong energy savings and maximize tenant comfort.

The Results from Phase I (6 Properties)

In just four months at 6 properties, Mercy Housing has seen:

  • 29% decrease in gas usage  
  • 9% decrease in electric usage
  • 4% decrease in water usage
  • 7% decrease in carbon emissions

After Mercy Housing expands these upgrades to nearly 100 properties—representing the majority of their California portfolio—they will see impressive estimated annual consumption reduction:

  • 2.1 million kWh electricity – equivalent to 234 homes’ annual electricity use
  • 23,000 therms natural gas – equivalent to driving across the US over 111 times
  • 32 million gallons of water – equivalent to over 48 Olympic sized swimming pools

“Combining the LIWP incentives with the ACE ‘Pay from Savings’ offering, we were able to achieve deep levels of retrofit at these properties in a way we could not have otherwise done. We hope to replicate this approach with more California incentive programs at other properties in our portfolio,” says Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing’s Environmental Sustainability Director. “It’s a model in which everyone wins—investors, subsidized housing owners, ACE and its partners, and, ultimately, our residents.”

With a model like this, affordable housing organizations can secure funding to meet the needs of their residents, improve tenant comfort, and reduce their carbon footprint. Caitlin couldn’t be more right—everyone wins.

 


 

For more information on Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), visit affordablecommunityenergyservices.com

For more information on Mercy Housing, visit mercyhousingblog.org

For more information on Reinvestment Fund, visit reinvestment.com

18 Apr

Bright Employee: Jamie Fales

Bright Power Bright Employee

Jamie Fales Bright Power

We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Jamie Fales, Field Engineer, Audit & Feasibility.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
The culture. Bright Power is filled with really smart people and we support each other in taking advantage of opportunities to learn. Everyone has the drive to prevent climate change. It’s even written in Bright Power’s mission. 

What advice would you give a property manager looking at energy efficiency projects for the first time?
Ensure your site staff are on the same page and speak the same language. It’s important to keep logs from maintenance rounds that note what changes were made and why they were made in the first place. It will give you better insight into resolutions to tenant complaints, continuing issues and what the site staff is struggling to control. Added benefit – logs can create a proactive maintenance culture.

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning, no question. You can install the most efficient equipment, but if you don’t set it up correctly you might as well have not installed it at all! It can be incredibly frustrating for an owner to have paid for new high-efficiency equipment and not see the results he or she was promised. Commissioning and retro-commissioning can save energy, extend the lifetime of HVAC equipment, and reduce tenant complaints.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
All of the Local Law 87 (LL87) work I do for our clients is something to be proud of. It starts as helping owners comply with a law, but these audits turn into something more. We’ve found major issues at buildings and fixed them. It’s amazing that you can change one thing and save the building a ton of money while lowering energy consumption.

With one client, they had installed a brand new air handler to cool the corridors. When I opened the access panels I found that the cooling coils had frozen over and nearly entirely choked off the airflow. This lead to overheated hallways even though the system was just replaced. We found that one issue early enough that the problem could be resolved before the cooling coils were permanently damaged or the room flooded. Thanks to LL87, the owner avoided a potential expense of thousands of dollars.

 

16 Apr

BFC Partners Receives Impact Award for Housing

Bright Power affordable housing

Congratulations to BFC Partners for receiving the Impact Award for Housing at CHPC’s 59th Annual Luncheon!  Don Capoccia, Principal at BFC Partners, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. 

BFC Partners’ work with Marvel Architects and SAGE USA to develop the Ingersoll Senior Residences is making history. The property will not only be NYC’s first affordable housing development built for seniors with services for the LGBT community, but it will also be the nation’s largest!

We’re proud to have consulted with the development team as part of their successful response to an NYCHA RFP, overseen by Juan Barahona, the Ingersoll Project Manager for BFC Partners. Additionally, Bright Power is providing energy efficiency services including:

  • Balanced ventilation for enhanced indoor air quality
  • Airtight and high-performance building envelope
  • High-efficiency HVAC system
  • High-efficiency lighting and controls strategies to enhance the ambiance
  • Solar PV design and installation
  • Secured Enterprise Green Communities certification

Ingersoll Senior Residences will also boast green roofs with local, drought-resistant plants for residents to enjoy and utilizes active design to encourage physical activity for seniors. By focusing on the future residents’ needs, BFC Partners, Marvel Architects, and SAGE USA are creating a community that will be a model for future senior housing.

08 Mar

Bright Employee: Colleen Woodson

Bright Power Bright Employee

Colleen WoodsonWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Colleen Woodson, Chief of Staff.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is definitely on this list. That was a 2-year research project where we got to study 500 properties to determine if hands-on benchmarking results in energy and water savings in buildings. (Spoiler: it does!) It was an awesome experience to work with amazing partners and participants. You can read more about EnergyScoreCards Minnesota here.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?
People may not know I’m a mechanical engineer. I think my engineering background helped me learn about solving problems of all kinds. Understanding parameters, stating assumptions, and methodically working through a problem is a skill that’s been useful to apply in lots of scenarios.

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
That’s an unfair question! Our services are most valuable to clients when they are combined with one another. Serving our clients with all the expertise we have in-house – engineering, data, analysis, software, procurement, new construction, on-site generation – is what makes us unique and able to provide more value to our clients.

You were promoted to Chief of Staff after managing the Energy Analysis team for 2 years last summer. How did your experience leading the Energy Analysis team prepare you for this role?
Being a part of, and then managing, the Energy Analysis (EA) team gave me a great perspective on the whole company. The EA team interacts with every team at Bright Power on many types of projects. Seeing first-hand the communication between EAs, Software Development, Account Managers, East and West Coast engineering Teams, and our internal Operations team – I saw a lot of diverse needs and situations. Working on processes for the Energy Analyst team naturally meant I had to understand other teams’ processes and needs, which really prepared me for the unique challenges as Chief of Staff: coordinating the diverse needs of the organization while effectively communicating across the company.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, what advice can you give to women starting their careers in the energy industry?
Oh boy, I could give a lot of advice! Here are two that come to mind:

  • Ask for feedback. The way feedback works in a work environment is drastically different from how it works at school, and I’ve found that to be one of the harder adjustments for folks early in their career. Get in the habit of asking your manager, coworkers, and clients what they thought of the work you delivered, and then be open and receptive to their response!  The more specific, the easier it will be for both of you. Try out asking questions like: “Was that email clear and concise enough?” and “Would you have gone about this any differently?”
  • Surround yourself with diverse examples. Look for people (ladies, especially look for other women!) who have made different decisions about their lives and careers, and talk to them. When I took on a promotion after returning from maternity leave, I spoke to women who made different decisions about taking on more responsibility while they had young children. Having different (see a trend?) real-life examples helped me imagine what it would be like to make that decision, feel confident that I could make the right decision, and that all of these options were possible! In real life! When it’s time to make a big decision, I strongly encourage you to take stock of the people you know and purposely seek out a diversity of experience. It helps to have reference points in many directions to really imagine the range of possibilities for yourself.
13 Feb

Bright Employee: Jamie Bemis

Bright Power affordable housing, Bright Employee

Jamie Bemis Bright PowerWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Jamie Bemis, Account Manager.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
I love the work we do here. It’s creative and challenging, and it’s closely aligned with my values. As an Account Manager with affordable and supportive housing clients in New York City, I get to wake up every day and feel like I am contributing to making the City a more resilient and sustainable place. Because I am passionate about mitigating the impacts of climate change, as well as social and environmental justice, it’s really gratifying to see our projects reduce utility burdens on low-income residents in NYC, and directly contribute to the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goal of 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Today, cities across the globe are taking the lead towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. I’m proud to say Bright Power is helping NYC to be a leader in this effort by ensuring all new buildings we work on are built to the highest standard of building performance and each existing building we touch becomes more energy and water efficient.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
I am proud of all of our clients, many of whom do not have a background in energy efficiency and sustainability, but who nevertheless spearhead innovative projects that incorporate cutting-edge techniques around high-performance building design and on-site generation. For instance, St. Nick’s Alliance just won the Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) RFP for Dekalb Commons in Brooklyn. Two of the buildings will be certified Passive House and will include rooftop solar PV systems. This will be St. Nick’s first Passive House project, demonstrating a willingness to try new things and push the envelope around high-performance building design. I find it particularly inspiring to see these types of projects in the affordable housing sector, where budgets are always tight. A few years ago, developers and city officials would have said that affordable housing couldn’t be designed with high-performance techniques due to the cost and the lack of expertise in the industry. Thankfully, this conversation has shifted dramatically in the past few years, and we’re seeing more and more developers, architects, and engineers who are excited about the opportunity to create innovative, beautiful, healthy, and sustainable residences for low-income New Yorkers. The Dekalb Commons project is a perfect example of this.I am also proud to work closely with Settlement Housing Fund, the Related Companies, Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY), RiseBoro Community Partnership, Banana Kelly, Workforce Housing, B&B Urban, among others.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?
A lot of people don’t know that I am a mechanical engineer. After college, I worked for an MEP firm designing HVAC systems for mission critical facilities like clean rooms and laboratories. Later, in graduate school, I conducted research for the Sustainable Design Lab in MIT’s Building Technology Department. I was the only city planning student in our research group. I loved translating our building-specific research techniques onto urban-scale problems, especially trying to address the immense challenge of creating more sustainable coastal cities. Now, my engineering background allows me to have informed conversations with clients as well as with Bright Power’s engineering team.

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
I think our New Construction (NC) service is particularly beneficial. Capturing energy efficiency opportunities during a renovation or a new construction project is a huge opportunity that is too often missed. Investments in energy efficiency during the design phase pay dividends over the life of the building, in terms of reduced O&M costs, utility cost savings, and tenant comfort and well-being. The subject matter expertise our NC team brings is critical. From Passive House to Enterprise Green Communities and more, they understand the cutting edge of green design techniques—many of which are constantly evolving—and bring this to design teams. In this capacity, our clients can rely on us to provide strategic advice that incorporates cost-effectiveness, long-term impacts, indoor air quality, maintenance concerns, risk management, and more. Part of the reason we have so many returning clients is that once they see the value of this service, they return over and over again. It’s one of my favorite services to sell because for me it’s such a no-brainer for our clients.

We hear you’re going to Germany – what are you going to do there?
Yes! In March I will be traveling to Germany as a McCloy Fellow (a transatlantic professional exchange program sponsored by the American Council on Germany) to study innovations in the built environment and climate change mitigation efforts. My hope is to meet with individuals from across the industry to explore how cities are responding to the needs of a changing climate. To answer this question, I will look at three specific consequences of global warming: global migration and growing urban populations; the shift to green energy supply and distribution; and green building design. By exploring how these specific issues are being addressed in local communities across Germany, I will gain insight on best practices, lessons learned, and key strategies that can be implemented here in the United States. I used to live in Germany, so for me, this is both an opportunity to learn from the cutting edge of our profession, while also a return to my roots in some ways. And I am thrilled to be bringing new subject matter expertise to all of our clients at Bright Power so that we can continue to push the envelope here in New York and build residences that are fit for the 21st century. You can read more about my trip here

24 Jan

Bright Employee: Catharine Brookes

Bright Power Bright Employee, procurement

Catharine BrookesWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Catharine Brookes, Procurement Analyst.

How have you seen your work directly impact clients? 
One of the best benefits of energy procurement is that when we help a building enter a contract our clients can realize savings on their next bill.  Like other energy decisions (think projects), you do not have to calculate your payback period.  There are no upfront costs and you can secure your rates for the future.  In volatile energy markets, this can protect a building’s budget and help owners focus on other areas of their business.

 

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
This year I assisted a client with a multi-state procurement on a $1.6 million annual spend.  The resulting contracts will equate to an 11% annual savings in the following year. I’m also proud to have worked with affordable and supportive housing groups through our Bulk Energy Procurement Initiative (BEPI), such as Breaking Ground, Community Access, and Jericho Project, as well as some of our other clients like Akelius, CitizenM Hotel, Mercy Housing, Eastchester Heights, Gateway Arms Realty, and the Princeton Club.

 

What do you like most about working at Bright Power?

At Bright Power, our work has a very direct impact on the places we call our homes.  Whether it be working in new construction or a retrofit, our work will have lasting effects on a tenant’s comfort, safety, and likely their pocketbook, as we strive to make improvements to the buildings’ heating/cooling, lighting, and water use.  Equally, our work supports New York City’s wider sustainability goals of 80 by 50.  Bright Power is proactively thinking about how we can make the biggest impact through participation in studies like the Retrofit Accelerator or assisting lenders to devise green loan programs.  In that way, Bright Power is always striving.  For example, every Thursday, Bright Power brings in inspiring or technical experts in related fields during a company lunch to encourage a dynamic of “continuous improvement” in its employees in the same way that we treat our client’s buildings.