14 Aug

Bright Employee: Pete Peterson

Bright Power Bright Employee

Jeffry Pete PetersonWe’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 Pete Peterson, Chief Financial Officer.

What are some of the things you are excited about in your new role at Bright Power?
The entrepreneurial spirit of the people at Bright Power. Not only is everyone proud of the company’s growth to date, but they are excited to continue to grow and scale. Everyone has been welcoming, encouraging, and eager to help me do the things I’m here to do.

Bright Power has done a great job of becoming the organization it is today: sustainable and impactful. My expertise is in helping companies of this size get to the next level, and, only a few weeks in, I can say that we’re well on our way to get there.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment for which you’re proud.
I’ve been able to hit the ground running at Bright Power thanks to cross-departmental collaboration. Before Bright Power, I was with a company that grew from $30M to over $350M with global reach over the course of 15 years through 8 acquisitions and 3 startups. We ended up with a group of 15 small companies. That experience turned me into a small company expert.

What’s something people might not know about you?
I build wooden boats as a hobby. I started with one of my sons who is a clammer and needed a boat.  I’ll take wood I find and turn it into something beautiful. Take a look at this canoe I built out of an old cedar deck. Now, I’m in the middle of making my three kids surfboards made out of a recycled redwood picnic table.

What are some trends that you are seeing in the industry that excite you?
At the beginning of the industry, there were the very green early adopters. But now, sustainability has become mainstream and widely accepted – it’s hard not to when it will save you money. The growth is almost endless.

23 Jul

Bright Employee: Jesse Petersen

Bright Power Bright Employee

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 Jesse Petersen, Sales Operations Manager.

 

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?

I like working with people who can think for themselves and are discerning when presented with information. We have a working environment where my colleagues strive to be constructive, challenge you to question what you think you know, and they work hard to help each other learn. This approach accelerates one’s growth in their everyday job.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?

Putting rhyme and reason to our pricing process through collaboration with the Account Management, Engineering, and Operations teams. This includes formalizing our service products and standardizing our scopes of work for each of Bright Power’s 83 (yeah that many) service offerings. I don’t think Google even has that many service offerings!

Establishing stronger relationships with the implementation contractors and utilities as a key incentive program partner. Many programs look to us for direction in their program design and often elicit our input before rolling out new or revised incentive programs. I think I’ve made a positive contribution to that process in advocating on behalf of our clients’ interests be it with the Public Service Commission, ConEdison, NYSERDA, PSE&G, the NJ BPU, or with the implementation contractors in California.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?

I have a hand in many facets of our business and have worked with each executive and their teams on various projects. I work regularly with the Engineering Directors to develop our scopes of services and price our contracts, and have even occasionally taken on project management duties. I also provide our engineers advisory support on incentive program project staging and incentive payment coordination. In the recent past, I’ve worked with the Energy Analysts on generating utility usage data sets to identify sites for potential Distributed Energy Resource (DER) applications, developed Salesforce re-designs for our pricing intake process with the Operations team, assisted Legal with modifying the terms and conditions of our contracts, and have co-authored responses to RFPs&Qs for our Executive and Strategic Initiatives teams.

As Bright Power’s Sales Operations Manager, I combine the work I do across divisions to build the infrastructure we need to improve our business and operational needs with the work of distilling technical and programmatic information (including incentives, financing, and public policy) for the Account Managers and their clients.

What are some of the incentive programs you’ve worked with and which of these have worked really well for our clients?

As primary liaison for Bright Power’s incentive program partnerships, I’ve worked with NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP), NY-Sun, Combined Heat-and-Power (CHP), and Real-Time Energy Management (RTEM) programs as well as ConEdison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency (MFEEP), Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency (CIEEP), Demand Management (DMP), and Non-Wires Solutions programs here in New York. I’ve also worked closely with the Board of Public Utilities’ clean energy programs and the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) in New Jersey. Other states and programs I’ve been active in include Connecticut’s Energize CT Program, the Mass Save Program in Massachusetts, Pepco’s Multifamily programs in Maryland and Washington D.C., as well as California-based multifamily programs in the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCal Gas service territories.

I think the NY-Sun incentive program has worked pretty well in making solar more accessible for our clients. It shaves a good percentage off our costs for installing solar systems and is structured in a way that’s transparent and easy to understand. The MW-block structure allows us to know in advance the amount of incentives a project is eligible for before the work begins and that predictability makes the prospect of installing solar a more convincing proposition. This incentive has also been bolstered by the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and the precipitous decline in the cost of solar PV modules over the last decade but the NY-Sun incentive has made the investment decision easier, particularly in New York City where it can still be quite expensive to do solar work. Since 2000, the NY-Sun program has incentivized over 217 MW of installed capacity (DC) in the “small commercial” sector alone–that’s the project sector Bright Power participates in the most. This sector represents 20% of all the installed capacity in the state that’s gone through the NY-Sun program. Bright Power has installed over 6 MWs of solar since 2010 which is an impressive chunk of that market, especially when you consider the constraints of working with limited roof space in the five boroughs of New York City.

23 Jul

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update July 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

A hot summer puts winter on edge.

The Bottom Line

With the record hot summer continuing, storage of natural gas is becoming an issue. For now, up-to-date prices for electricity and natural gas still compare favorably to 2016 and 2017 rates and present opportunities to reduce costs through both fixed and variable supply contracts.

What to know about 2018

Currently, wholesale natural gas prices are 8% lower than 2017. The summer 2018 favorable pricing may reverse as the year continues. Above normal temperatures cause high gas demand for electric generation to meet cooling needs. This, coupled with increased exports of liquified natural gas (LNG), will reduce the amount of gas available for winter and cause upward pressure on rates. If you have contracts expiring in 2018, we recommend exploring replacement agreements sooner than later.

Why Act Now

The changes in market conditions ahead increase the risk of higher prices and are clear signals to now to assess your supply options for electric and natural gas. Look to protect costs this winter by acting while rates are low.

Temperature Probability Maps

This summer may be the hottest on record. An El Niño effect is forecasted for this fall and winter, which may lower rates by creating milder temperatures. The orange/red in the maps below indicate heat increases from normal. Continued hot weather will cause upward pressure on pricing, while a mild fall and winter can mean low energy demand and low prices.

Summer 2018

 

 

Fall 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Winter 2019

 

18 Jul

Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Why it Matters

Danielle Brocker Energy & water management

Having an energy and water strategy in place — and sticking to it — will help to improve building and portfolio performance. A successful strategy helps you to look at your entire portfolio and prioritize your investments, source and secure incentives and financing, install improvements, and measure the data to verify the success and best inform other opportunities.

Why it Matters

Several of our clients have strategies that allow them to realize benefits beyond their goals. While you might strive to achieve only 1 or 2 of the below, you can often realize additional, unexpected benefits when you deploy a coordinated strategy with an expert. This is why many leading organizations work with us to make it a priority.

  • Lower operating costs
  • Reduce waste
  • Secure more attractive financing
  • Receive incentives
  • Reduce maintenance headaches
  • Increase property value
  • Increase NOI with new investment opportunities
  • Improve tenant comfort and retention
  • Receive certifications like LEED or ENERGY STAR
  • Diminish risk of project delays
  • Drive corporate sustainability goals
  • Reduce negative environmental impacts
  • Increase operating cash flow for the life of a building

Map it Out

No matter your current approach to sustainability, we can help you create your strategic roadmap. As an energy and water management partner, Bright Power helps develop an organization-specific strategy and implement it successfully. Our Find, Fix, Follow approach ensures we recommend the right strategy for each portfolio and owner. How does it work? We Find areas of energy and water waste using utility bills; Fix buildings to perform optimally through our turnkey energy audits and retrofits; Follow the data to ensure every project achieves its goals.

Using the steps below, under our Find, Fix, Follow approach, you can feel confident no stone will be left unturned and your strategy will be integrated.

Bright Power's Find, Fix, Follow Approach

Mercy Housing utilized our Find, Fix, Follow approach to breakthrough challenges and define what success meant to them. Partnering with Bright Power and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), Mercy Housing sought to upgrade 80+ California properties. We prioritized the improvements across the properties in the most cost-effective way, bundling financing, incentives, and high-impact upgrades. The entire project is being implemented in phases and anticipates the last set of properties to be completed by early 2020.

Mercy Housing is able to utilize a “Pay from Savings” financing model to complete efficiency improvements when they are needed most, rather than waiting for refinancing or taking out a secondary loan. Addressing Mercy Housing’s challenges head on allowed us to find the best solution for them. Learn more about Mercy Housing’s strategy for implementing energy and water projects here.

Easier Said Than Done

Like everything in life, sticking to a plan is easier said than done. The importance of sticking to your strategy may seem obvious but it keeps your team accountable and helps you avoid costly delays.  Keeping your goals and benefits top of mind and in plain sight while you implement your strategy will help keep the commitment alive. The good news is that you can rely on an expert like Bright Power to guide your organization throughout the entire strategy, execute implementation, and be your champion to remind you why staying on track is valuable. 

Remember, energy and water improvements don’t go out of style like interior upgrades. Here are a few tips to staying on track and keeping to it:

  • Budget in advance.
  • Create tangible milestones that you know you will keep, and be realistic.
  • If you don’t have the in-house bandwidth, then get help from experts.
  • Look to others within your organization and outside for examples of what works best.
  • Post a visual reminder of the value and results you will see if you stay on track – it keeps you motivated.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for future blogs in which I will share insights from owners and operators that are leaders in sustainability — including lessons learned and best practices for implementing an energy and water strategy.

Missed last week’s “Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Where to Start?” Check it out here.

13 Jul

Implementing Your Energy and Water Strategy: Where to Start

Danielle Brocker Energy & water management

Making good on annual energy and water performance goals is hard.

Whether you’re a building owner or operator, work on-site or in a corporate office, your day-to-day work life does not revolve around energy and water performance. Other, more seemingly urgent priorities arise that continually postpone analyzing and taking action on energy and water usage. But, by devoting a small, focused amount of time, you can develop an energy and water strategy that will result in more efficient, sustainable, and profitable buildings. 

You can do this! And here’s how.

Set Tangible Goals

Take Bozzuto Management Company. In 2015, they sought to reduce energy across all company-managed properties and establish corporate sustainability goals. Bozzuto defined specific targets like their annual 3% energy savings portfolio goal, joined an energy efficiency initiative under U.S. Department of Buildings’ Better Buildings Challenge, and established a goal of increasing recycling by a minimum of 5% year over year across all communities.

By establishing a meaningful and achievable goal – the first of many focused on sustainability – we are able to share with our clients that we too are committed to high performance. We can work in partnership with them while growing and promoting a culture of sustainable operations internally.”

Peter Zadoretzky
Director of Sustainability, Bozzuto Management Company


Design and Implement Your Strategy

The first step many Bright Power clients, like Bozzuto, take to implement their energy and water strategy is to benchmark their properties. Through an analytics tool like our EnergyScoreCards™ cloud-based platform, they can gain a deeper understanding of their energy and water consumption, identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement, and measure and verify results after project implementation.

Realize Benefits

By defining their goals, outlining a tangible strategy, and implementing it, Bozzuto was able to achieve a 3% energy reduction in 2017 across their whole portfolio. This decrease in energy usage translates to nearly $1 million in savings compared to 2016 data measured in EnergyScoreCards and over $15.5 million in increased asset value across the entire portfolio. Not to mention being awarded ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the second year in a row and named Property Management Company of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), showcasing that you don’t have to choose between doing what’s right for your business and for the environment.

Clients like Bozzuto Management Company are proving that with a sound energy and water strategy in place, goals can be met.

Continue reading here to learn why having an energy and water strategy is important, how to get projects done more holistically, and tips to staying on track so that you can reach your goals.

27 Jun

Why We Worry With Weather Weirdness

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

Of the many things that move energy prices, weather is the most obvious of all. The equation is simple. Extreme cold in winter requires more fuel for heating, demand goes up, therefore price goes up. But not all temperature changes are as obvious as winter cold = high prices or summer heat = high prices.

Shoulder months (months between winter and summer) are often considered slow periods for energy price volatility. But even these calm periods can move the market. Unfortunately, this past April and May are good examples of how unexpected temperatures can alter market conditions.

You won’t be surprised to hear that outdoor temperatures are measured at thousands of locations around the country. But did you know that those figures are used to create a special metric measured by how much temperatures vary from a 65-degree benchmark? In winter these are known as “heating degree days – HDD” (degrees under 65) and in summer as “cooling degree days – CDD” (degrees over 65). The greater the number, the more heating or cooling is required.

In the tables below you can see the heating degree days for April and May and the cooling degree days for May. April was 36% colder than the five year average for the month, while May was 47% warmer. Additionally, May was so warm that it used 57% more cooling degree days than the five-month average.

HDD CDD April May 2018

So, why do we care?

We care because the temperature swings in these months have a direct impact on natural gas usage, stored volumes, and, ultimately, natural gas and electric prices. The combined effect of April and May 2018 produced an elevation in prices into a new and higher trading range (about a 3% increase). All supply bought for next winter is impacted by these months and will remain in place until the next market shift.

So What’s Ahead? El Niño, maybe.

Over the past few months, the surface water temperature in the Pacific has been rising and is heading toward an El Niño effect later this fall. So what does this mean for us?  Simply put, it will create warmer weather in the north, creating a change in the jet stream that will reduce the impact (but not the number of) hurricanes. The overall effect of El Niño is a moderately bearish change (unless usage and prices drop). While the arrival of El Niño and its strength are still uncertain, we can definitely take away an important lesson from this spring: when it comes to weather, expect the unexpected.

26 Jun

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update June 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

Summer begins. Still a buying opportunity.

The Bottom Line

Current prices for electricity and natural gas compare favorably to 2017 rates and present opportunities to reduce costs through supply contracts. Today’s lower prices are supported by record high levels of natural gas production.

What to know about 2018

While today’s prices are still low, there is concern this hot summer will cause high demand for electric generation to meet cooling needs. Continued increasing exports of liquified natural gas (LNG) will reduce available gas for winter storage. If both a hot summer and increased exports occur, there may be a reversal and prices may rise this summer and winter. If you have contracts expiring in 2018 or early 2019, you will want to price them early and evaluate your timing on completing your supply contracts. If you are receiving procurement services from Bright Power, we are already completing or planning this evaluation for you.

Why Act Now

In the past month, hot weather and hot forecasts have buoyed prices up, while increased production of gas has kept prices in range. These factors may fall out of balance, increasing the risk of higher prices this summer and winter. As many property owners and managers are risk averse, it is clearly a time to protect prices this summer and to prepare to capture the winter prices if the market remains favorable.

25 Jun

Mercy Housing Wins NAA’s ROE Energy Retrofit Award

Bright Power affordable housing, California

“On June 16 Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partner Mercy Housing was honored with the National Apartment Association’s (NAA’s) Return on Energy (ROE) Energy Retrofit Award. The award recognizes smart, innovative solutions that successfully reduce energy in a quantifiable way by showing estimated return on investment (ROI) at an individual property.”

In partnership with Mercy Housing and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE), Bright Power provided the following services at 205 Jones Street Apartments:

  • Installed heat pump hot water heating system
  • Installed Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
  • Insulated pipes
  • Upgraded LED lighting in common areas & resident apartments
  • Implemented low-flow fixtures on faucets & shower heads
  • Installed ENERGY STAR® washing machines

Read more here via Better Buildings.

 

21 Jun

Water is an Important Part of the Conservation Equation

James Henshaw water
Photograph by James Henshaw

Many Americans do not anticipate or expect water shortages. Most of us are very accustomed to simply turning a faucet, or hose handle, to enjoy a continuous flow of clean water. This expectation might explain why so many of us take access to clean water for granted. But, the reality is that the water supply is increasingly fragile all around the world as consumption is increasing, primarily due to:

  1. Dramatic worldwide population growth, from roughly 2.5 billion in 1950 to an estimated 7.6 billion in 2018.
  2. Increased development, urbanization, and quality of life improvements. As populations continue to develop, urbanization increases and the demand for water per capita grows.
  3. The effects of climate change, including longer and more severe droughts.
  4. Increased consumption of natural water resources for industrial activity leading to increases in the energy-intensive processes of wastewater reclamation and desalination.

Even in the Northeast and Midwest, which contain 84% of North America’s freshwater, increasingly extreme weather means that we all need to watch our water use – not to mention the costs of literally flushing wasted water down the drain.

Why Water Conservation?

Water management and conservation are critically important to a successful sustainability strategy. We think water and energy management are not mutually exclusive, but rather should always be considered together. A projected $473 billion investment is needed in the U.S. alone over the next 20 years to provide and maintain drinking water infrastructure. There is no better time to begin implementing water conservation projects in the built environment. Here are two examples of how our clients have included water as part of their conservation equation.

Bright Power’s EnergyScoreCards benchmarking platform uncovered historically poor water performance in the initial analysis of a New York City client’s mixed-use multifamily and commercial building. Using our ‘Find, Fix, Follow’ approach, our team tracked down and fixed a previously undetected water leak. Fast-forward nine months and the client has reduced water consumption by 19%, saving $20,000. To prevent issues like this in the future, building management is implementing our MoBIUS service for ongoing monitoring. Once it is up and running, we are able to find and fix problems in real time.  

The five-year drought (2013-17) through much of California put tremendous stress on its water supply One of our California clients recently installed low-flow aerators and showerheads across eight multifamily buildings and have seen an approximate 1.9 million gallon reduction in water consumption. That’s almost three Olympic sized swimming pools of water conservation for this client every year!

Making Water Part of Your Energy Equation

Water waste can often be overlooked. It can occur in the form of a slow but constant leak in a toilet or could be an unnoticed open valve that is piped directly to a drain. The good news is, building owners and managers can contribute to water conservation by making relatively modest investments like:

  • Low-flow faucet aerators, shower-heads, and toilets (which some local governments require by law).
  • Sub-meters to monitor building, unit level, and/or equipment water consumption, along with a company to actually monitor the data and react to it.
  • Consumption-based billing of occupants to promote conservation.
  • Thoughtful irrigation system planning including low-flow heads, nozzles, and controls.  
  • ENERGY STAR rated appliances including laundry equipment and dishwashers.
  • Participation (where available) in Automated Meter Reading (AMR) which provides interval data for thorough tracking of water consumption. Upgrading water meters is also reimbursable in some markets.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac promote decreased water consumption by way of their financing programs, which offer refinancing based on water reduction or targeted energy efficiency thresholds. Additionally, the  EPA (with the help of Fannie Mae and other research) has developed a Water Score allowing multifamily building owners to benchmark their water consumption in comparison with equivalent buildings across the country. Through benchmarking, owners also receive key insights on how buildings are performing and how their performance compares to historical data.

“Water is the ‘blue gold’ of the 21st century,” said Noel O’Halloran, chief investment officer of KBI Global Investors, a €9.2B Dublin asset manager that has run a water strategy since 2000. Building owners and property management companies that take an aggressive, strategic approach to water conservation can potentially realize significant financial savings while doing their part to help humanity turn away from the carbon trainwreck it is currently heading towards.

 


 

Sources:

Elaboration of data by United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. http://www.worldometers.info/world-population.

“Great Lakes Facts and Figures.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 12 Sept. 2017, www.epa.gov/greatlakes/great-lakes-facts-and-figures.

New York City Water Board. (2016). New York City Water and Wastewater Rate Report – FY 2017.

Current Reservoir Levels, NYC Environmental Protection Agency, www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/drinking_water/maplevels_wide.shtml. 4/17/2018.

Flood, Chris. “The New Oil: How Investors Can Keep Water Flowing.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 12 May 2018, www.ft.com/content/c63d219c-536f-11e8-b3ee-41e0209208ec.

 

20 Jun

Two of Many Reasons We’re Proud This Pride Month

Bright Power affordable housing

Bright Power is especially proud this Pride Month to share two groundbreaking projects we’re working on: Crotona Senior Residences and Ingersoll Senior Residences. Both projects will provide quality affordable homes for low-income seniors in an LGBT-friendly environment. They will each house SAGE (services and advocacy for GLBT elders) Centers onsite. Each marks the first LGBT-friendly, low-income senior housing in its borough – Cortona Senior Residences in the Bronx, and Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn.

These two inspiring projects will meet the unique needs of their future residents. And, by integrating sustainability, they will be comfortable, healthy, and enjoyable spaces that also keep operating costs low, ensuring long-term affordability.

“I’m proud that we can deliver energy efficiency and solar power to a diverse array of clients and populations across the City. We’re able to give residents high quality, healthy places to live, while at the same time minimizing environmental impact and keeping operating costs low. We look forward to working on more projects with HELP USA, BFC Partners, and SAGE.”Jeffrey Perlman, President & Founder

Crotona Senior Residences

Crotona Senior Residences

“Crotona Senior is a prime example of a well rounded, integrated project that hits all three pillars of sustainability equally (environment, social, economic). I’m proud to work on this project, in particular, because it addresses the unique needs of LGBT seniors. Times have changed, and I’m thrilled that Bright Power can be a part of projects that prioritize the needs of demographics that would have historically been looked over.” – Andrea Mancino, Director of New Construction

Developed by HELP USA and SAGE
Located in Bronx
General Contractor: Procida
Architect: Magnusson Architecture and Planning
MEP: Johnson & Urban

Design Details:

  • 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
  • Active design to promote physical health
  • Community spaces to designed to enhance well being
  • Non-toxic finishes and materials

We are ensuring long-term sustainability by providing these services:

  • Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) Certification services
  • 90kW solar PV system design and installation
  • Commissioning (Cx)
  • NYSERDA New Construction Program incentive procurement and services

Read more about the project in NYREJ.

 

Ingersoll Senior Residences

Ingersoll Senior Residences

BFC Partners with SAGE is developing Ingersoll Senior Residences and will be Brooklyn’s first senior living environment that promotes diversity and safety for LGBT elders. Ingersoll Senior Residences will be a 17-story, 145-unit building that will ensure apartments are affordable to those earning below 60% of AMI while 30% of the units will be reserved for formerly homeless seniors. The onsite SAGE center will provide social services and supportive services for all residents. 

Developed by BFC Partners and SAGE
Located in Brooklyn
General Contractor: BFC Partners
Architect: Marvel Architects
MEP: Rodkin Cardinale

Design details:

  • 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
  • Active design to promote physical health
  • Community spaces to designed to enhance well being
  • Non-toxic finishes and materials

We are ensuring long-term sustainability by providing these services:

  • Enterprise Green Communities (EGC) Certification services
  • Commissioning (Cx)

BFC won CHPC’s Impact Award for Housing this April for their work on this project. Learn more about the project in NYHC.