18 Jun

Bright Employee: Michael Brusic

Bright Power Bright Employee

Michael Brusic Technical DirectorWe’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 Michael Brusic, Technical Director.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
Bright Power has allowed me to indulge my curiosity with a fascinating breadth of projects. In the last two weeks I’ve troubleshot variable speed drives on a cooling tower in Manhattan, kicked off repairs on a standing column well geothermal system in the Bronx, scoped out the fire protection system for an energy storage project in Brooklyn, and helped lobby for changes to New York State’s energy policies on distributed generation. I don’t think I’d get to do all that – and more – anywhere else. Bright Power encourages curiosity, and our leadership gives us the space and freedom to pursue interests like these because they understand that doing so will only grow our experience and capabilities.

I also feel fortunate that the impact of our work goes far beyond saving energy.  Improving the spaces where people live and work can help to reverse historical injustices and improve lives.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
There’s a project we’ve been developing for almost four years that is closing on its construction financing this month. It will be one of the largest deep-energy retrofit projects on affordable housing in New York City. It will involve fuel conversion, a new heating plant, controls, rehabilitation of the ventilation system, lighting, and distributed generation. At the conclusion of the project, Bright Power will be acting as the complex’s energy manager to help make sure that the project remains a success post-construction. I see that as a culmination of many different services that Bright Power provides.

I’m also proud to be able to work on our distributed generation projects, many of which are helping to define the business case for, and drive forward the regulation of, complex multi-technology distributed generation.

Finally, I am honored to have served as the official commissioning agent for Bright Power’s new kegerator system and am excited about our plans to take it partially off-grid.

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
Though it’s hard to pick, I think our commissioning and retro-commissioning services are unique. The goal of these services is not to deliver a product, but to deliver performance. Many traditional architectural and engineering firms don’t take responsibility for how a building performs operationally. There is tremendous value in having someone on your team who is willing to take the responsibility of both ensuring that the systems that were designed are installed and set up correctly, and also to ensure that they continue to operate effectively and efficiently. I think this can and has been valuable to our clients.

What are some of your hopes for the future of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) and Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) in NYC?
REV, and the sub-efforts of VDER, represent a tremendous leap into the unknown for New York State and for the energy industry globally. I’m concerned about how fast the first phase of VDER was put into place and about possible negative impacts to the solar industry in New York State. But in the long term, I think the state’s willingness to “move fast and break things” represents an opportunity to revolutionize how a vast spectrum of technologies interact with energy markets. I hope that the State and the many diverse stakeholders in the REV proceeding will work together to tackle the vast amount of work that will be necessary in the coming years to do REV and VDER correctly with just the right amount of disruption.

 

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.

17 May

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update May 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

It’s not easy to buy the low, but make sure you don’t buy the high.

The Bottom Line

Right now, the market and pricing are telling us that a two or three year fixed rate agreement is the safe and smart choice. Going long, as in buying longer-term fixed rate contracts, is the safe bet right now. With third-party supplier pricing for electric and gas still comparing favorably to 2017 and winter 2018 rates, many customers are pulling the trigger and capturing a near market low, before the tide changes.

What to know about 2018

Today’s prices are low, based on high levels and efficient natural gas production in the US. However, there is a serious concern that the upcoming hot summer may cause higher demand for electricity to power additional air conditioning. This would reduce the amount of gas we have in storage for later use and cause market volatility. If this happens, gas prices may rise this summer and impact winter prices as well. If you have contracts expiring in 2018, we recommend evaluating your future contract now!

Why Act Now

Many property owners and managers are risk adverse. It’s better to capture a 5% guaranteed year to year cost savings than take a risk that could result in a 30% cost increase! We help our clients choose the right plan for their budgets and their risk levels. Right now, the market and pricing are telling us that a two or three year fixed rate agreement is the safe and smart choice.

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.

 

 

24 Apr

What to Know, Now: Energy Market Update April 2018

Dan Levin Energy Markets, procurement

The weather hasn’t warmed up, and neither have gas prices. This is a good time to buy electricity and natural gas.

Shoulder months such as April, May, October, and November are often the best times to buy energy. The volatile winter is behind us and pricing has been in a favorable range. But summer weather ahead will bring price volatility. Pricing has been down despite lower storage amounts of natural gas, which may impact the market as we get closer to Summer.

The Bottom Line

Current third-party supplier fixed rates still compare favorably to 2017 utility rates and present opportunities to reduce costs through both fixed and variable supply contracts. Many customers who were hurt by high variable pricing this January and February would benefit from a cost reduction and budget certainty.

What to know about 2018

Today’s lower prices may be temporary. In April, valid weather forecasts for the summer are released and they predict a hot summer. This would increase demand for burning natural gas to create electricity for meeting higher air conditioning needs. The chain effect is higher pricing for the near future, summers, and winters. If you have contracts expiring in 2018, you may want to price them early and evaluate your timing on completing your supply contracts. If you are receiving energy procurement services from Bright Power, we are already planning this evaluation for you.

Why Act Now

The mix of upward price pressure from a larger storage deficit and downward pressure from record levels of production are creating an uncertain future. Look to protect prices this summer and to prepare to capture the winter prices when the market is favorable.

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.