New Study, EnergyScoreCards Minnesota, Shows Multifamily Full Service Benchmarking Can Lead to Energy and Water Savings
New York City-based energy management provider, Bright Power, released the findings from a 2-year pilot program, EnergyScoreCards Minnesota, to test the feasibility and impact of energy and water benchmarking in over 550 multifamily buildings across the state. The findings show that not only is statewide benchmarking feasible, the act of benchmarking can lead to significant energy and water savings in multifamily buildings. The results were released in conjunction with program funders and Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Energy Resources, Xcel Energy, and Minnesota Housing, and local partners Center for Energy and Environment, Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota Green Communities.
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota provides one of the largest demonstrations of the feasibility and impact of multifamily benchmarking to date, with detailed documentation on methods, results, and lessons learned. The program was designed as a controlled experiment, with participants randomly divided into either a treatment group or a control group. While the energy consumption of both groups of buildings was tracked over the course of two years, the treatment group received free access to Bright Power’s proprietary energy analysis service, EnergyScoreCards, which includes software and a dedicated Energy Analyst. Participants in the control group did not have access to the service until after the second year of the study, allowing a comparison of outcomes between the two groups.
One of the key findings of the study shows that statistically significant energy and water savings (5% on energy and 30% on water, on average) were found in master-metered buildings receiving the EnergyScoreCards service in comparison to the control group.“These findings help to show that benchmarking is not merely a reporting or compliance exercise, but rather a crucial and impactful first step in strategic energy management for real estate owners,” said Jeff Perlman, President of Bright Power. “OPOWER has shown that their intuitive presentation of energy usage information can drive savings for single family homeowners, and this pilot demonstrates that Bright Power’s EnergyScoreCards can have similar effect for multifamily buildings.”
The study also found that multifamily energy and water benchmarking is demonstrably feasible at scale in Minnesota, one of the main drivers of the study. Multifamily building owners and operators can use the information from benchmarking to prioritize energy efficiency investments, improve operations in their buildings, and deliver higher quality housing to occupants. “The multifamily sector is often overlooked in favor of the big commercial energy hogs and single-family home owners when it comes to reducing consumption. People who rent need reliable, affordable energy at home, too, whether they pay their bills directly or as part of their rent. We found that benchmarking is a critical tool for multifamily owners and managers who want to take control of energy and water,” said Janne Flisrand, Program Coordinator for Minnesota Green Communities, an initiative of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and Family Housing Fund.
The findings are intended for real estate owners, program designers and implementers, and policy makers using benchmarking as a tool to drive energy and water savings in multifamily buildings.
The full report can be found here: http://mn.gov/commerce/energy/businesses/clean-energy/Reports-Data/Energy-Reports.jsp
A summary of the report can be found on Bright Power’s website, here:http://www.brightpower.com/energyscorecards-minnesota/
The effort was funded by a Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER) Conservation Applied Research Program (CARD) grant, the Xcel Energy Emerging Technologies Grant Program, and a Multifamily Rental Energy Efficiency grant from Minnesota Housing. EnergyScoreCards Minnesota was designed and implemented by Bright Power with five local partners: Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Green Communities, Center for Energy and Environment, and Minnesota Housing.
Three Years after Sandy, New Report Shows Solar+Storage Can Protect Residents, Reduce Costs, and Increase Power Resiliency in Affordable Housing
Economic analysis makes case for increased investment, incentives for solar+storage in affordable housing to serve critical power needs.
Solar combined with energy storage systems (solar+storage) can help protect vulnerable populations during power outages in multifamily affordable housing and provide an economic return to building owners, according to a new report by Clean Energy Group, a national nonprofit organization working to increase the deployment of clean energy technologies, and co-authored by Bright Power’s Henry Misas.
The first-of-its-kind analysis of how solar+storage could benefit low-income communities, Resilience for Free: How Solar+Storage Could Protect Multifamily Affordable Housing from Power Outages at Little or No Net Cost, stresses the need to make vulnerable populations – including seniors, disabled people, and low-income families – more power resilient in the face of natural disasters.
Three years ago this month, Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to over eight million people, stranding residents and threatening lives because of the lack of electricity to power critical services such as elevators, heating and cooling systems, communications, and other life-supporting technologies.
“Three years after Sandy, we now know that solar+storage in affordable housing can mean the difference between safety and tragedy,” said co-author Lewis Milford, Clean Energy Group President and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But this analysis shows us something we didn’t expect – these new resilient power technologies can make economic sense for building owners to install now, not years from now.”
Resilience for Free uses project data for buildings in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. to examine the financial case for installing solar+storage systems to support critical common area loads in multifamily affordable housing. The report concludes that with the right market structures and incentives, solar+storage systems can provide a positive economic return on par with energy efficiency or stand-alone solar. In some cases, the addition of batteries improves affordable housing project economics by generating significant electric bill savings through reducing utility demand charges and creating revenue by providing grid services.
“The consequences of losing power are stark, especially for low-income residents, the elderly, and disabled,” said report co-author Robert Sanders, Senior Finance Director at Clean Energy Group. “In markets where these favorable economics exist, there is no excuse to leave low-income and vulnerable people at risk from power outages in the future.”
The report’s findings should encourage housing developers to seriously consider installing solar+storage technologies to protect residents from future power outages and to reduce their buildings’ overall operating expenses. Resilience for Free recommends that states like New York, where the economics of solar+storage are the least favorable of the three cities studied, should consider new energy storage incentives to better protect their most vulnerable residents.
“We are just beginning to uncover the intrinsic value of solar+storage as a technology that can protect populations in need,” said Henry Misas, Senior Energy Engineer at Bright Power and co-author of the report. “Not only will we continue to see improved economics as more projects get built over time, but also we will see vulnerable communities that are finally able to take control of their emergency power needs and withstand severe disruptions in utility services on their own.”
“Policymakers should implement more targeted incentive programs to encourage solar+storage deployment in low-income communities now, so we don’t wait another decade for the benefits of these technologies to trickle down to the those in need, as happened with stand-alone solar,” said Seth Mullendore, a project manager at Clean Energy Group and co-author of the report. “With storms of Sandy’s strength expected to make landfall more frequently in the future, there’s no time to lose.”
The full report is available online at http://bit.ly/Resilience-For-Free.
Clean Energy Group will be hosting a webinar on this report on October 29th. Details on this free webinar are available at http://bit.ly/Resilience-For-Free-Webinar.
Resilience for Free is part of a multi-year effort for the Resilient Power Project, a joint project of Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute.
Bright Power CEO Jeff Perlman will sit on the judging panel for the Cleantech Open Northeast business competition at the NYC Cleantech Summit, a two-day event organized by the NECEC. The event will bring together the Northeast’s leaders in the cleantech business community and will feature innovative developments in clean technology.
Perlman will sit on the judging panel for the business competition portion of the Summit and will review talented startups and provide them with feedback on their pitch and business model. The winning teams will be awarded $20k in prizes and will go on to compete in the Cleantech Open national competition.
The RISE:NYC competition, from NYCEDC, awards innovative solutions that drive business resiliency and which will better protect New York City from the impacts of future storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Bright Power’s Resilient Power Hub is a small-scale, storm-proof power plant, that will be deployed at three New York City locations using the prize money.
Stemming from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, RISE:NYC is a $30M competition administered by the NYCEDC to aid in the recovery and disaster prevention efforts of NYC’s small businesses. “Rise:NYC is part of the City’s comprehensive suite of initiatives to mitigate the effects of severe weather and climate change on New Yorkers, and all of the winning technologies will help support and strengthen small businesses across the city,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “Each of the 11 innovative winning technologies will make the City a safer, stronger and more resilient place, creating economic support and additional opportunities for New Yorkers and small businesses.”
The competition not only inspires innovation that targets the significant vulnerabilities in New York City’s buildings and infrastructure networks that the storm revealed, it also ensures that the highest impact, most scalable and replicable projects are implemented. Over 200 applications from 20 countries were submitted, finalists were announced in September 2014 and displayed their technologies at a demo night in October 2014. The 11 winners were selected by a panel of esteemed advisors and announced at an awards ceremony on April 29, 2015.
“Competitions like RISE:NYC bring out the best in our creative, technical minds and allow us to dream up powerful solutions to widespread problems. With so many impressive ideas from the finalists, it’s an honor to be selected as an award recipient. We are thrilled that the competition has recognized our Resilient Power Hub as a potentially transformative technology for our city,” said Jeff Perlman, President of Bright Power.
Bright Power’s Resilient Power Hub is a small-scale power plant that provides buildings with instantaneous back-up power to critical systems when the grid goes down, as well as energy savings the rest of the time. It can operate as part of or independent from the utility grid. The technology combines solar photovoltaics (PV), combined-heat-and-power (CHP) and energy storage under one automated system that is easily scaled and replicated in various building types. Partners include Thread Collective, a sustainable architecture firm, as well as Growing Energy Labs, Inc. (Geli), a provider of the Geli EOS software solution for energy storage and microgrid systems.
“Geli is excited to work with Bright Power and Thread Collective to bring their Resilient Power Hub microgrids and microgrid networks solutions to local businesses”, added Ryan Wartena, Geli CEO. “Designing microgrid systems based on building-specific requirements will be the way to scale energy solutions that provide maximum benefit to both the project host and the grid through Geli’s Internet of Energy platform.”
Earlier this month at the PV America Expo, Bright Power gladly accepted the Solar Project of Distinction award on behalf of Liberty Village and the 127.5kW solar installation to which it is home, along with 60 veterans and their families for whom it provides clean, affordable power.
The Liberty Village residential complex is located on the grounds of the former North Amityville Armed Forces Reserve Center and was developed by Concern for Independent Living through the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homelessness Act of 1994. Today, Liberty Village provides affordable housing to 60 veterans and their families, most of whom come from homelessness. With the goal of preserving affordability, we partnered with Concern for Independent Living to implement a solar installation that is projected to save more than $800,000 over its 25-year lifetime.
Bright Power worked closely with the architect and general contractor throughout a 2-year design and build cycle. The townhouse-style design of the complex, with multiple roof elevations and orientations, proved to be challenging. Bright Power deployed microinverters which maximize production across various directions (East, West and South), and provide performance tracking down to a per-panel basis. With the aid of 3D computer modeling, the panels were arranged to avoid shading from the various roof elevations and flow with the architect’s aesthetic vision.
This solar array is structurally attached to trusses that hold the roofs together, posing unique challenges in the design process. To avoid creating a wind sail effect that would impose an unsupported load on the roof, Bright Power provided structural recommendations to strengthen the trusses to the point of being able to withstand hurricane-level winds.
Most importantly, this installation is built to last, keeping affordable housing affordable for many years to come.
New York City, NY. Feb. 19, 2015 – Bright Power, Inc., New York City-based energy management provider, has announced its acquisition of Ecological Partners, LLC, an energy efficiency service provider previously owned by Root9b Technologies, a cybersecurity and regulatory risk mitigation company.
Bright Power is a leading provider of strategic energy solutions for real estate portfolios across the country. The company’s full suite of services ranges from energy benchmarking and auditing to resiliency solutions and energy procurement. The acquisition of Ecological Partners, whose primary focus was energy-related local law compliance, allows Bright Power to enhance its existing business while continuing to expand its robust product offerings. “This is an exciting moment for us to incorporate a competitor, grow our team and cement our position in the NYC market. Ecological is a natural addition to Bright Power’s strategic vision as we work more closely with our clients, taking them beyond compliance and into long-term energy management solutions,” said Bright Power President and CEO, Jeff Perlman.
Bright Power views Ecological’s success in the compliance market as a stepping stone to more in-depth energy efficiency projects. “This is a big win for our clients who are now gaining access to the full range of energy management services that Bright Power provides. While we have built a business on local law compliance services, we’ve realized that compliance is only the first step to true energy management. The joining of our two companies means we will not only reach more buildings, but also that we will have the capacity to manage energy on a deeper level at those buildings,” said Ecological Vice President, Tim Howell.
With the addition of Ecological’s client base, Bright Power now provides local law compliance services to over 1,000 buildings in New York City, making them the single largest provider of both LL84 and LL87 compliance services.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, announced a new project which will boost funding for solar energy projects in California’s multifamily housing market. The announcement was made from the rooftop of Mercy Housing’s Marlton Manor, featuring a very familiar solar installation. Bright Power worked with Mercy Housing to develop and commission on the solar thermal and solar photocoltaic system installed at the property. To read the full press release, click here.
Bright Power is pleased to announce the opening of its first satellite office, located in Oakland, CA. In late 2014, Bright Power closed a $5 million round of fundraising from WindSail Capital Group, a portion of which will be allocated to the opening of this new office.
This expansion better situates Bright Power to help its large and quickly growing client base of national owners and operators act on opportunities found through its database of multifamily building energy and water usage, the largest in the nation. “On our tenth anniversary, we are excited to put down roots on the West Coast! We have had clients there for many years, and recognize that we have a lot to offer in helping address the unique energy and water challenges that building owners face there. Now we are more ready than ever to dive into the opportunities that such a forward-thinking state like California can offer,” said Bright Power CEO and President, Jeff Perlman.
Spearheading the opening of Bright Power’s West Coast office will be former Vice President of Engineering, Greg Sherman, who will now carry the title Vice President of Western Region. Sherman set up shop in the Bay Area earlier this year. “California’s energy and water concerns are well known yet still getting worse. It became abundantly clear that this is a market that could utilize our services and we are excited to make an even greater impact in the buildings of our West Coast clients,” said Sherman who will focus on building partnerships with owners, managers, developers, architects, local government agencies and other key stakeholders.
Bright Power headquarters will remain in New York City as the West Coast office opens its doors. For more information on Bright Power’s national expansion please contact Greg Sherman. Contact information can be found on Bright Power’s website.
To view the full press release, click here.
The awards just keep on coming for Via Verde. The Bronx affordable housing complex can now add Civic Trust Award Winner to the long list of accolades it has received. The Civic Trust Awards are given to projects that demonstrate excellence in architecture, design, sustainability and positive community impact. For more information on the Civic Trust Awards and other award winners, click here.
The ENERGY STAR label is synonymous with efficiency. New homes, commercial buildings, even refrigerators have been eligible for the EPA’s recognition for over twenty years, yet existing multifamily buildings have been historically left out, until now.
On November 13, 2014, ENERGY STAR announced the first seventeen existing multifamily residential buildings in the nation to receive their prestigious certification. Bright Power is proud to have worked with Related Management on three out of the five New York City properties:
- 30-50 21st: Owned by NYSANDY2 30-50 21ST LLC, managed by Related Management and with technical assistance from Bright Power
- Terrific Tenements 423 W 48th Street: Owned by Clinton Housing Preservation, LP, managed by Related Management, and with technical assistance from Bright Power
- Terrific Tenements 527 W 47th Street: Owned by Clinton Housing Preservation, LP, managed by Related Management, and with technical assistance from Bright Power
These three affordable housing properties were primed for certification thanks to Related Management’s commitment to sustainability. With existing technologies like bi-level lighting in all corridors and public spaces, occupancy sensors and high efficiency ventilation fans, boilers and domestic hot water systems, these buildings were already bringing their A-games when the certification process began. That’s right, all three properties were already receiving A grades in EnergyScoreCards.
Our engineers went on site to examine the systems, search for inefficiencies and speak with residents to make sure that the buildings’ needs were being met on the grounds of energy and comfort. The buildings got a clean bill of health on all counts which came as no surprise to our team of analysts who have been following the buildings’ performance in EnergyScoreCards for over a year.
“We are thrilled to be among the first owners recognized with the ENERGY STAR multifamily certification. It is a great acknowledgement of our continued commitment to environmental responsibility across all asset classes and we are especially proud that these apartments are not only more sustainable, but also affordable.” said Jeff Brodsky, President of Related Management.
The expansion of the ENERGY STAR program is a win for the multifamily industry. The impact of building efficiency on the lives of tenants is significant and will no longer go unrecognized by the public. We look forward to helping more of our clients achieve certification for years to come.
To read the full press release click here.