A Bright Look Back on 2020


decorativeCelebrating 16 Years

Despite all of the challenges brought on by the global pandemic, 2020 was a year of continued growth and development for Bright Power. For the past 16 years, Bright Power has worked with incredible clients and partners to make buildings more sustainable, more comfortable, and less costly to operate. We are so proud of the work we’ve done together, impacting over 94,800 buildings, 1.94 billion square feet, and 2.86 million apartment units across the country. In 2020, we’ve helped our clients reduce their carbon emissions by almost 400 million poundsthat’s equivalent to taking over 38,600 cars off the road for one year! Thank you to all of you who made this possible.

To say 2020 has been a challenging year is an understatement, making it even more important that we take a moment to recognize our accomplishments together and look back at some of our impactful projects from this past year.

MoBIUS Real-Time Energy Management

Bright Power’s MoBIUS® service monitors real-time energy and equipment usage, optimizes equipment performance and control settings, and provides continuous training to building operators and managers across multifamily and commercial buildings. In the past year, we more than doubled the number of buildings enrolled in MoBIUS, including buildings owned by Two Trees Management, Nuveen Real Estate, and Glenwood Management.

At Nuveen Real Estate‘s The Colorado, MoBIUS real-time energy management is a critical piece of their energy law compliance strategy. Rather than treat it as a compliance exercise, The Colorado is using the Local Law 87 energy audit we prepared as the starting point for capital planning. MoBIUS will further improve operations and identify critical capital improvements that will enable The Colorado to stay within the Local Law 97 (LL97) carbon emissions limits.

Adee Tower, managed by New Bedford Management, has been enrolled in MoBIUS for 15 months. Through MoBIUS, we identified a spike in domestic hot water temperature and swiftly assisted in getting a contractor on-site to identify a failed mixing valve (see above image for real-time tracking snapshot). The valve was replaced within a day, reducing scalding potential and saving the property energy had this issue persisted.

We began implementing MoBIUS at two neighboring Bronx buildings, Park Avenue Green (North America’s Largest PHIUS+ Certified Passive House building) and Morris Avenue Apartments (LEED Gold Certified), owned by Omni New York LLC. In addition to optimizing building performance through MoBIUS, the analysis will shed light on the differences between the operations of two similar buildings owned and managed by the same company, one Passive House and one non-Passive House, including energy consumption, operating costs, indoor air quality, and thermal comfort.

Omni will use funding from the Buildings of Excellence program, administered by NYSERDA, to help fund the MoBIUS implementation. Other Buildings of Excellence awardees implementing MoBIUS include Unique People Services2050 Grand Concourse and The Community BuildersPark Haven. MoBIUS will enable these properties to operate at peak performance and minimize their carbon emissions.

With MoBIUS, we are helping Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) more effectively manage operations and maintenance, resulting in 22% and 32% energy reduction, respectively, when comparing Q3 2019 to Q3 2020. During the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the MoBIUS team remotely guided site staff at MSM and MMC in turning off equipment properly and ensuring systems stayed off but remained well-maintained. When students and faculty returned to campus in Q3, the MoBIUS team ensured equipment was operational and running effectively—including bringing in fresh air instead of tempered air to maximize free cooling. You can learn more about how stay-at-home orders impacted higher education clients in this blog.

Bright Power published The Impact of MoBIUS Real-Time Energy Management Service report this July, funded by NYSERDA. We found that buildings that engaged in MoBIUS reduced their annual energy spend by an average of 5.2% and saw less volatile energy use patterns throughout the year compared to buildings without it. Want to learn more about MoBIUS? Sign up to receive emails or check out this video!

Energy & Water Efficiency

With COVID-19 increasing energy and water consumption in residential buildings, many clients asked for help finding ways to save. Bright Power completed targeted COVID analysis for clients including Mercy Housing, Jonathan Rose Companies, Foundation Communities, MG Properties Group, and The NHP FoundationOur energy analysts also provided valuable insights into energy and water consumption and cost for 4,000 EnergyScoreCards subscribers.

To reduce the cost of making energy efficiency upgrades, we helped many clients identify and secure significant incentive dollars. For four properties under FDC Management, Bright Power has procured over $350,000 incentives through the SoCalREN incentive program. Bright Power secured over $7 million on behalf of our California clients for 63 efficiency projects through another California incentive program, ESA CAM. That includes procuring over $450,000 ESA CAM incentives for Community Housing Partnership to install energy efficiency improvements across six properties that will save nearly $30,000 annually on electricity costs from the lighting improvements. Other properties completing projects with ESA CAM incentives this year include:

  • BRIDGE Housing’s Cottonwood Creek, Marina Tower, and Oak Circle
  • Eden Housing’s Eden Riverhouse Hotel and The Altenheim
  • First Community Housing’s Gish Apartments
  • USA Properties Fund’s Vintage Zinfandel, Vintage Chateau, and Mayfair Court 

Nuveen Real Estate received our National team’s Remote Support service for 62 properties to help implement energy efficiency measures, assist with equipment fixes, and integrate green maintenance into ongoing operations. As a part of Nuveen’s portfolio-wide sustainability goals, we completed turnkey installation on 20 LED lighting retrofits across the nation, including Franklin 299 Apartments, Larkspur Courts Apartments, Ivy Hill Apartments, and Park Lake at Walnut Creek.

We brought online seven electric heat pump water heaters (HPWH), including EAH Housing‘s Rodeo Senior Apartments and Silver Oak Apartments, as well as Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s SOMA Apartments and Curran House.

The Bright Power team completed a turnkey retrofit at L+M Development PartnersSt. Lucy’s Apartments in late 2019. The project included steam balancing, a new boiler controller with indoor temperature feedback, steam pipe insulation, in-unit thermostatic radiator valves, faucet aerators, and insulated heating distribution pipes. In 2020, we’ve tracked $14,500 annual energy savings and saw a 26% energy reduction only eight months after installation.

Charles H. Greenthal’s Clinton Hill Apartments engaged with Bright Power to determine how to address chronic heating imbalances. After a pilot installation of Radiator Labs’ The Cozy™ resulted in strong savings, we are now commissioning The Cozy installation across the 12-building complex and monitoring their performance with our real-time energy management (RTEM) service, MoBIUS.

Bright Power has been working with Fannie Mae to provide energy and water measurement and verification for Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Green Financing programs. We are providing services to Borrowers and Lenders to make it easy for them to gather, analyze, and report on energy and water usage and savings.

New Construction

Bright Power’s New Construction team successfully submitted over 20 projects slotted to receive the 2015 Enterprise Green Community (EGC) certification before the shift to EGC 2020. Some of those projects include PRC Management’s PRC Fox, Georgica Green Ventures’ and Concern for Independent Living’s Surf Avenue Vet’s Place, and B&B Urban’s 2700 Jerome Avenue. Some EGC certified rehab projects include Jonathan Rose CompaniesZiegler Place, Farmington Place, and Burton Place.

Despite delays caused by COVID-19, over ten exciting new developments broke ground this year, including:

  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Mutual Housing Association of New York, and Urban Builders Collaborative’s Chestnut Commons, Bright Power’s largest PHIUS project
  • Catholic CharitiesBishop Valero Residence, 102-unit affordable housing for low-income seniors and formerly homeless adults
  • MDG Design + Construction and Smith-Henzy’s Vital Brookdale, an affordable housing building at Brookdale Hospital, which will be built with energy efficient systems and pursue Passive House certification
  • Selfhelp Realty Group, Inc.’s Bergen Place and Wyandanch Rising Building D, which is being co-developed with Albanese Development Corporation
  • Hudson Companies and Project Hospitality’s Castleton Supportive Housing, once complete, will be a LEED-H Certified building

Hudson Companies and BRP CompaniesLa Central A and La Central B will wrap up construction this year. The affordable housing buildings will generate clean energy with two solar PV systems totaling 183 kW, designed and installed by Bright Power, and achieve LEED certification.

AIA recognized seven exceptional residential designs with its 2020 Housing Awards, including Radson Development’s MLK Plaza, designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, PC! This is the top housing award at the National level and emphasizes good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource. MLK Plaza is also a World Architecture News 2020 Award Finalist!

Solar Energy

Despite COVID-19 setbacks, Bright Power installed several solar projects this year, including 100 kW solar pergola system at The Bridge’s 3500 Park Avenue, 115 kW at West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH)‘s Mill Brook Terrace, and Phipps Housing’s 250 kW solar PV at Apex Place Building D.

Nuveen Real Estate’s San Regis 657 kW solar PV and turnkey efficiency project is wrapping up installation in California this year. The efficiency and renewable energy improvements and enrollment in the LADWP SoCal Gas Pilot Program have enhanced savings and helped maintain rental affordability.

Several exciting projects began construction this year! Some of those are Phipps Houses‘ and Acacia Network’s 158 kW solar PV system at 1675 Westchester, which is also pursuing Passive House certification, Milio Management’s 530 kW portfolio-wide solar project, and Thorobird CompaniesThe Grand 1, 2, and 3 totaling 60 kW across all three buildings.

Milestones & Accomplishments

Bright Power was again listed as an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company, making 2020 the fifth year we have received this designation. Bright Power also has been in the news this year, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Real Estate Journal, Habitat Magazine, Units, Propmodo, CleanTechnica, Affordable Housing Finance, and Multi-Housing News.

Jeffrey Perlman, President & Founder, has joined the NYS Public Service Commission’s Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification Strategic Advisory Group.

Andy McNamara, Executive Vice President of Operations, California, was selected as an Environment + Energy 100 Honoree. He is in good company with Bright Power client, Lane Jorgensen of MG Properties Group, also an honoree.

Carmel Pratt, Director of New Construction, joined the New York Passive House (NYPH) Board. Punit Shah, Manager of Audits, received his New York State PE License after passing the rigorous Professional Engineering Exam. Audrey Buckman, Project Manager, became a LEED Green Rater.

And, we welcomed a few new additions to the Bright Power family this year: Juan Vargas’ baby Grayson, Kelly Knutsen’s baby Lita, Ayse Moxam’s baby Peter, Matt Ahearn’s baby Brooks, and Avery Gray’s baby Jack.

Happy Holidays and our very best wishes for the New Year! We look forward to a bright future together!