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Ways to Save

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Explore ways you can improve efficiency in your building, enhance occupant comfort, and save energy and money.

Incentives

Many programs in New York provide incentives to help cover the costs of energy and water upgrade projects. For more information about incentives that might be right for your building, contact us and we will help you identify programs that fit your needs.

Incentive Programs

  • New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers a variety of financial incentives and assistance programs, including:
    • The FlexTech Program offers cost-shared technical services for commercial buildings to work with a team of engineers and technology experts to create customized energy studies. FlexTech can also assist in combined heat and power feasibility studies.
    • The Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) provides multifamily buildings with a performance-based incentive for whole-building retrofits. The MPP program also provides a list of MPP certified contractors who can help you make the most of your projects.
    • NYSERDA’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Programs assist buildings and campuses interested in generating clean, efficient, on-site heating and electricity. NYSERDA's CHP resource page provides more information on how to figure out if one of the CHP programs is right for your project.
    • The Industrial and Process Efficiency (IPE) Program provides performance-based incentives for manufacturers and data centers that implement efficiency and process improvements. Visit NYSERDA's IPE program website for details.
    • The Existing Facilities Program offers commercial properties both a performance-based and pre-qualified path for receiving incentives for energy efficiency.
  • Con Edison: If you are a Con Edison electric and/or gas customer, your small business, multifamily, commercial, or industrial building may qualify to receive incentives or rebates for building surveys, energy-efficient equipment upgrades, and other efficiency measures under one of their energy efficiency programs.
  • National Grid: If you are a National Grid gas customer, you may be eligible for rebates for high-efficiency heating and water heating equipment and other incentives for commercial and industrial, hospitality, business, and multifamily customers. Learn more about the National Grid's Energy Efficiency Services.
  • New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps income-eligible families and individuals by reducing their heating/cooling costs and improving the safety of their homes through energy efficiency measures. Owners of multifamily buildings occupied by low-income households are also encouraged to apply for assistance.
  • NY-Sun, New York State’s solar program, assists a wide range of sectors to install solar energy by stimulating the market for this renewable source of electricity. NY-Sun uses a Megawatt Block system to provide incentives to various sectors and assist in scaling up the solar sector in New York State.
  • NYC °CoolRoofs is a City initiative that supports local jobseekers in building high-demand skills while cooling New York City rooftops with a white reflective coating that reduces building energy consumption and citywide carbon emissions. For more information on how to participate, contact coolroofs@sbs.nyc.gov or visit NYC CoolRoofs online.
  • Natural Gas Conversion Incentives Both Con Edison and National Grid provide incentives for converting to natural gas.
    • Con Edison offers customized plans to assist current and potential customers with the capital investments necessary to convert to natural gas. Learn more about ConEd’s multifamily and commercial gas conversion incentives.
    • National Grid offers customized plans to cover up to 50 percent of conversion costs for business and multifamily customers switching from heating oil to natural gas. Learn more about National Grid’s gas conversion incentives.

Water Conservation Incentive Programs

NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Multifamily Conversion Program provides multifamily housing larger than four units with flat-rate billing in exchange for the customer implementing certain conservation measures. To assist building owners in complying with the program, DEP created the Toilet Replacement Program to cover the cost of each new high-efficiency toilet purchased.

Financing

A variety of programs are available in New York to help you pay for energy efficiency upgrades and water conservation measures. Contact us for more information and assistance in finding a financing solution that suits your building and your needs.

City Financing

  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Preservation Finance programs provide financing to facilitate the physical and financial sustainability and affordability of privately owned multifamily buildings throughout New York City. In addition, HPD recently launched the Green Housing Preservation Program to provide no- and low-cost financing for energy efficiency and water conservation improvements, along with moderate rehabilitation work, for small- to mid-sized multifamily buildings that are greater than 5 units and less than 50,000 square feet (approximately 50 units).
  • NYC Housing Development Corporation's (HDC) Program for Energy Retrofit Loans offers financing for energy efficiency improvements and fuel conversions for multifamily properties currently in HDC and HPD's portfolio. HDC is a public benefit corporation created by the New York state legislature to provide financing for multifamily affordable housing. Contact Diana Glanternik at dglanternik@nychdc.com for more information.

NYC Retrofit Accelerator Qualified Lenders

The following lenders have been qualified by the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and can provide financing for a variety of projects. Contact us to learn more about which firm is right for your project. If you are interested in becoming a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Qualified Lender, see the Request for Qualification posting on the City Record.

  • The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) is a non‐profit dedicated to financing energy efficiency and clean energy projects in both multifamily and commercial buildings. NYCEEC works with incentive providers and financial partners like the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and utilities to finance many deep and high return retrofits. NYCEEC can finance up to 100 percent of project costs, including construction and soft costs, and bridge incentive payments to match construction milestones.  NYCEEC provides loans starting at $50,000 and up to $6 million.

    Contact Posie Constable for more information: 646-797-4615, pconstable@nyceec.com

  • Ascentium Capital provides access to a broad array of financing structures without having to deal with complicated application procedures. A specialized finance team provides a consultative approach to suit each organization’s cash flow needs. Ascentium can offer financing from $10,000 to $2 million—requiring only an application up to $250,000, financing agreements and working capital loans, deferred payment options, and 100 percent financing to cover soft costs such as shipping, tax, and installation.

    Contact Josh Patton for more information: 281-902-1969, JoshPatton@AscentiumCapital.com

  • Barrett Capital Corporation, a private finance company, has been providing lending, leasing, and advisory services for 30 years. Barrett Capital focuses on funding clean energy and energy efficiency projects and associated construction/bridge loans. Barrett Capital is a Participating Lender with NYSERDA. Barrett Capital has a particular focus on offering cooperative corporations, condominium associations, and other multifamily buildings unsecured financing and shared savings arrangements with no up-front cost options.

    Contact Barry Korn for more information: 212-319-8400, bkorn@barrettcapital.com

  • Byline provides 100 percent financing for energy efficiency retrofit projects of all types and sizes, including a wide variety of commercial and non-profit clients. Byline’s credit process is streamlined to provide credit decisions in 24 hours or less for transactions under $125,000. Transactions up to $500,000 generally take less than one business week for credit decisions. Larger transactions are considered on a case-by-case basis and require additional underwriting criteria.

    Contact Ross Reida for more information: 503-807-214, rreida@bylinefinancialgroup.com

  • The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company. CPC’s process pairs in-house technical expertise with innovative financing strategies to help owners understand sustainability opportunities in their buildings. Financing is available for large efficiency projects or simple improvements as a part of a broader rehabilitation or capital investments. CPC offers capital solutions from acquisition and refinancing to construction and permanent loans.

    Contact Elizabeth Derry for more information: 646-822-9427, EDerry@communityp.com

  • M-Core™ Credit Corporation is a full-service asset-based lender, primarily focused on financing energy retrofits, sustainable energy projects, and equipment for businesses. M-Core provides services to both equipment end-users and vendors that sell and install the equipment. M-Core Credit has financed energy projects in the multifamily and commercial segments since the 1990s.

    Contact Michael Wiseberg for more information: 845-369-8777 x221, Michael@M-CoreCredit.com

  • SparkFund provides flexible financing solutions for small to medium sized energy efficiency projects. SparkFund integrates financing into partner networks—contractors, manufacturers, OEMs, and ESCOs—to create customized financing solutions for commercial and non-profit customers. SparkFund’s financing mechanisms include several payment plan options including leases and loans. SparkFund's online tools, resources, and sales trainings can help partners offer upgrades at no upfront cost to the customer.

    Contact Virginia Hewitt for more information: 202-733-5625, virginia@sparkfund.com

Fuel Oil Conversion Financing

Many buildings will be able to convert to a cleaner fuel with relatively minor upfront cost, while others may incur more significant costs. Several considerations may determine whether financing is needed and, if so, what financing is available. Download a conversion financing guide to learn more and contact a lender that can provide financing for clean heat conversion.

Education and Training

Education is crucial at every step of the retrofit process. Several local organizations are dedicated to developing educational resources and delivering effective training on efficiency topics.

Many of these organizations offer comprehensive trainings designed to help building staff operate and maintain buildings to be as efficient, healthy, and comfortable as possible. These courses are crucial to ensure a new upgrade meets expected energy savings and to maintain systems.

Looking for a short course? The NYC Retrofit Accelerator now offers a series of one- to two-day hands-on training sessions focused on operating, maintaining, and diagnosing challenges in specific systems. Interested participants can register for one or all of the NYC Retrofit Accelerator courses. To learn more or register for a session, click here.

The following organizations offer training resources:

  • The Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) is the education and information hub of the NYC Retrofit Accelerator. BEEx is a non-profit organization created by the City of New York that provides support for the building industry through energy and lighting efficiency education, technical exhibits, research, and networking opportunities. Visit the BEEx online web portal or visit them in person at 31 Chambers Street, 6th Floor in Manhattan, NY.
     
  • Solar One is a New York City-based non-profit that offers programs promoting urban sustainability and education. Their Green Workforce Training Program offers green hard skills technical training and industry recognized certifications tied to green building operations and maintenance and energy efficiency. Visit Solar One’s Green Workforce page for more information.
     
  • Urban Green Council (UGC) is the New York affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council. UGC offers a range of training opportunities, including their popular Green Professionals (GPRO) training course, which is a 14-hour practical introduction to green building operations for building operators and managers that includes a certificate exam. UGC also offers regular webinars and trainings on how to comply with Local Laws 87 and 88. Visit UGC’s Education page for other training opportunities.
     
  • CUNY Building Performance Lab (CUNY BPL) works to advance high-performance building operations through training, workforce development, and research. They are a leading provider of Building Operator Certification and offer a wide range of other trainings. Visit CUNY BPL for more information about their trainings and certification courses.
     
  • The 32BJ Green Building Training program is part of 32BJ’s Training Fund and offers a range of course options from those developed by 32BJ to other courses that teach to industry certifications. The 32BJ Training Fund offers these courses at no cost to members whose employers contribute to the fund. Visit the 32BJ Green Building Training program page for more information.
     
  • The Local 94 Training Fund provides Local 94 members with a mandatory course covering fundamentals and voluntary courses on topics including Energy Conservation, Green Building, and High Efficiency Low-Pressure Boilers. The Local 94 Training Fund is available at no cost to members whose employers contribute to the fund. Visit Local 94’s Training Fund site for more information.
     
  • The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS. IREM offers real estate managers both classroom and online training, including self-paced online courses in both Commercial and Residential Maintenance operations and Sustainable Real Estate Management. Visit the IREM Education page for more information.
     
  • The Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) is a non-profit, independent educational institute for that offers property and facility managers a variety of industry certifications, designations, and topic -specific courses. BOMI’s courses cover a wide range of topics from operations and maintenance basics, to system-specific courses, to high performance building principles. Visit the BOMI site for more information.
     
  • The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is a non-profit professional society that offers a wide range of certifications for Energy Engineers along with seminars that serve as official preparatory courses for these certification exams. Visit the AEE Programs site for more information.
     
  • The Building Performance Institute (BPI) develops standards for energy efficiency retrofit work in residential buildings as well as professional certifications to qualify individuals and companies that can perform work to these standards. Visit BPI’s website to find a local BPI certification course or qualified professionals.

Additional educational resources include:

  • GreeNYC is New York City’s public education program dedicated to informing, engaging, and mobilizing New Yorkers to take simple, meaningful steps to reduce their energy use, generate less waste, and live more sustainable lifestyles. Visit GreeNYC to get tips on how to weatherize your home and follow a more sustainable lifestyle.
     
  • The NYC Carbon Challenge is the City’s voluntary leadership program for private and institutional sector leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30‒50 percent in 10 years. The Carbon Challenge website also provides resources, including case studies of Carbon Challenge participants and a Handbook for Multifamily Buildings.

Want Help Finding Training Opportunities?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Building Energy Local Laws

The NYC Retrofit Accelerator is available to assist owners and decision-makers of buildings that must comply with New York City’s building energy local laws. These include:

  • Energy and Water Use Benchmarking. New York City’s Local Law 84 of 2009 mandates annual energy and water use benchmarking for buildings over 50,000 square feet in gross floor area and properties with two or more buildings on a tax lot that measure over 100,000 square feet in gross floor area. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to mid-size buildings between 25,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet (Local Law 133 of 2016). The new law will take effect after utilities begin automatically uploading benchmarking data to an online tool like Portfolio Manager, which is anticipated by 2018. For more information, visit the City’s Benchmarking page.  
  • Energy Audits & Retro-commissioning. New York City’s Local Law 87 of 2009 requires buildings greater than 50,000 square feet in gross floor area to complete an energy audit and retro-commissioning measures once every 10 years. For more information, visit the City’s Energy Audits and Retro-commissioning page.
  • Lighting Upgrades.  New York City’s Local Law 88 of 2009 requires lighting upgrades in non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet in gross floor area. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to require lighting upgrades for commercial buildings between 25,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet as well as in common spaces in multifamily buildings (Local Law 134 of 2016). For more information, visit the City’s Lighting Upgrades and Sub-metering page.
  • Sub-metering. New York City’s Local Law 88 of 2009 (LL88) requires the installation of energy sub-metering in tenant spaces greater than 10,000 square feet. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to include sub-metering for all non-residential tenant spaces over 5,000 square feet in area (Local Law 132 of 2016). For more information, visit the City’s Lighting Upgrades and Sub-metering page.
  • Clean Heat Regulations. In 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection issued regulations that require all buildings burning No. 4 heating fuel oil to convert to a cleaner fuel (natural gas, ultra-low sulfur No. 2 oil, biodiesel, or steam) upon boiler or burner retirement or by January 1, 2030, whichever is sooner. For a summary of these regulations, visit the Clean Heat Regulations page.

Ways to Save

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Explore ways you can improve efficiency in your building, enhance occupant comfort, and save.

Renewable Energy and On-Site Generation

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Renewable Energy and On-Site Generation

Get Cash Back for Renewable Energy and On-site Generation

Several programs offer cash incentives or grants for upgrading to renewable energy and on-site generation. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

Installing renewable energy sources and other equipment that can produce energy on-site can reduce a building’s reliance on fossil fuels. It can also provide a power supply that is more reliable during emergencies, like a blackout.

Solar Photovoltaic

Systems that convert sunlight into electricity are known as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or solar panels. Installing solar PV reduces the need to purchase electricity from a utility. And any excess electricity produced can be credited to a building’s utility bill.

Now is a great time to consider solar—state incentives like NYSERDA funds, coupled with tax incentives from the City, state, and federal governments can cover as much as 80 percent of the costs of solar panels.

You can install solar PV on individual buildings. Or you can participate in a community solar program, like:

  • Solarize programs. These help potential solar customers use group purchasing power to reduce installation prices by up to 10 to 20 percent. Two options in New York City include the NYC Solar Partnership’s Solarize NYC program and Solar One’s Here Comes Solar program.  
  • Community-shared solar programs. For building owners and renters without adequate roof space for solar PV, these programs offer subscriptions to portions of a large solar array located on- or off-site at another building. The Shared Solar NYC program offers this for building owners and multifamily renters.

Online Interactive NY Solar Map

The NY Solar Map is a free interactive map that displays every building in New York State’s solar potential, possible savings, and relevant incentive and tax benefit programs. Check it out here.

Solar Thermal

Solar hot water heaters—also known as solar thermal systems—use the sun’s energy to heat water for use within a building. These systems are typically connected to an existing hot water system to provide between 25–80 percent of a building’s hot water needs. Get more information about solar thermal pump systems here

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pump systems—also known as ground source heat pumps—use the relatively stable temperature of the earth to provide both heating and cooling. Get more information about geothermal heat pump systems here.

Combined Heat and Power

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems—also known as co-generation—generate electricity on-site for a building. They burn fuel—typically natural gas—and use the excess heat to provide space heating or hot water. These systems achieve up to 80 percent fuel efficiency as compared to electricity generated by a power plant, which is just 15 to 45 percent efficient. CHP systems can also provide back-up power in the event of an emergency, providing electricity to operate a building’s critical functions like elevators, water pumps, and emergency lighting.

Renewable Energy and On-Site Generation Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Renewable Energy?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Heating

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Heating

Get Cash Back for Heating Upgrades

Several programs offer cash incentives for upgrading your heating system. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

The energy used to create heat accounts for more than 30 percent of energy use from large buildings in New York City, and almost half of the energy use from a typical large multifamily building. Upgrades to the heating system—combined with proper operations and equipment maintenance—can significantly reduce energy use, save money, and help residents feel more comfortable.

Central Heating Systems

Central heating systems include a centralized heating source—typically a boiler—and a system of pipes or ducts to distribute heat throughout the building. Addressing the heating system as a whole instead of individual components allows for greater efficiency and cost savings over time.

Boilers are the most common type of central heating equipment in New York City buildings. Boilers burn fossil fuels—typically natural gas or heating oil—to create heat. To increase boiler efficiency and reduce fossil fuels use, you can:

Heating Oil Conversions

Does your building burn No. 4 heating oil? You will have to comply with the City’s regulation requiring buildings to convert to cleaner fuels by 2030, or at time of boiler or burner replacement, whichever is sooner. Get details about heating oil conversions.

  • Tune up your boiler to ensure it is operating efficiently. 
  • Retrofit existing controls or install new ones, and add heat sensors to regulate the boiler.
  • Upgrade to a more efficient boiler, such as an ENERGY STAR® boiler.
  • Install a linkageless burner and draft controls to increase the efficiency of the boiler.
  • Convert away from heavy heating oil to a cleaner fuel.

There are additional high-impact, low-cost measures to address the efficiency of the heating distribution system. You can:

  • Install temperature sensors to better monitor and balance heat distribution.
  • Install smart thermostats that automate temperatures for more balanced heat distribution.
  • Install pipe and boiler insulation to reduce the loss of heat through pipes.
  • Install variable speed drives to reduce fan and pump speeds.

There are also a range of upgrades specifically for steam heating distribution systems. Learn more about steam heating system upgrades.

Heat Pump Systems

Air source and ground source heat pump systems are additional options that can provide both central heating and cooling to a building. Air source heat pumps are essentially high efficiency air conditioning systems that are able to run in reverse to provide heat during the winter. Ground source heat pumps use the relatively stable temperature of the earth to provide heating and cooling. Installing an air source or a ground source heat pump offers a cleaner source of energy than typical fossil fuel-based heating systems.

To make the most of heating system upgrades, improve the building envelope by adding insulation or sealing air leaks to help keep warm air inside.

Heating Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Heating?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Cooling

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Cooling

Get Cash Back for Cooling Upgrades

Several programs offer cash incentives for upgrading your central or non-central cooling system. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

The energy used for cooling accounts for almost 10 percent of the energy use from a typical large building in New York City. There are many options for improving cooling efficiency.

Central Cooling Systems

Central cooling systems include central chilled water systems—which consist of chillers, cooling towers, and other equipment—or base-building condenser water loops that serve the entire building. If you have one of these cooling systems in your building, you can:

  • Upgrade the chiller to a higher efficiency model.
  • Optimize temperature sensors and controls for the chiller plant.
  • Install a building management system (BMS) to better control temperatures based on sensor feedback from multiple occupant spaces.
  • Monitor and calibrate supplemental cooling equipment, which are typically found in resident spaces.
  • Install variable frequency drives on motors and pumps that distribute conditioned air and/or chilled water throughout the building.

Additional measures can improve the cooling system as a whole. You can:

  • Install insulation on pipes and ducts to reduce heat loss.
  • Seal loose connections in ductwork to prevent air leaks.
  • Ensure air filters are properly installed and free of debris to improve efficiency.

Non-Central Cooling Systems

Non-central cooling systems provide cooling to individual rooms or specific zones of a building. These systems include packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs), window air conditioners, through-wall air conditioners, and air-cooled packaged units. In New York City buildings, non-central cooling systems are more common than central cooling systems. To improve the efficiency of these systems, you can:

  • Replace old air conditioning units with newer, more efficient models.
  • Install smart controls on air conditioners to automate temperature settings.
  • Install unit covers or insulation on room air conditioning units.
  • Install an air source heat pump to replace a packaged rooftop air conditioner unit.

To make the most of cooling system upgrades, improve the building envelope by adding insulation or sealing air leaks to help keep cool air inside.

Cooling System Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Cooling?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Lighting

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Lighting


Get Cash Back for Lighting Upgrades

Several programs offer cash incentives for upgrading your lighting. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

The energy used for lighting accounts for more than 10 percent of energy use from a typical large building in New York City. Lighting upgrades often have some of the quickest payback periods, so you can often recoup the upfront cost in two years or less.

Light Bulbs

Traditional incandescent bulbs waste energy because they create more heat than light. Replacing them with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), or other high-efficiency fluorescent lighting is a simple way to begin saving.

Lighting Controls and Sensors

In many buildings, common areas are lit around the clock, even when no one is around. Lighting controls and sensors automatically turn lights on or off when you need them, which reduces the energy used for lighting as well as electricity costs. You can install:

  • Vacancy sensors that require someone to manually switch lights on, but automatically shut lights off after the room is vacant for a set period of time
  • Occupancy sensors that automatically switch lights on when someone enters the room and switch them off when they leave
  • Timers that switch lights on and off at scheduled times of day
  • Photocells that sense natural daylight and shut off or dim lights accordingly
  • Bi-level switching that dims lamps when full lighting is not needed, such as in stairwells

Lighting Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Lighting?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Water

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Water

Get Cash Back for Water Upgrades

Several programs offer cash incentives for upgrading your hot water system or reducing water consumption. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

The energy used to heat hot water accounts for almost a quarter of the energy used in a typical multifamily building. In addition, water consumption often accounts for a significant portion of a building’s operational costs. Upgrading to energy-efficient water heating systems and installing water conservation products can save both energy and water and lead to major cost savings.

Water Heaters and Boilers

If the same boiler that is used for space heating is also used to heat water, upgrades to the heating system may also increase the efficiency of the hot water system. To reduce the energy used to create hot water, you can:

  • Convert away from heavy heating oil to a cleaner fuel.
  • Insulate the water storage tank, boiler, and piping to reduce standby losses.
  • Upgrade to a tankless water heater to minimize heat losses associated with water tanks.
  • Separate hot water from the boiler and install a discrete hot water system for summer months.

Solar Hot Water Heaters

Solar hot water heaters are installed on the roof and use the sun’s energy to heat water. They are typically connected to existing hot water systems and can provide auxiliary heating that meets 25–80 percent of a building’s hot water needs. Solar hot water heater projects generally benefit buildings that have fewer than 12 stories and require short piping runs, large and unobstructed southern-facing roof spaces, and space for storage tanks.

Water Conservation

Reducing the amount of hot water your building uses is a great way to save energy. To save water and money, you can:

  • Install high-efficiency WaterSense® labeled showerheads.
  • Install WaterSense labeled faucet aerators.
  • Install WaterSense labeled dual-flush, high-efficiency toilets.
  • Use ENERGY STAR® clothes washers and dishwashers.
  • Inspect all water-using appliances and building equipment for leaks.

Water Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Water?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Building Envelope

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Building Envelope

Get Cash Back for Building Envelope Upgrades

Several programs offer cash incentives or grants for upgrading various parts of your building envelope. Ask a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Efficiency Advisor for details.

The building envelope refers to all barriers that separate the inside of a building from the outside, including the roof, walls, windows, doors, and foundation. Sealing air leaks, adding insulation, or replacing components of the building envelope will help keep warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer.

Air leakage through the building envelope can cause significant heat loss—often wasting up to 25 percent of the heat produced in multifamily buildings.

Air Sealing and Insulation

Many buildings lose heat as a result of air leakage through room air conditioning units that are left in place or uncovered during the winter. One of the biggest sources of heat loss is air leakage through open vents at the top of elevator shafts and stairwells on the roof. This lost heat can cost multifamily building owners an average estimated $3,400 each year, and taller buildings could spend well over $20,000 on wasted heat. To prevent heat loss, you can:

  • Cover open elevator shaft vents and stairwell vents with glass.
  • Install motorized louvers that stay closed unless an alarm system automatically opens them in the event of an emergency.
  • Remove or cover room air conditioning units during the winter.
  • Add or replace insulation in walls and on roofs.
  • Caulk or install weather stripping around windows to eliminate gaps around the frame.

Windows

Windows can account for 10–30 percent of heat loss in multifamily residential buildings. Replacing windows can significantly reduce these losses, although this may have longer paybacks than other efficiency measures. In addition to replacing windows, you can:

  • Seal gaps or cracks around the frame using caulk, weather stripping, flashing tape, and/or gaskets to reduce air leaks.
  • Add special coatings to existing windows to improve efficiency.

Roofs and Heat Absorption

Because heat rises, is often lost through a building’s roof in the winter. In the summer, sunlight can heat a flat, black asphalt rooftop to up to 190 degrees. A hot roof will heat the entire building, which causes your cooling system to work harder. To reduce energy waste, you can:

  • Insulate your roof to prevent heat loss in the winter.
  • Add a cool roof to reduce heat absorption in the summer by painting your roof with a highly reflective, light colored coating.
  • Install a green roof to reduce heat absorption by planting a layer of low maintenance plants on the roof.
  • Install a blue roof to reduce heat absorption and capture and retain rainfall in temporary ponds.

Building Envelope Resources

Roofs and Heat Absorption

Ready to Improve the Building Envelope?
Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Heating Oil Conversions

Ways to Save Energy and Water

Heating Oil Conversions

The NYC Retrofit Accelerator continues the mission of NYC Clean Heat, a successful program that provided guidance to help building owners convert off of No. 6 and No. 4 heavy heating oil to cleaner fuels.

In April 2011, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection issued regulations requiring buildings with certain sized boilers, typically found in buildings 40,000 square feet or larger, to convert from No. 6 and No. 4 heavy heating oils to cleaner fuels. The deadline for converting off of No. 6 heating oil was June 30, 2015. The City achieved 100 percent compliance with the regulation, due largely to the direct assistance provided through NYC Clean Heat.

Buildings still burning No. 4 oil must switch to a cleaner fuel by 2030 or during boiler or burner replacement, whichever is sooner. Buildings have four alternative fuels to choose from: ultra-low sulfur (ULS) No. 2 oil, biodiesel, natural gas, or steam.

ULS No. 2 Oil

Converting to ULS No. 2 oil typically involves less upfront investment than converting to natural gas. Most burners that can use No. 4 oil can also burn ULS No. 2 oil and biodiesel, but tanks must be cleaned—and possibly retrofitted—first. Typically, conversion costs are low unless your building needs a new burner or oil tank.

ULS No. 2 Oil Blended with Biodiesel

ULS No. 2 oil can be made cleaner by blending it with biodiesel, a renewable fuel that comes mostly from vegetable and soybean oil. ULS No. 2 oil blended with 20 percent or more biodiesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a multifamily building by up to 20 percent. The conversion process is nearly identical to a ULS No. 2 oil conversion. As an added benefit, biodiesel users are eligible for an income tax credit from New York State through the end of 2016.

Natural Gas

Converting from No. 4 oil to natural gas can reduce a typical multifamily building’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 percent. Converting from oil to natural gas requires planning. Most buildings need six to 12 months to evaluate internal conversion costs, coordinate with utilities to access a gas line, develop a construction timeline, and determine financing for the conversion.

Con Edison Area Growth Zones

Con Edison has identified certain zones, called Area Growth Zones, throughout New York City in which the utility plans to expand its natural gas infrastructure in 2017. If your building falls within these zones, you may be eligible to connect to firm (uninterruptible) gas service with one entry point and pay no additional cost for the connection. Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator for more information.

District Steam

Buildings located in Manhattan on either the west side south of 96th Street or the east side south of 86th Street may have access to Con Edison’s district steam delivery system. Connecting to Con Edison’s system eliminates the need for on-site boilers and can free up valuable space for other uses. Converting to district steam can be particularly attractive if existing boilers are approaching the end of their useful lives or are in need of costly improvements.

Do you use heating oil to heat space or water? If so, upgrades to your heating and cooling systems may boost your building’s overall energy efficiency.

Air Quality Benefits of Heating Oil Conversions

Today, New York City’s air is cleaner than it has been in 50 years—preventing over 800 premature deaths and 2,000 hospital visits annually.

Heating Oil Conversion Resources

Ready to Start Saving on Heating Oil Conversions?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Incentives

Incentives

Many programs in New York provide incentives to help cover the costs of energy and water upgrade projects. For more information about incentives that might be right for your building, contact us and we will help you identify programs that fit your needs.

Incentive Programs

  • New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers a variety of financial incentives and assistance programs, including:
    • The FlexTech Program offers cost-shared technical services for commercial buildings to work with a team of engineers and technology experts to create customized energy studies. FlexTech can also assist in combined heat and power feasibility studies.
    • The Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) provides multifamily buildings with a performance-based incentive for whole-building retrofits. The MPP program also provides a list of MPP certified contractors who can help you make the most of your projects.
    • NYSERDA’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Programs assist buildings and campuses interested in generating clean, efficient, on-site heating and electricity. NYSERDA's CHP resource page provides more information on how to figure out if one of the CHP programs is right for your project.
    • The Industrial and Process Efficiency (IPE) Program provides performance-based incentives for manufacturers and data centers that implement efficiency and process improvements. Visit NYSERDA's IPE program website for details.
    • The Existing Facilities Program offers commercial properties both a performance-based and pre-qualified path for receiving incentives for energy efficiency.
  • Con Edison: If you are a Con Edison electric and/or gas customer, your small business, multifamily, commercial, or industrial building may qualify to receive incentives or rebates for building surveys, energy-efficient equipment upgrades, and other efficiency measures under one of their energy efficiency programs.
  • National Grid: If you are a National Grid gas customer, you may be eligible for rebates for high-efficiency heating and water heating equipment and other incentives for commercial and industrial, hospitality, business, and multifamily customers. Learn more about the National Grid's Energy Efficiency Services.
  • New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps income-eligible families and individuals by reducing their heating/cooling costs and improving the safety of their homes through energy efficiency measures. Owners of multifamily buildings occupied by low-income households are also encouraged to apply for assistance.
  • NY-Sun, New York State’s solar program, assists a wide range of sectors to install solar energy by stimulating the market for this renewable source of electricity. NY-Sun uses a Megawatt Block system to provide incentives to various sectors and assist in scaling up the solar sector in New York State.
  • NYC °CoolRoofs is a City initiative that supports local jobseekers in building high-demand skills while cooling New York City rooftops with a white reflective coating that reduces building energy consumption and citywide carbon emissions. For more information on how to participate, contact coolroofs@sbs.nyc.gov or visit NYC CoolRoofs online.
  • Natural Gas Conversion Incentives Both Con Edison and National Grid provide incentives for converting to natural gas.
    • Con Edison offers customized plans to assist current and potential customers with the capital investments necessary to convert to natural gas. Learn more about ConEd’s multifamily and commercial gas conversion incentives.
    • National Grid offers customized plans to cover up to 50 percent of conversion costs for business and multifamily customers switching from heating oil to natural gas. Learn more about National Grid’s gas conversion incentives.

Water Conservation Incentive Programs

NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Multifamily Conversion Program provides multifamily housing larger than four units with flat-rate billing in exchange for the customer implementing certain conservation measures. To assist building owners in complying with the program, DEP created the Toilet Replacement Program to cover the cost of each new high-efficiency toilet purchased.

Financing

Financing

A variety of programs are available in New York to help you pay for energy efficiency upgrades and water conservation measures. Contact us for more information and assistance in finding a financing solution that suits your building and your needs.

City Financing

  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Preservation Finance programs provide financing to facilitate the physical and financial sustainability and affordability of privately owned multifamily buildings throughout New York City. In addition, HPD recently launched the Green Housing Preservation Program to provide no- and low-cost financing for energy efficiency and water conservation improvements, along with moderate rehabilitation work, for small- to mid-sized multifamily buildings that are greater than 5 units and less than 50,000 square feet (approximately 50 units).
  • NYC Housing Development Corporation's (HDC) Program for Energy Retrofit Loans offers financing for energy efficiency improvements and fuel conversions for multifamily properties currently in HDC and HPD's portfolio. HDC is a public benefit corporation created by the New York state legislature to provide financing for multifamily affordable housing. Contact Diana Glanternik at dglanternik@nychdc.com for more information.

NYC Retrofit Accelerator Qualified Lenders

The following lenders have been qualified by the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and can provide financing for a variety of projects. Contact us to learn more about which firm is right for your project. If you are interested in becoming a NYC Retrofit Accelerator Qualified Lender, see the Request for Qualification posting on the City Record.

  • The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) is a non‐profit dedicated to financing energy efficiency and clean energy projects in both multifamily and commercial buildings. NYCEEC works with incentive providers and financial partners like the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and utilities to finance many deep and high return retrofits. NYCEEC can finance up to 100 percent of project costs, including construction and soft costs, and bridge incentive payments to match construction milestones.  NYCEEC provides loans starting at $50,000 and up to $6 million.

    Contact Posie Constable for more information: 646-797-4615, pconstable@nyceec.com

  • Ascentium Capital provides access to a broad array of financing structures without having to deal with complicated application procedures. A specialized finance team provides a consultative approach to suit each organization’s cash flow needs. Ascentium can offer financing from $10,000 to $2 million—requiring only an application up to $250,000, financing agreements and working capital loans, deferred payment options, and 100 percent financing to cover soft costs such as shipping, tax, and installation.

    Contact Josh Patton for more information: 281-902-1969, JoshPatton@AscentiumCapital.com

  • Barrett Capital Corporation, a private finance company, has been providing lending, leasing, and advisory services for 30 years. Barrett Capital focuses on funding clean energy and energy efficiency projects and associated construction/bridge loans. Barrett Capital is a Participating Lender with NYSERDA. Barrett Capital has a particular focus on offering cooperative corporations, condominium associations, and other multifamily buildings unsecured financing and shared savings arrangements with no up-front cost options.

    Contact Barry Korn for more information: 212-319-8400, bkorn@barrettcapital.com

  • Byline provides 100 percent financing for energy efficiency retrofit projects of all types and sizes, including a wide variety of commercial and non-profit clients. Byline’s credit process is streamlined to provide credit decisions in 24 hours or less for transactions under $125,000. Transactions up to $500,000 generally take less than one business week for credit decisions. Larger transactions are considered on a case-by-case basis and require additional underwriting criteria.

    Contact Ross Reida for more information: 503-807-214, rreida@bylinefinancialgroup.com

  • The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company. CPC’s process pairs in-house technical expertise with innovative financing strategies to help owners understand sustainability opportunities in their buildings. Financing is available for large efficiency projects or simple improvements as a part of a broader rehabilitation or capital investments. CPC offers capital solutions from acquisition and refinancing to construction and permanent loans.

    Contact Elizabeth Derry for more information: 646-822-9427, EDerry@communityp.com

  • M-Core™ Credit Corporation is a full-service asset-based lender, primarily focused on financing energy retrofits, sustainable energy projects, and equipment for businesses. M-Core provides services to both equipment end-users and vendors that sell and install the equipment. M-Core Credit has financed energy projects in the multifamily and commercial segments since the 1990s.

    Contact Michael Wiseberg for more information: 845-369-8777 x221, Michael@M-CoreCredit.com

  • SparkFund provides flexible financing solutions for small to medium sized energy efficiency projects. SparkFund integrates financing into partner networks—contractors, manufacturers, OEMs, and ESCOs—to create customized financing solutions for commercial and non-profit customers. SparkFund’s financing mechanisms include several payment plan options including leases and loans. SparkFund's online tools, resources, and sales trainings can help partners offer upgrades at no upfront cost to the customer.

    Contact Virginia Hewitt for more information: 202-733-5625, virginia@sparkfund.com

Fuel Oil Conversion Financing

Many buildings will be able to convert to a cleaner fuel with relatively minor upfront cost, while others may incur more significant costs. Several considerations may determine whether financing is needed and, if so, what financing is available. Download a conversion financing guide to learn more and contact a lender that can provide financing for clean heat conversion.

Education and Training

Education and Training

Education is crucial at every step of the retrofit process. Several local organizations are dedicated to developing educational resources and delivering effective training on efficiency topics.

Many of these organizations offer comprehensive trainings designed to help building staff operate and maintain buildings to be as efficient, healthy, and comfortable as possible. These courses are crucial to ensure a new upgrade meets expected energy savings and to maintain systems.

Looking for a short course? The NYC Retrofit Accelerator now offers a series of one- to two-day hands-on training sessions focused on operating, maintaining, and diagnosing challenges in specific systems. Interested participants can register for one or all of the NYC Retrofit Accelerator courses. To learn more or register for a session, click here.

The following organizations offer training resources:

  • The Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) is the education and information hub of the NYC Retrofit Accelerator. BEEx is a non-profit organization created by the City of New York that provides support for the building industry through energy and lighting efficiency education, technical exhibits, research, and networking opportunities. Visit the BEEx online web portal or visit them in person at 31 Chambers Street, 6th Floor in Manhattan, NY.
     
  • Solar One is a New York City-based non-profit that offers programs promoting urban sustainability and education. Their Green Workforce Training Program offers green hard skills technical training and industry recognized certifications tied to green building operations and maintenance and energy efficiency. Visit Solar One’s Green Workforce page for more information.
     
  • Urban Green Council (UGC) is the New York affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council. UGC offers a range of training opportunities, including their popular Green Professionals (GPRO) training course, which is a 14-hour practical introduction to green building operations for building operators and managers that includes a certificate exam. UGC also offers regular webinars and trainings on how to comply with Local Laws 87 and 88. Visit UGC’s Education page for other training opportunities.
     
  • CUNY Building Performance Lab (CUNY BPL) works to advance high-performance building operations through training, workforce development, and research. They are a leading provider of Building Operator Certification and offer a wide range of other trainings. Visit CUNY BPL for more information about their trainings and certification courses.
     
  • The 32BJ Green Building Training program is part of 32BJ’s Training Fund and offers a range of course options from those developed by 32BJ to other courses that teach to industry certifications. The 32BJ Training Fund offers these courses at no cost to members whose employers contribute to the fund. Visit the 32BJ Green Building Training program page for more information.
     
  • The Local 94 Training Fund provides Local 94 members with a mandatory course covering fundamentals and voluntary courses on topics including Energy Conservation, Green Building, and High Efficiency Low-Pressure Boilers. The Local 94 Training Fund is available at no cost to members whose employers contribute to the fund. Visit Local 94’s Training Fund site for more information.
     
  • The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS. IREM offers real estate managers both classroom and online training, including self-paced online courses in both Commercial and Residential Maintenance operations and Sustainable Real Estate Management. Visit the IREM Education page for more information.
     
  • The Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) is a non-profit, independent educational institute for that offers property and facility managers a variety of industry certifications, designations, and topic -specific courses. BOMI’s courses cover a wide range of topics from operations and maintenance basics, to system-specific courses, to high performance building principles. Visit the BOMI site for more information.
     
  • The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is a non-profit professional society that offers a wide range of certifications for Energy Engineers along with seminars that serve as official preparatory courses for these certification exams. Visit the AEE Programs site for more information.
     
  • The Building Performance Institute (BPI) develops standards for energy efficiency retrofit work in residential buildings as well as professional certifications to qualify individuals and companies that can perform work to these standards. Visit BPI’s website to find a local BPI certification course or qualified professionals.

Additional educational resources include:

  • GreeNYC is New York City’s public education program dedicated to informing, engaging, and mobilizing New Yorkers to take simple, meaningful steps to reduce their energy use, generate less waste, and live more sustainable lifestyles. Visit GreeNYC to get tips on how to weatherize your home and follow a more sustainable lifestyle.
     
  • The NYC Carbon Challenge is the City’s voluntary leadership program for private and institutional sector leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30‒50 percent in 10 years. The Carbon Challenge website also provides resources, including case studies of Carbon Challenge participants and a Handbook for Multifamily Buildings.

Want Help Finding Training Opportunities?

Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.

Building Energy Local Laws

Building Energy Local Laws

The NYC Retrofit Accelerator is available to assist owners and decision-makers of buildings that must comply with New York City’s building energy local laws. These include:

  • Energy and Water Use Benchmarking. New York City’s Local Law 84 of 2009 mandates annual energy and water use benchmarking for buildings over 50,000 square feet in gross floor area and properties with two or more buildings on a tax lot that measure over 100,000 square feet in gross floor area. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to mid-size buildings between 25,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet (Local Law 133 of 2016). The new law will take effect after utilities begin automatically uploading benchmarking data to an online tool like Portfolio Manager, which is anticipated by 2018. For more information, visit the City’s Benchmarking page.  
  • Energy Audits & Retro-commissioning. New York City’s Local Law 87 of 2009 requires buildings greater than 50,000 square feet in gross floor area to complete an energy audit and retro-commissioning measures once every 10 years. For more information, visit the City’s Energy Audits and Retro-commissioning page.
  • Lighting Upgrades.  New York City’s Local Law 88 of 2009 requires lighting upgrades in non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet in gross floor area. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to require lighting upgrades for commercial buildings between 25,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet as well as in common spaces in multifamily buildings (Local Law 134 of 2016). For more information, visit the City’s Lighting Upgrades and Sub-metering page.
  • Sub-metering. New York City’s Local Law 88 of 2009 (LL88) requires the installation of energy sub-metering in tenant spaces greater than 10,000 square feet. In 2016, the City expanded this requirement to include sub-metering for all non-residential tenant spaces over 5,000 square feet in area (Local Law 132 of 2016). For more information, visit the City’s Lighting Upgrades and Sub-metering page.
  • Clean Heat Regulations. In 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection issued regulations that require all buildings burning No. 4 heating fuel oil to convert to a cleaner fuel (natural gas, ultra-low sulfur No. 2 oil, biodiesel, or steam) upon boiler or burner retirement or by January 1, 2030, whichever is sooner. For a summary of these regulations, visit the Clean Heat Regulations page.
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