Ways to Save Energy and Water
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.
- U.S. Department of Energy Furnaces and Boilers
- EPA ENERGY STAR® Heating & Cooling
- U.S. Department of Energy Air-Source Heat Pumps
- U.S. Department of Energy Heat Distribution Systems
- NRDC Energy Efficiency for All: Clanging Pipes and Open Windows: Upgrading NYC Steam Systems
Ready to Start Saving on Heating?
Contact the NYC Retrofit Accelerator team today.