So, I was at MTA’s main bus terminal in Brooklyn today. We are working with them to lower their energy consumption and we were there to discuss the first phase of the project. I sat down, felt a breeze on my neck, looked over to the right and saw that the air conditioning was cranked. I knew at that moment, I made the right career decision to follow my passion, be part of the Energy & Environmental industries, and join US Energy Group to have a shot at making a difference. We were clearly going to be able to help the MTA – big time!
But, it also confused me. Why didn’t they do this sooner? Energy Management Systems are not new. The price of oil is sky high and management obviously would love to reduce costs. So, why do they wisely look for lower priced alternatives (like natural gas), yet ignore the even bigger issues of system inefficiencies, environmental pollution, and wasteful usage?
The answer is that energy efficiency is at odds with what their employees working in the buildings want. We see this all the time in residential apartments too (who hasn’t lived in a city apartment where you saw windows wide open in the dead of winter, throwing fuel, energy and money to the wind?). Though we give lip-service to energy conservation, we place our personal comfort even higher. So how do you fix this problem? The answer is finding and maintaining each building’s perfect balance of Efficiency, Conservation, and Comfort!
However, you can’t just mandate efficiency. Though NYC Local Law 87’s Benchmarking of baseline performance is a good start, you can’t manage what you don’t monitor. If you don’t measure, you can’t see. So that’s the next step. To paraphrase that great philosopher, Yogi Berra, “You can understand a lot about fuel and energy efficiency just by watching it!” (Okay, well Yogi didn’t say that. But it’s true!)
How? Well, that’s the interesting part. Now, in a web-connected world, the answer is the combination of monitoring-software and savvy management control. But Internet monitoring is only part of the answer. US Energy’s application, as an example, sits in the “cloud” and monitors every bit of energy being used in the building — heating, cooling, electric (and water too). It’s working and providing information all the time …. even when the property manager is in a meeting or the super is helping Miss Jones bring the groceries to her apartment. The software looks for problems and even sends out alerts when it sees one. But someone, someone experienced, trained — a savvy professional — needs to act on the alert, weigh and then act on the information, and maintain the balance of optimum efficiency and comfort.
How much fuel did we use by this time last heating season and why does it spike every Thursday? Why is the 4th floor on target and yet the 6th floor’s temperatures are rising? Whoops, the electric bill is out of whack this past month. “OMG” we’ve got to do something about a jump in water use across the portfolio. What do we do? How do we do it? People make these decisions not software and US Energy’s TEEM (Total Energy Efficiency Management) Service gives you your own real-time, full-time Energy Expert to constantly fine tune the perfect balance of each building and an entire portfolio of buildings.
Fuel, electric energy and water is 40% of a buildings operating costs! But when we ask owners or top-management, “Who is watching your buildings?”the usual answer we get is, “The super and the property manager.” But, a property manager’s priority is keeping occupancy high and the super’s role is maintaining systems, handling emergencies and keeping residents satisfied. There’s a crying need for a real-time, full-time Energy Expert to constantly fine tune the perfect balance of each building and an entire portfolio of buildings … to reduce waste, reduce costs, enhance comfort AND improve the environment. We think we have the answer.
Check out our TEEM services to see if I am on the right track. Otherwise, we might as well open those windows wider and get a real good look at our planet drifting away.
-Brian Klansky, Senior Vice President of Sales