FirstService Residential Sustainability Symposium Provides Roadmap to Energy Efficiency Upgrades For NYC Multifamily Properties

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Experts discuss how financial incentives, rebates, and project financing options reduce building operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions

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FirstService Residential, New York’s leading property management company, hosted a Sustainability Symposium on September 29 for its clients. This exclusive event was designed to provide board members and rental property owners with a roadmap for implementing energy efficiency upgrades in their multifamily buildings and information about how these retrofits align with New York City’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

A series of presentations and a panel discussion featured experts from agencies that offer programs to entice multifamily buildings to improve efficiency while reducing costs and emissions. Speakers represented the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Con Edison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Multifamily Performance Program, and the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC).

Topics included financial incentives and rebates available to buildings for efficiency upgrades and project financing options. In addition, attendees learned how complying with Local Law 87 – which mandates that buildings over 50,000 square feet undergo periodic energy audit and retro-commissioning measures every 10 years – can assist them in planning efficiency improvements. Incentives and rebates are currently available for projects ranging from LED light fixtures, high efficiency boilers, and pipe insulation, to roof insulation and energy management systems.

The event was moderated by Kelly Dougherty, director of energy management for FS Energy, the energy advisory subsidiary of FirstService Residential. FS Energy develops and implements long-term efficiency strategies for properties managed by FirstService Residential with the goal of reducing energy use, costs and emissions.

Residences account for 37 percent – the largest single source – of New York City emissions. And energy costs can comprise up to 30 percent of an average building’s operating expenses. With more than 500 condominiums, cooperatives and rental buildings in the company’s management portfolio, FirstService Residential is in an incomparable position to help significantly reduce these numbers, while simultaneously increasing property values and improving resident comfort.

“FirstService Residential has a social responsibility to help protect the environment and an economic obligation to help our clients lower their operating costs and achieve real monetary savings,” said Dan Wurtzel, president, FirstService Residential New York. “This symposium is part of our commitment to continuously educate our clients and staff on the benefits of sustainability, and to provide direct access to the resources available to help them navigate the road to efficiency.”

Before and after the formal program, attendees had the opportunity to speak directly with representatives from 18 organizations about issues specific to their property – including seven firms that provide Local Law 87 engineering services.

“When it comes to advancing energy efficiency projects, multifamily properties are a particular challenge. Barriers can include high initial costs, misunderstanding the maze of available programs, access to capital, misinformation about technology, and board member discord,” said Dougherty. “Our event was intended to debunk these challenges while introducing our clients to the strategies and resources that are available to help speed up the pace of energy efficiency improvements in their buildings.”

Participating organizations included:

New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), a non-profit dedicated to providing fast, flexible financing to meet the full range of an energy efficiency project’s needs.

NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, which oversees programs aimed to improve efficiency in the city’s privately-owned buildings which are key components of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reduce citywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

NYC Carbon Challenge for Multifamily Buildings, a voluntary program through which the city’s residential management companies have committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 30 percent by making cost-saving energy efficiency improvements.

NYC Retrofit Accelerator, a free program that offers advisory services to owners during the steps required to successfully complete water and energy efficiency projects.

Community Retrofit NYC, a free program for properties in central Brooklyn and southern Queens with 5 to 50 units that supports owners during the retrofit process and connects buildings to the city’s new Green Housing Preservation Program for financing and technical assistance.

Con Edison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program (MFEEP), which provides financial and technical support to owners for approved equipment upgrades in common areas and in units.

New York State Energy Research and Development Au¬thority (NYSERDA), which helps owners optimize performance of sys¬tems and equipment through various incentives and rebates.

National Grid, through which owners can take advantage of programs to weatherize facilities or make other energy efficiency improvements.

PHOTO CAPTION
Panelists participating in the FirstService Residential Sustainability Symposium: A Roadmap to Energy Efficiency for Multifamily Properties included: (L-R) Neil Quinn, Con Edison; Dean Zias, NYSERDA; Kelly Dougherty, director of energy management, FS Energy; Samuel Man, coordinator, NYC Carbon Challenge for Multifamily Properties; Jenna Tatum, senior policy advisor, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and Erangi Dias, NYCEEC. Not pictured: Posie Constable, NYCEEC.

About FirstService Residential
FirstService Residential is North America's largest manager of residential communities and the preferred partner of HOAs, community associations and strata corporations in the U.S. and Canada. FirstService Residential's managed communities include low-, mid- and high-rise condominiums and cooperatives, single-family homes, master-planned, lifestyle and active adult communities, and rental and commercial properties.

With an unmatched combination of deep industry experience, local market expertise and personalized attention, FirstService Residential delivers proven solutions and exceptional service that add value, enhance lifestyles and make a difference, every day, for every resident and community it manages. FirstService Residential is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, a North American leader in the property services sector. For more information, visit http://www.fsresidential.com.

About FS Energy
FS Energy, the energy advisory subsidiary of FirstService Residential, takes a holistic approach to energy management by applying state-of-the-art data analysis to evaluate a prop¬erty’s energy consumption. The company’s efficiency experts then consider all practical Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to recommend a customized solution that will reduce a property’s energy expenses and lower CO2 emissions while increasing efficiency and resident comfort. Formed in 2009, FS Energy has helped FirstService Resi-dential clients save more than $25 million in energy costs while reducing the carbon footprint of the New York portfolio by more than 15 percent.

FirstService Residential provides each of its managed properties with an annual Energy Report Card that analyzes the property’s energy data and benchmarks it against similar properties. These advanced analytics arm clients with the information needed to seize opportunities and make decisions that make the most sense for their building.

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Dana Collins
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