Importance of USEPA Tightening the Ground-Level Ozone Standard

On October 1, 2015, the USEPA issued tighter the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for smog, limiting ground-level ozone, the main indicator of smog, to 70 ppb from 75 ppb. This represents both the new primary (human health) and secondary (trees, ecosystems) standards. This is based on new scientific research on the effects of smog. The Clean Air Act requires that the USEPA review NAAQS standards every 5 years and adjust any if research indicates that it is too or not stringent enough to protect public health. The agency says the updated ozone NAAQS will reduce public exposure to smog, a cocophony of thousands of compounds, many of them toxic, and estimates that the public health benefits of these updated standards will be $2.9 to $5.9 billion annually in 2025 in avoided illnesses and deaths and added productivity, outweighing the estimated annual costs of $1.4 billion. “It is also notable that the Clean Air Act is one of the most life-saving pieces of legislation ever adopted by any country in history.” This was not quoted from an environmental group manifesto, but from Forbes Magazine!

The USEPA received criticism of the new standards from both sides. The USEPA entertained lowering the standard to as low as 60 ppb and, therefore, was criticized by some environmental groups for not going further than 70 ppm. Meanwhile organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement calling the new standard “overly burdensome, costly and misguided.”

While average ozone levels in the country have fallen 33%, according to the USEPA from when the Clean Air Act was formally administered until recently, many regions are still out of attainment with the old standard. A list of current non-attainment areas may be found here: Now that the standard has been lowered, some areas that worked hard to reach attainment may become out of attainment again. Depending on the degree of nonattainment, states will have until between 2020 and 2037 to revise and enforce regulations to meet the new standards.

Smog levels are influenced by emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), by product of combustion. These and other compounds enter into chemical reactions in the atmosphere catalyzed by sunlight and heat to form many compounds, some of which are harmful. Ozone is an indicator to measure smog levels. Thus, smog is highest in the summer and in sunnier areas of the country.

The USEPA will work with affected states and regions to modify its rules to tighten emission standards of VOCs and NOx. In many cases, however, smog components waft in from upwind sources of the compounds. The USEPA may, therefore, promote regional solutions.

CCES can help you estimate your VOC and NOx and other emissions and perform the technical work needed to evaluate your compliance status vis-à-vis current ozone and other federal and state air regulations. Plus, we can provide cost-effective strategies to comply or just to lower your emissions. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

“Do” Energy The Right Way

More and more people are getting it. The recent revolution in energy technology makes upgrades for a building not just the right “green” move, but also one of the smartest ways to invest money. Returns on investment of 15%, 20%, and much more per year can be achieved for a smart upgrade. Much better than you can get at a bank or on Wall Street, with no risk of loss!

However, some facility managers want to pursue this in a rush-rush manner. Go to the store, buy some new lights or controls or other items and just replace in kind for the reduced usage or wattage without determining the needs or the applications.

This is counterproductive. Changing lights, improving insulation, upgrading HVAC are the opportunities to take a deeper look at your building. Building functions change over time. People are moved to different areas; different activities occur; different equipment brought in. Therefore, your energy needs and demand will change, too.

It is important to take the time when you decide to make your energy upgrade to plan beforehand. For example, is the lighting you have now right for your workers, shoppers, etc.? Is the right amount of light being applied to desks or product being sold, etc., and less in other areas (but enough to be safe)? Just lowering wattage for the same type of light will not help or enhance your operations. Therefore, it is also important to invest money in lighting design. Bring in a professional lighting designer or one with experience in this area (there is now a new Certification in Lighting Design: CLD). Yes, you’ll spend some additional money, but you’ll definitely get it back in improved sales, more productive and less stressed employees, etc., on top of your energy cost savings. Get the right professionals involved early for other energy upgrades, too.

In fact, it is also critical to get the right people involved in your initial energy evaluation or audit, as well. The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) has many certification programs for professionals in the energy area, including Certified Energy Managers (CEMs), Certified Energy Auditors (CEAs), and retrocommissioning professionals (EBCP). I am pleased to say that I am a CEM and an EBCP, and I can tell you the training and amount of information I had to learn to pass the exams was great and comprehensive. In fact, AEE programs are gaining greater respect in the energy world, as CEM is the first program to receive recognition from the US DOE as aligning with their Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines and has also achieved ANSI accreditation.

The recognition by the US DOE elevates the importance of the CEM credential for evaluating your property. You should make sure that you don’t do your energy upgrade yourself or use just a run-of-the-mill person who claims to be an energy expert. At a minimum, the professional who oversees your energy upgrades should have a CEM or CEA certification. After all, you would not go to someone to do your taxes who is not experienced and certified, right? You would not go to a doctor or dentist for advice on a health matter who is not properly degreed and trained, right? Therefore, you should only trust your energy management with the great cost savings and productivity gain potential to experienced, recognized professionals.

CCES has the expertise and experience to perform comprehensive professional energy assessments and audits for diverse building types to provide a complete picture of not just your current energy usage, but also provide multiple energy conservation measures to help you reduce usage and demand and maximum benefits, through incentives and financing, as well. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

It’s Not Just Being Cool; Green Office Design Raises Productivity

Many companies and building owners and managers are skeptical about investing in green design of commercial space. It is a new concept to many; something not familiar from school. And many look at any change in terms of short-term business gains; environmental benefits are unimportant. For most businesses, personnel costs are its biggest expense. Can a “greener” office environment raise worker productivity and therefore make the firm more money? A report from the World Green Business Council ( provides widespread evidence that green office design does have a positive impact on worker productivity. And this is a key competitive business issue for most businesses.

This paper notes that for some businesses, up to 90% of their costs are involved in personnel (salaries, benefits, etc.). How can they get the most production out of this cost, whether it is better productivity and/or less absenteeism? The associated business cost of each employee with a high absentee rate and being underproductive can be $2,500 per year or more.

The report reviews peer-reviewed research and outlines a number of key areas where green features have been proven to improve occupant productivity or health:

1. Indoor Air Quality. Also known as IAQ, the concentration of solvents, particulates, and microorganisms that workers may be exposed to 40 or more hours per week has a major influence over productivity whether it be absenteeism or alertness and productivity while in the office. Studies show that improved ventilation can increase productivity by as much as 11%, making an investment in filters or better fresh air replenishment a great value. Of course, for retailers, IAQ is important to ensure that customers are relaxed and comfortable and, therefore, more willing to buy product.

2. Thermal Comfort. The thermal comfort that workers perceive affects productivity, as well. Productivity has been shown to drop 4% when workers are too cool and 6% when they are too warm. Studies have also shown that by giving office workers some control over the temperature of their workspace, some are more willing to accept a wider temperature range. However, do note that this is a difficult problem as different people in the same room may perceive the surroundings as too cold or as too warm at the same time, no matter what the thermostat is set for. What one wants to do is avoid the extremes which can distract a worker’s attention and potentially make him or her more vulnerable to infections. I came across a poorly functioning building where the office workers had to sit at their desks in their parkas or several sweaters. You can imagine the motivation to work hard and the productivity was poor. And these both were raised quickly when the HVAC was upgraded.

3. Lighting. All (indoor) workers work under artificial lights. The amount of light (lumens) is critical for a person to feel well (avoid eye strain) and to perform their jobs safely and properly. ASHRAE 90.1 and the IES publish information about minimum recommended concentrations of light per square foot (in lumens/sf) for different rooms with different functions (office, parking garage, class room, etc.). However, recent research shows that productivity is more complicated than just ensuring the right concentration of light in an area, as measured by a light meter. Research is showing that not all light is the same in terms of how they enter our eyes and stimulate the retina. The key is to maximize what scientists call visually effective lumens (VELs), based on the relative amounts of scotopic and phototopic light or S/P ratio. People appear to be more sensitive to cooler tone light (toward blue and green) rather than warmer tone light (toward yellow and red). As you change lighting to be more energy efficient, look for lights with a higher S/P ratio and those that are cooler in tone. It is worth investing in an experienced lighting professional to design the most productive light for your workers or to sell your product if you are in retail.

4. Daylighting. The report describes numerous studies stating that seeing natural light by having access to windows increases worker satisfaction and can even have health and mood benefits. This is certainly a positive contrast to earlier trends of windowless offices built with the thinking that a worker is more productive if he or she is not distracted with what goes on outside. Again, allowing sunlight in does improve productivity and mood. Similarly, the report states that workers with a view of nature from a window or those who have plants near their desks are more productive than those without a connection to nature. Some studies have shown workers can increase their time-on-task by up to 15% due to the presence of a window with a view.

5. Noise and Other Distractions. Workers exposed to distracting background noise suffer potentially large drops in productivity. Studies show an up to a 66% drop in productivity when workers are exposed to high background noise. This is particularly a growing issue as companies increase worker density to control real estate costs. The report cites research suggesting that installing physical design features affecting acoustics can be effective at reducing distractions and background noise in offices.

6. Access to Amenities. Though the report notes that not as many studies have been conducted on the matter, those that have consistently point to facility location and the presence of accessible amenities such as healthcare, shops, gyms, and particularly childcare centers as having a significant impact on occupant productivity. For example, the LEED point system for green buildings awards points for accessibility to mass transit and for having amenities, such as bike racks. One employer found that 68% of parents would have missed days of work if they were without access to an onsite childcare center.

CCES has the experts to help you improve your office, retail, or residential space to save you energy costs and improve the productivity and satisfaction of your workers. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Overcharging on Utility Bills Is Common, But What Can You Do?

As a licensed professional engineer and Certified Energy Manager, I have reviewed hundreds of utility bills and tracked energy consumption of many buildings to determine the feasibility of energy-efficiency upgrades. While I have been successful helping many buildings incorporate common-sense new technologies to save money, there is another, much simpler, risk-free way to save energy costs. In reviewing bills, I have come across seemingly obvious errors, such as incorrect tax rates and delivery taxes for ESCO accounts. With utility costs being a greater percentage of a building’s costs and ever-more complex electric, gas and water bills, there is a growing number of potential errors that could result in overcharging; errors that are difficult for even experienced building managers to catch even if they knew what to look for.

The way to avoid such issues and to not be overcharged on utility bills is a new and growing sub-field in energy services: BILL RECOVERY.

What is Bill Recovery?

It is simply the organized process of having your utility bills carefully scrutinized for errors by experts using complex algorithms that look at taxes, tariffs, meter-read errors, utility rates, and other issues that make up the over 100 components of a typical electric, gas or water bill.

Bill recovery services are generally contingency-based so there is no out-of-pocket cost to you. If no errors are found, the review will not cost you anything, and you will know that you were correctly charged. If errors are found, the company recovers the refund from the utility and sends you a pre-negotiated split of the recovery. Plus, you will have the assurance that you will be charged fairly in the future, and thus save future costs, too, compared to not having the review performed. For larger accounts, it has been shown to be worthwhile to go through the utility bill review process a second or even a third time as errors missed by other bill recovery companies have been found or due to changes in billing that occur subsequently.

I found the argument compelling. You should consider having a Bill Recovery analysis performed. Again, there is no cost to you for the analysis, and potentially much money to be recovered that you would not know about otherwise if errors are found.

However, make sure it is done by an experienced expert, using up-to-date software. You can contact Jean Hamerman at Vantage Energy at with any questions or just to learn more about a potential Bill Recovery program for you. No obligation. Vantage Energy ( has extensive experience in this area, saving its clients millions of dollars in improperly assessed utility costs.

Considering Green Leases

We all know there are many direct financial benefits to reducing one’s energy usage or to otherwise conserve resources and be “green”. However, there is one segment where these advantages are less obvious, and that is the leased community. In many cases, such as comfort, if a landlord invests money to make a building more efficient or “green”, the tenants benefit (reduced need for electricity and/or fuel usage) with, reduced costs, but the landlord does not get directly compensated for the initial investment. Examples include improving the building envelope or upgrading the A/C system. Thus, there is little motivation for a landlord to invest in energy upgrades.

As a result, there is a recent growing concept of “green” leases which incentivize energy and related upgrades. According to a recent study issued by the Institute for Market Transformation called “What’s in a Green Lease? Measuring the Potential Impact of Green Leases in the US Office Sector” (, green leases have the potential to cut energy consumption by 11 to 22% (or $0.26 to $0.51 per sq. ft.) in US leased office buildings.

The intention of “green” leases is to provide direct financial benefits for energy conservation measures to both the tenant and landlord for their investment.

The report provides ideas to consider to make a lease more “green”, such as:

• Savings Pass-Through: This allows landlords to pay for the investments in energy efficiency by directly adding a portion of the energy cost savings from their tenants in the rent over a period of a few years until the original investment is recouped.

• Energy-Efficient Tenant Buildout: This mandates that tenants meet certain basic “green” guidelines in the lease to ensure that the space (which the landlord owns) is high-performing. Taken to an extreme, it could mean that the space meets a certification program, such as LEED. However, since this can be quite expensive, minimal standards of lighting power density (watts/sq. ft.) or only using energy- and water-efficient equipment may suffice. The tenant saves money in the long run; the landlord has made no initial investment and the building is potentially more desirable upon re-sale or when the tenant moves out; and both meet sustainability goals. For example, ASHRAE 90.1-2013 recommends a lighting power density for an office of 0.82 watts/sq. ft. (and lists recommended power densities for other functions).

• Submetering: As discussed in other blogs, installing sub-meters for tenant spaces and having the lease re-written to mandate that tenants pay for electricity, gas, water, a proven way to make tenants aware of their utility usage. After a bill or two comes in and tenants see the correlation between usage and cost, they are incentivized to reduce energy and water usage.

Please note that this is a technical only evaluation about the topic of “green” leases, and not a legal one. Please speak to a qualified legal professional if you wish to develop “green” leases. CCES can help you assess your energy and water usage and develop smart, cost-effective ways to reduce your usage and costs without impacting and, in fact, enhancing your operations. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

More about Sub-metering: What to Look For

Two months ago I posted a blog article on sub-metering and its many benefits, such as providing a fair measure of what different users use in terms of electricity and other utilities in order to avoid or to resolve landlord-tenant disputes and to get real readings to encourage energy and water savings (when people see what they really use, they readily invest in technologies to save). At least two cities, New York and Philadelphia, have promulgated laws to mandate electricity sub-metering in certain situations. A recent report in EE Reports ( provides robust guides on the basics and how-to of sub-metering.

OK, you have agreed with the arguments that sub-metering will lead to eventual significant cost savings and avoid disputes before they start. There are 3 steps to implement sub-meters, as follows:

• Site Survey. Review drawings and walk the site to understand the layout and the site’s needs. Decide what you wish to sub-meter for. Electricity (the most common) only? Gas, water, other utilities, too? Have in mind the reason(s) you are sub-metering (M&V, demand response, cost allocation, optimizing building performance, and/or bill verification). How many sub-meters may you need, a number based on the number of tenants? Generally one sub-meter can accommodate one single phase or three-phase load and up to 7 connecting wires. An important item to consider is how will the sub-meters interface with your current (or perhaps future) building management or automation system. Wireless? Ethernet? Proper planning is so important.

• Commissioning. After installing your sub-meter (by a certified, experienced electrical contractor), don’t have the attitude of “set it and forget it”. You’ve invested the money and time; make sure the sub-meters provide reliable, accurate, accessible data. Compare values from the sub-meter with that of data measured by BMS software. Take 2 readings around a desired timeframe (ex. 1 hour apart) to determine usage, and compare. Take multiple readings in time. If the sub-meter readings are significantly different, then contact the vendor and/or installer to determine why. It could be faulty wiring or a faulty sub-meter. Perhaps a different model or type of sub-meter is needed to handle the load.

• Evaluate your savings. Now that the sub-meters are installed and operating, collect data to show how the electricity, water, etc. is now distributed among tenants and compare it to past readings (before the sub-meters) to determine long-term savings. Determine usage trends and tie them to location, time of day, building activities, etc. See in what areas your building can focus on to take the greatest advantage in terms of tenant leases, demand management, etc. Are the promised savings being met? Repeat these evaluations at least every year to see how the sub-meters continue to operate and to save your building money.

See to see the full “Metering and Sub-metering 101” and “102” Guides. CCES can help you assess the value of sub-metering your buildings and can plan and manage its complete implementation to maximize your financial benefits. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Don’t Go to Home Depot For Energy Retrofits

Today, building owners embarking on an energy upgrade to save costs have more data and more options than ever. More efficient HVAC systems, lights, windows, motors, and other equipment gives you many ways to save. In addition, technology from the many types of sensors and software can provide you with accurate site-specific energy data.

How do you start?

Start with an energy audit performed by an experienced engineer. The auditor should have not only an appropriate certification, such as Certified Energy Manager or Certified Energy Auditor, but should also have experience. The auditor should be provided historic energy use data and specifications and other information about your building and its energy systems. A good energy audit will contain estimations of how much energy is used for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, plug loads, etc. Armed with this information, the auditor can likely suggest several potential strategies to reduce energy usage throughout the building, what the upfront costs would be, cost savings, and ROI and simple payback. You the building owner can then make an informed decision on which projects to do and which not to do, and how to prioritize.

Implementation of selected energy-saving projects is not simple. It is tempting for a building owner to take short cuts to raise the ROI. For example, for an energy audit suggesting LED light substitution, the manager may go to “Home Depot” or similar retailer and just buy LED bulbs that appear to fit in “the socket”. This is a big mistake. The LED market is still variable, with a number of new vendors selling bulbs that do not meet standards. Good LED lights can last for tens of thousands of hours of operation. But some vendors sell inferior ones that can break down much sooner. Many retailers do not so differentiate and just want to sell the cheapest bulbs they can.

The better alternative

Stick with the energy professional to implement the energy strategies you choose. Besides ensuring a better, more reliable product, the professional often knows which incentive programs apply and can test and ensure your upgrades actually are working properly – to maximize your full benefits.

I recently performed an energy audit for a small office building, which included information about installing LEDs and occupancy sensors. The building’s owner, a DIY advocate, went to Home Depot and bought and installed the LEDs and sensors. I warned him, but he did it and now has lighting concerns and sensors that turn off lights in rooms while people are inside. He saved money, but has inconvenienced and potentially put workers and customers at some safety risk – to save some extra $.

Financing may be an issue. Your energy professional will likely know financial firms that offer low-interest financing. Financial firms are aware of the great ROI of energy upgrades and will “fight” for your business, as the default risk is low. You can implement selected energy projects with no money down. Your energy professional can help.

So, building owners and managers, here are some additional ways the time and expertise of an experienced energy professional is of great value for you.

• Comprehensive knowledge of technologies. Experienced energy experts work or read up on the latest technologies daily. We have a better knowledge of what will and won’t work in different situations compared to others, who might, at best, pay attention to energy issues sporadically. It is important to consider issues of billing, use and orientation the building, equipment age, etc. not one technology fits all situations. And going to the retail store to buy energy-efficient equipment misses your specific needs. Our expertise is worth the extra money spent in terms of additional savings, not to mention reliability and productivity.

• Planning. The energy professional can help a building owner make an informed decision on how to prioritize energy projects. With the recent revolution of energy technology, it is likely that several strategies will benefit you. The energy pro can lay out your options, recommend which ones make sense to go in a certain order to get more “bang for the buck”, and be able to reinvest savings from one project to the next. The energy pro can tell you which strategies are additive and which are exclusive. Perhaps, for example, money is so tight you can only upgrade a limited number of windows with film. The smart energy professional would tell you to prioritize the north-facing windows as they lose the most conditioned (heated) air in the winter. Without this advice, the building owner/manager may pick a hodgepodge of windows to treat, reducing the cost savings.

• Implementing your strategies. OK, you have developed a plan to implement one or several energy saving strategies. Bringing in the right technology vendor is important, but as important is the right subs to install it properly. It needs to be done right. Developing a bidding process takes time. The energy professional has done this before, knows how to put an RFP together, and understands the proposals to make a fair “apples-to-apples” comparison. Or the building manager can trust the experience of the energy professional to bring in a reliable vendor to do the job right. Either way, this is a big time saver for building staff.

• The implementation process. A factor that building owners/managers often overlook is the impact of the installation on their buildings and tenants. Do not just schedule a date for installation without an understanding of the process and infrastructure (doors, elevators, etc.) needed and effects (noise, space). One does not want to ruffle feathers of a tenant who may have a critical meeting that day and cannot afford to have construction noise. I worked with a client involved in a major capital project at his building across the street from the school. It was felt it was better to conduct the actual installation during the weekend to not effect or risk the school. Also, it is important for the installer not to be “surprised” so the installation goes smoothly and is not unnecessarily delayed. The energy professional can work with the installer to determine a plan which, together with management and tenants, causes the least amount of upheaval for all involved.

• How did it go? It is tempting to buy and install the energy technology, pat oneself on the back, and move on. We always look forward. But it is important to know how the strategy is performing. Is it really giving you the cost savings and payback predicted? Is the technology operating properly, as promised? The energy professional can monitor or commission its operation and provide a more nuanced approach to not only your direct energy cost savings, but also added benefits, such as productivity, work by O&M staff, etc. This provides robust data needed by management to know to determine the success of energy strategies.

So while it is tempting to take the results of an energy audit or even information from an article and just “go to Home Depot”, pick up equipment and DIY, it is really in your best interest in terms of building function and cost savings to have an experienced energy professional manage the implementation of energy-saving strategies that you choose.

CCES has the professionals to help your building develop a list of financially beneficial strategies to reduce energy use and demand to save you direct costs and result in other financial benefits. We have the experience to manage the complete project, as well, to maximize the reliability and financial benefits with minimal disruption to your staff and operations. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Case Study: CCES Performs Energy Evaluation to Settle Landlord-Tenant Dispute

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) performed an energy evaluation used to settle a landlord-tenant dispute. The landlord operates a mall in New York City with a main meter for electricity serving one restaurant plus a number of offices and common area in the complex. The landlord had been charging tenants for electricity based on a percentage of the meter reading, based on relative square footage. However, the landlord realized that the restaurant, with extended hours, large refrigeration needs, and an electric oven and domestic hot water, used much more electricity than the offices and common area. As a result, they doubled the proportion assessed to the restaurant, which the restaurant owner disputed.

CCES performed a comprehensive energy estimate of one year’s worth of energy usage of the restaurant, offices, and common areas all served by the main meter, based on sources of electricity and their average usage and time of operation. CCES determined that based on actual equipment and operations the usage of electricity by the restaurant was actually greater than that in the re-assessment made by the landlord. The report was reviewed for technical accuracy and was approved, and helped settle the landlord-tenant dispute.

Highlights of the Clean Power Plan of 2015

You have probably heard about the release of the final version of the Clean Power Plan on Aug. 3, 2015 ( Clean Power Plan Fact Sheet: ( It sets even stricter emission standards than the initial proposal of last year. The Clean Power Plan aims to cut GHG emissions by 32% from a 2005 baseline by 2030, while giving states greater flexibility to meet standards, such as that reductions do not need to begin to be achieved until 2020. Emission reductions must be phased in on a “gradual glide path” to 2030.


Under the Clean Power Plan, states must develop and submit a plan by 2018 to the USEPA for their approval containing the strategies to ensure that their power plants individually or as a group meet specific GHG performance rates for 2030 and for the years between 2022 and 2029. States will have until 2022 to begin phasing in emission reductions. This is a two year extension from the dates contained in the proposed rule.

States may choose between two approaches to meet their goals:
1. Emission standards plan – with power plant-specific emission rate or fuel-based requirements that a state must enforce that will achieve the required reductions.
2. State measures plan– includes a mixture of measures enforced by the state, such as power plant-specific emission reduction standards, renewable energy standards, and programs to improve energy efficiency not included in the “best systems” list. The federally-enforceable requirements (on the “best systems” list) and any state-only measures must result in all power plants meeting the state’s GHG emission reduction goal.

Specific Program Elements

The Plan contains a Clean Energy Incentive Program to further incentivize renewable energy, offering credits for renewable energy installed in 2020 and 2021. These credits can then be used for the compliance period starting in 2022.

The Clean Power Plan contains a “safety valve” allowing states relief of their emission reduction standard if there is risk of disruption of its power supply. A state may drive certain high-emitting power plants to retire quickly to meet a 2020’s reduction goal before a new source necessary to take its place in producing electricity is up and running. There are also allowances for states to request extensions to deadlines.

Finally, the Clean Power Plan allows for interstate trading of GHG emission reduction credits, giving another option to states – to procure credits from states which have achieved over-reduction of GHG emissions, beyond their goals. The Plan provides guidance for states who wish to establish such a trading program. The USEPA wishes to encourage such trading programs, such as the successful RGGI program in the Northeast.

Early Reaction

The early response has been mixed. Republicans will try to block its implementation, as it will certainly impact the power and coal industries. The National Association of Manufacturers is against the rule. The Plan will likely be challenged in court. However, 365 major companies and investors including General Mills, Mars, Nestle, and Unilever sent supporting letters for the Plan.

The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) was upset that the Plan contains no credit for actions taken between now and 2020, and that energy efficiency was removed from “the best system of emission reduction” methods used to set state-by-state targets. The 3 main “best systems” listed are improved heat rate at coal-fired facilities, increased use of natural gas, and use of renewable (carbon-free) energy. It is understood, however, that energy efficiency programs can still be included in state compliance plans. It is likely that energy efficiency was removed as a “best system” because it represents efforts outside the property lines of power plants, which is harder to measure and may have legal obstacles for affected power plants.

CCES can help your building or company focus on your energy needs. We have successfully found reliable ways to save energy usage and cost of many building types. And we can translate such reductions into GHG emission reductions, too. We can develop and reduce your carbon footprint to obtain maximum financial benefits, too. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Basics of Sub-metering: Why It’s Good For You

Benefits of Sub-metering

Given the expense decades ago of purchasing multiple electric meters and the needed wiring, many multi-tenant buildings (both residential and commercial) have a single master or small number of meters to record electric usage. This leads to many issues, such as fairly assigning electric usage to specific tenant or operation and lack of motivation to conserve energy usage. If a building hosts a variety of tenant operations, it is likely one business or resident will pay more relative to what it is using (say, an office of any type compared to a restaurant). If you are paying a set percentage of the reading of the master meter, what motivation do is there to reduce usage?

Given the benefits and reduction in costs to do so, sub-metering is becoming an option many are considering. At least two cities, New York and Philadelphia, have promulgated laws to mandate sub-metering in certain situations. A recent report in EE Reports ( provides robust guides to the basics of sub-metering.

Perhaps the biggest argument for sub-metering is the eventual cost savings. If each tenant of a building has its own electric meter and learns what they actually use and have to pay for it, behavior (when it comes to energy usage) will change fairly quickly. The DOE has published the range of 5-15% savings in energy usage as tenants absorb the meaning of their high bills, realize they can now control their usage, and begin to implement simple strategies to reduce usage (more efficient equipment, not leaving on equipment, etc.). And these strategies have a short payback, generally under 3 years. A recent study in a NYC high-rise residential building showed 20% overall energy savings.

Planning for Sub-metering

Like many things with energy, this is not a matter of going out and quickly buying and installing meters and expecting great savings. Planning is important. Ideally, the building owner should research different types of sub-meters with different types of data displays, such as graphical, by time (hour by hour), or basic digital. Hour by hour is particularly powerful as it may identify areas of electricity usage you were unaware of, such as why is usage so high at night? Or why is it so high during a certain period in the workday? What equipment or department or group may be responsible? In addition, with many paying special rates for high demand during peak periods, hour by hour data can help you plan and verify that electricity-using operations are moved to non-peak periods, saving you tremendous costs on high peak demand charges.

Also, make sure that sub-meters that you procure be able to be checked and calibrated; that they are part of your measurement and verification (“M&V”) operations to ensure they are operating properly over time.

For more information

See for the full “Metering and Sub-metering 101” and “102” Guides and more unbiased information about energy efficiency.

CCES can help you assess the value of sub-metering your buildings and can plan and manage its complete implementation to maximize your financial benefits. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at