Monthly Archives: May 2015

New York City Ushers In First Sub-metering Rule

New York City’s Local Law 88 is now in effect. This rule contains requirements for buildings that are 50,000 square feet or greater to upgrade their lighting and to install sub-meters. A future blog article will discuss lighting, but this one will discuss sub-meters. New York City is believed to be the first city in the nation to require sub-metering.

Urban Green Council has been leading the way to educate building owners and managers about LL 88 and to guide them on how to best comply. Representing UGC is Ms. Bonnie Hagen, LEED-AP, who can speak to your company or group at no charge. She may be contacted at

Many buildings, particularly those with multiple tenants, whether commercial or residential, have only a master electric meter or a small number of electric meters. To save money for meter and wiring operations and maintenance many buildings maintain only a single master electric meter and charge tenants for their electric use in a variety of ways such as a flat fee which is independent of actual electric usage or on a formula based on the square footage of the building. Paying a set fee for electricity no matter how much one uses is a disincentive to be energy efficient or to otherwise conserve. In fact, this is punishing the people who do conserve electricity because they believe it’s the right thing to do.

Many anecdotes exist of the residents who leave their air conditioners on all day even though nobody is home so that their apartment is cool when they get home; they pay no extra fees for this luxury. Also, many stories have been shared about how people — once sub-meters are installed — have to pay based on their actual measured usage, scream when they see their first bill, and then go out and buy more efficient lights and, of course, do not leave on their AC all day anymore. Several reports indicate that this effect causes a decline in electricity usage and a demand reduction averaging 30%. This was the motivation for New York City to promulgate this rule in their effort to become more energy efficient and reduce the future infrastructure upgrades of unbridled demand.

LL 88 requires all large commercial buildings (greater than 50,000 square feet) to install sub-meters for its tenants who lease at least 10,000 sq. ft. by Jan. 1, 2025. While this deadline may seem far away, it really is not, given that many commercial leases are 10 years long. Now is the time to adjust a lease to account for sub-meters. LL 88 does not require the landlord or building manager to charge a tenant for electricity based on the readings of the installed sub-meter; it may continue to just charge how they have charged in the past. However, the sub-meters must be in place by then and tenants informed monthly of actual electricity usage. The landlord can decide how it installs sub-meters, whether install all of them at once, although that may be a bit disruptive of tenant operations, or as space is available (when a tenant moves out).

In addition to the improvement in energy efficiency that will result from installing sub-meters, it is anticipated that sub-meters will also reduce landlord-tenant disputes. For example, if a group of tenants share a meter and are assessed a share of the costs based on square footage, that may be unfair to a simple office which may have only lights and some computers if they pay the same proportion as a similar sized offices with specific energy-using equipment or situations, like refrigerators and freezers, more lights and those being on much longer than 9 to 5, etc. Sub-meters will more accurately determine electricity usage so there is a fairer distribution of costs and fewer disputes.

CCES has the experts to help your building prepare and comply with LL 88 (as well as the other Local Laws pertaining to energy, LL 84 and LL 87). Even if your building is not in New York City or is under the threshold, it is likely in your interest to install sub-meters and upgraded lights, and we can help you do it with minimal disruption and to achieve maximum financial benefits. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

USEPA Issues Final Rule To Amend PSD Permitting

On May 7, 2015, the USEPA published a direct final rule in the Federal Register (, allowing for the annulling or rescission of certain Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits under the Clean Air Act. This step was taken in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision last year in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014).

In this decision, the Supreme Court struck down part of the USEPA’s “Tailoring Rule” which mandated that new or modified stationary sources emitting more than a certain threshold quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) annually obtain PSD permits, even if they do not emit any other PSD-regulated pollutants at levels that would otherwise trigger the requirement for a PSD permit and compliance without the Tailoring Rule.

The Supreme Court last year ruled against this rewriting of the PSD rule, stating that the USEPA cannot set its own thresholds for GHGs that depart from the thresholds already found in the Clean Air Act, which was approved by Congress. However, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the agency can regulate GHGs, which since the last Clean Air Act amendments has been ruled a pollutant that must be regulated by the Act. The court ruled that under PSD the USEPA can use the rule to limit GHG emissions on “anyway” sources, those that would be subjected to the PSD regulation anyway because they emit one or more traditional PSD pollutants at levels above its/their statutory threshold(s). It just cannot trigger enforcement of the regulation on pollutants which standards were not set in the Clean Air Act approved by Congress.

The USEPA was ordered to amend the changes in PSD due to the “Tailoring Rule” accordingly, and with this publication it has fulfilled this obligation. This direct final rule amends the PSD regulations to not allow the requirement of PSD permits for sources subject to the rule only because of GHG emissions and to begin the rescission process for PSD permits already issued to the sources that had been required to obtain such permits only because of their GHG emissions.

Please note that the new rule itself does not actually rescind any permit issued under these pretenses. It provides only the authority to do so for the issuing entity. PSD is regulated (and permits issued by), in some cases, a state or local program (those states which have PSD enforcement authority delegated by the USEPA) or the USEPA (for the remaining states in which the USEPA itself runs the PSD permitting program). Therefore, a source that wants its PSD permit that had been issued under these circumstances rescinded will need to request this of the agency that issued the PSD permit. In doing so, the source must demonstrate that it did not at the time of application nor still does not qualify as an “anyway” source. While this covers a small number of sources nationwide, it does remove all PSD requirements from them, a welcome relief.

One of the complaints that led to the court cases was the concern that by requiring PSD permits for sources solely on their GHG emissions and because sources in general emit GHGs in much greater quantities than they do pollutants commonly regulated by the Clean Air Act, applying the amended statutory threshold for GHGs could have required the USEPA to issue PSD permits to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of sources nationwide that otherwise would not have to go through the trouble of obtaining PSD permits and requiring their enforcement, an expensive proposition. The USEPA did amend PSD to raise the statutory threshold of GHGs to a much higher level. However, there was concern of a large number of facilities and smaller facilities having to address and comply with PSD.

The USEPA published this amendment of PSD as a direct final rule without seeking public comment because the USEPA was responding to a US Supreme Court ruling. If the USEPA does receive adverse comments, however, it could withdraw this direct rule and address the comments in a subsequent new final rule. The due date for submitting any comments is June 8, 2015.

CCES has the experts to evaluate your facility’s greenhouse gas emissions using approved methods and can assess other pollutant emission rates to determine your applicability to PSD and other federal and state air pollution regulations. We can help you strategize to determine cost-effective ways to comply with any regulations that must be achieved. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

New Federal Law to Encourage Energy Efficiency

President Obama signed the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESICA or Shaheen-Portman) last week that will reduce energy use in commercial buildings and government offices. The law will help make the U.S. more energy efficient, increasing both our economic competitiveness and our energy security. None of the provisions of the bill will force the private sector to become more energy efficient, but will provide incentives and tools to help to help buildings do so.


The new law strengthens national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while working with states and private industry to make the code-writing process more transparent. It will also encourage private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades and renovations by creating a Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative to lessen the upfront payments building owners need to make to replace equipment with higher level energy efficient equipment instead of replacing in kind. The law also establishes Building Training and Research Assessment Centers at a number of universities across the nation to train young people in energy efficient technologies, building materials, and construction to enable them to set up their own businesses and help the private sector.

Real Estate

ESICA establishes a voluntary “Tenant Star” program, similar to the Energy Star label for appliances, for commercial buildings that reduce their energy consumption, making available energy information for businesses looking to lease space.


ESICA directs the DOE to work closely with the private sector to encourage research, development and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology and processes for industrial applications. It will provide improved means to incentivize manufacturers to reduce energy use and become more competitive through more energy efficient equipment. It establishes a new DOE program, SupplySTAR, to help make companies’ supply chains more efficient.

Federal Government

While the new law does not require a private building to be more efficient, it does require the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country — to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars. It allows federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings, using the most current building efficiency standards and it allows federal agencies to use ESCOs and UESCs to install electric and natural gas vehicle charging infrastructure, making it easier for agencies to use these types of vehicles.


The new law will provide guidance and information to municipalities who wish to amend their building codes and laws to encourage or mandate green or more energy efficient new building or renovations.

CCES has the technical and policy experts to help your building become more energy efficient, helping you maximize the financial benefits (direct reduction in energy costs, reduced O&M, smoother operations, etc.) and helping you get the full incentives you are entitled to. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

How Can You Manage Electricity Demand to Cut Your Electric Bill?

What is the Demand Charge?
by Sandy Gutner, P.E., ROI Energy Services

It’s true that understanding all the elements of your electric bill can be a daunting task. But it’s important if you are trying to control your electricity use and costs. If your organization uses a lot of electricity, you will notice that your bill does not look like your bill at home.

If you have a Demand Charge rate structure, the two types of use affect your electricity costs – demand and consumption. The names vary among utilities but the effect is the same. Demand and consumption each have a separate rate in part because they are measured differently. Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW), while the total amount of electricity used is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Plus there are several other charges that vary depending on these two components (e.g., fuel charge, non-fuel charge, taxes, environmental charge, etc.) If you can cut your demand you reduce the cost of demand as well as all of the charges that use demand in their calculation.

If you have a demand-based tariff, your utility has installed a special demand meter that tracks and records the highest level of electricity demand for each 15-minute (or 30 minute) interval during the billing period. All of the affected charges are multiplied by the peak demand.

Why Should You Care About the Demand Charge?

Obviously, like most factors in business it’s the money. If you can control the demand charge without impacting your business you can significantly lower your electricity costs.

Peak demand charges can represent up to 30% of your utility bill. Certain industries, like manufacturing and heavy industrials, typically experience much higher peaks in demand due largely to the start-up of energy-intensive equipment, making it even more imperative to find ways to reduce this charge – but regardless of your industry, taking steps to reduce demand charges will save money.

Show Me the Math: How Demand Charges are Calculated?

Consumption is measured at a rate based on kilowatt-hours (kWh), or how many kW were used in every hour. Demand is measured in kilowatts (kW) or the peak number of kW used in a short interval and measures the intensity of power draw.

Demand Charge shows how one business can pay over $50,000 per year more for electricity than the other even though they both use the same kWh. This example shows how managing the demand peaks saves over 12% even with the same consumption.

Sandy Gutner, P.E., is the President of ROI Energy Services, Weston, FL.
Phone: 1-888-855-5471

ROI Energy Services is an engineering firm that offers energy saving solutions with a unique financial proposition for our commercial and industrial clients. Our financially viable turnkey solutions help reduce one of the most challenging operating expenses – energy consumption– and are paid for by the savings from reduced electricity costs.

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ROI Energy offers a unique financial proposition to commercial and industrial energy consumers by creating energy savings solutions tailored specifically to meet their financial requirements. With a useful life many times greater than the payback period our clients reap long-lasting financial rewards. If the energy savings is less than our guarantee, we pay 100 percent of the shortfall –guaranteed

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The ROI Energy team has more than 25 years of experience providing engineering consulting services to public and private sector clients. We have represented owners’ interests in a wide variety of large-scale infrastructure projects including renewable energy, water, wastewater, and many others. The insight gained from this perspective has led us to our primary focus, which is adding value in everything we do.