Monthly Archives: December 2015

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 for one restaurant and a number of offices in the complex. The landlord charged tenants for electricity based on a percentage of the meter reading, based on relative square footage. However, the landlord realized that the restaurant, with large refrigeration needs and an electric oven and domestic hot water, used much more electricity per square foot than the offices. As a result, they doubled the proportion assessed to the restaurant, which they disputed.

CCES performed a comprehensive energy assessment of one year’s worth of electricity usage from the meter. We reviewed equipment and operations of the restaurant, offices, and common areas all served by the main meter, based on sources of electricity, their usage, and time of operation. CCES determined that the relative 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.

Final Words on Energy Efficiency

Despite the new agreement from the Paris Climate Change Meeting, there seems to be growing momentum against being energy efficient. As I write this, crude oil is under $40 per barrel, and perhaps going lower as the new year begins. Lower prices of gasoline, diesel oil, etc. in the retail market are quite apparent.

Yet, energy from such sources, such as oil and natural gas, is in a finite supply. We will eventually run out. We cannot be wasteful. Plus, the scientists say there are limits of how much of carbon currently trapped in the ground can be put into our atmosphere without causing grave outcomes of rising sea levels, more extreme storms and droughts, etc. We need to not only transition to renewable (non-carbon) sources of energy, but also to use more efficiently the fossil fuel we still need to combust.

While Americans had moved toward a more energy efficient economy in their buying decisions, recent market conditions (cheaper fossil fuel prices) appear to be pushing us in the other direction. Recently, reports have come out about Americans purchasing fewer hybrid and other fuel-efficient cars and more larger, less fuel-efficient ones.

How can we overcome the reaction of Americans to short-term trends, such as cheaper gasoline prices, and focus instead on long-term needs? Certainly the concerns about and growing acceptance of Climate Change has not affected purchasing behavior long-term. Polls show a majority of Americans now believe Climate Change is real, but don’t think they can do anything about it. Perhaps an outright war in the Middle East may trigger a revival of concern for energy efficiency; let’s hope it does not come down to that! Perhaps a return to $4 per gallon gasoline will do so; but now in post-Recession America perhaps people can better tolerate such high prices and not change their ways. Besides, high gasoline prices will harm certain sectors.

I think the biggest obstacle to people and companies being more energy efficient is that there is no single “face”, no celebrity, no company or entity that is “talking the talk” very publicly backed up by “walking the walk.” Trying to make it both beneficial and “cool.” Energy efficiency is complex and not a single entity to be represented to the public. And there are no “trophies” or high-visible ones that are internationally accepted. It’s a lot easier to do nothing.

Although there have been many good, leading companies being out front on energy efficiency, the average CEO cares little about potentially losing many thousands or millions of dollars in inefficient processes or buildings. Maybe it’s education; today’s CEOs never learned about sustainability and limits to resources. Today’s Business School students are learning this. Or maybe CEOs perceive bigger battles to wage or think the gains (financial, publicity) are not worth it.

This directly impacts my business. Particularly in the last year or two I have had a number of people, companies, or municipalities approach me about helping them be more energy efficient or sustainable, and then not go forward with the project or just do the minimum and not go forward with the rewarding projects. Some “vetoer” stops the process, they cannot get funds, they change their minds, etc. Energy efficiency and sustainability are nice concepts in theory, but for many, there is little will to close the deal and really be serious about it.

I hope entities like these will change their mind in the future, and they probably will eventually, but I cannot go on as a business this way. I will be working for a larger energy consulting firm that uses greater resources to invest in convincing and serving buildings about being more energy efficient.

CCES is still around, and we can help you address technical issues involving environmental compliance issues affecting your company. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

Have a wonderful Holiday season and a happy, healthy, prosperous 2016!

Green Building Reported To Double Every 3 Years

According to a preliminary report presented at the recent 2015 Greenbuild International Summit in Washington, D.C., the amount of green building that is being implemented is doubling about every three years. Complete findings will not be available until 2016, but this rate of increase continues to occur, substantiating a trend for over 2 decades. The new report surveyed over 1,000 professionals in the field globally about their thoughts of the future of green building.

The report also highlights trends, such as a rise in green building in emerging nations and increased demand from clients and tenants for buildings that meet sustainability standards.

Historically, the greatest barrier for developers to do green building is the perception that it is more expensive than doing convention construction. The survey showed that the percentage of respondents who cited this as the top barrier dropped from 76% in 2012 to 50%.

The report also indicated that the largest growth in green building activity is anticipated to be in the commercial and institutional areas. The latter, including government buildings, schools, hospitals, and public buildings was perceived as a major future area of growth as more government agencies with strapped budgets are beginning to understand the long-term cost savings and improved worker productivity and learning capabilities of those in green buildings. More important, agency managers and politicians are beginning to show the fortitude to insist on at least green building elements of more projects.

Respondents were asked which benefits of green building were important to their clients and, therefore, driving such projects. 84% said saving costs through reduced energy consumption was important, while 76% said reducing water consumption.

Overall, the preliminary report shows that the public worldwide is beginning to understand the long-term benefits in cost savings and productivity of green building and given this decision makers are having the courage to forgo short-term savings for longer-term improvements in the value of their buildings.

CCES has the experts to help you develop green building strategies for your existing buildings to improve your energy and water use efficiency, save costs, improve productivity, which will result in greater demand for your space, and raise the asset value. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

USEPA’s Proposed Update of Cross-state Air Pollution Rule

On November 16, 2015, the USEPA proposed an update to its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) ozone season requirements in a pre-publication letter signed by USEPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. ( CSAPR was originally promulgated on July 6, 2011 to address interstate transportation of ozone precursors under the 1997 ozone NAAQS, as well as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. The USEPA proposes to update this to cover the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The proposed changes, scheduled to go into effect in 2017, are intended to reduce summertime emissions of ozone precursor nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants in 23 states that impact the health of millions downwind. The proposed NOx emission reductions would help downwind states to meet the 2008 ozone ambient concentration standard of 75 ppb.

Air pollution, of course, travels and knows no state or national boundaries. The Clean Air Act (CAA) contains a “good neighbor” provision (Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)), that requires states to address impacts of air emissions from their sources on downwind states’ ability to meet and maintain air quality standards. This requires a state that contributes “significantly” to adverse impacts in a downwind state to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision to reduce these impacts. Otherwise, it will be subject to a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) imposed on it by the agency to address CSAPR NOx impacts. In this proposal, the USEPA alleges such adverse impacts from 23 states and proposes NOx budgets for each to reduce impacts. The 23 states include all states east of the Mississippi River except the New England states, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and seven states west of the river – Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The NOx budgets discussed are updates to meet more rigorous standards of existing CSAPR NOx ozone-season (summer) emission budgets for electricity generating units (EGUs). These revised budgets would be implemented as the CSAPR NOx ozone-season allowance trading program. For one state, Kansas, this would represent a new trading program. The USEPA is proposing implementation of the new allowable NOx budgets starting with the 2017 ozone season.

On June 30, 2015, the USEPA issued a final notice determining that a number of states had failed to submit “good neighbor” SIPs for the 2008 ozone standard. The findings set a 2-year deadline to either approve a revised SIP for each noticed state or impose a federal plan to meet the “good neighbor” requirement. This will undoubtedly result in more stringent regulations on fuel combustion in many different circumstances.

CCES has the experts to help your company assess its activities and determine an emissions inventory. We can provide the technical portion of expertise to determine compliance with many state and federal air pollution rules. And we can provide technical strategies to reduce emissions and maintain compliance in the most economical manner possible. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at