Monthly Archives: January 2017

Little-Known Federal Appliance Standards Rank as #2 Energy-Saving Tool

There is much concern as the new Trump Administration must now administer such well-publicized environmental standards, such as Clean Power Plan, Paris Climate Treaty, new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and more that it has inherited. The Trump Administration has been open about their disdain for many new environmental programs and their desire to abrogate or weaken them.

However, a couple of other existing USEPA and DOE programs have quietly been quite effective in reducing toxic air emissions, energy usage, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: the corporate average fuel economy or CAFÉ standards and the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA).

According to a recent study, CAFE standards for cars and trucks saved more energy in the US in 2014 (7.3 quadrillion BTUs) with US appliance standards coming in second at 5.3 quadrillion BTUs of energy saved in 2014.

While abandoning the US’s pledge for the Paris Climate Treaty (26-28% reduction in CO2e emissions by 2025) and repealing the Clean Power Plan (cutting CO2e emissions by about 220 million metric tons by 2030) will not be positive for energy savings and GHG emission reductions, there is certainly a movement among US consumers to save energy, and, thus, GHG emissions, as the cost of excess energy usage comes from their pockets.

Current CAFÉ standards were finalized in August 2012, highlighted by an agreement with 13 large automakers to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. Even the immediate improvement in fuel economy for limited models has resulted in the great energy and GHG emission savings noted above. These savings will increase more rapidly as the years go on as the standards increase and more models hit the road.

Quietly, though, national appliance standards have also effectively reduced energy use and GHG emissions. The original National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 (NAECA) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. It created uniform federal standards in response to complaints by the industry that it was difficult to keep track and comply with a myriad of different state standards. It contains minimum efficiency standards for a variety of appliances. It also prohibits manufacturers from advertising a product as meeting their energy efficiency standard unless it performed testing under federal guidelines that confirms this and that the testing is available to the public.

National appliance standards have been estimated to save the average US household about $500 per year on utility bills. In 2015, the appliance standards has been estimated to avoid 300 million tons of CO2e emissions.

The DOE has periodically updated the NAECA standards, mainly as part of the Energy Act of 2005. Over 50 consumer products are now covered by these standards. Despite being called an “Appliance” standard, NAECA covers other consumer, home-based products found in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, such as battery chargers, pool heaters, and furnace fans. See Some products have minimum energy standards found only at the state level. California, Connecticut, and Oregon have been the most aggressive, with minimum standards for televisions, DVD players, and game consoles.

Energy savings due to the NAECA has grown to 13% of electricity consumption in 2015 and 4% of natural gas consumption. And these energy savings are achieved without the consumer doing anything or investing in anything. And there is no risk of failure as the appliances will meet the standards of lower energy usage.

These savings are expected to grow in the future as future, more stringent standards will come in line for new or existing products. The USDOE has issued new standards for rooftop air conditioners and commercial warm air furnaces that are predicted to reduce energy usage by an additional estimated 5.8 quadrillion Btus over 30 years.

So while other prominent energy and environmental accords and rules have garnered a lot of publicity and have the risk of being eliminated or curtailed, the NAECA is an act that has quietly been successful in reducing a significant amount of energy for people in the residential and manufacturing areas with no loss of availability or function with no hassle or bureaucracy for the end-user. And with little or no complaint from the appliance industry. There appears no talk that it will be streamlined in the new administration. And let’s hope that the CAFE standards, the most successful government act in reducing energy usage, does not materially change, although there is some talk about that.

CCES can help you evaluate the energy usage of your building, whether it be commercial, industrial, or residential and determine many ways to reduce energy usage and peak demand, saving you money, creating other financial benefits, and with minimal risk or disruption. Join the many who have used CCES to save money in the short- and long-term. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at

More Multifamily Buildings See the Value in Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency has taken over in commercial and industrial buildings. It is simple to administer, as the entire building can be evaluated and the owner pays the upfront costs, but also reaps the benefits of energy cost savings and longer lasting equipment.

It is a different story for residential multifamily buildings, however. Energy is used in many different ways in a multifamily and is controlled by many different elements, not just the owner. Residents control much of the energy use of the building, such as lighting, AC, plug load, and how they are operated. For each resident to swap out more efficient lights, TVs, etc. for their current ones is not cost-effective, and doing so as a unit can lead to disputes. Similarly, building owners who wish to become more energy efficient on common energy sources, such as boiler, pipes, hall and lobby lights, elevators, and laundry equipment, are discouraged by coop or condo boards and by distribution of monetary benefits (savings go toward owner’s profits or be given to renters or unit owners in reduced rent or maintenance). And then there is building maintenance staff (“supers”), who have no training or knowledge of energy efficiency.

Therefore, multifamily buildings rarely undergo energy upgrades and tend to have older, less efficient equipment than in commercial or industrial buildings, even though they can be larger in size. This is too bad as multifamilies offer great potential for savings.

One new item that is changing the equation and encouraging investment in energy efficiency in multifamily buildings are the new energy benchmarking rules in effect in about a dozen major US cities currently. Renters and buyers now have information and can and will use such data to determine where they prefer to live. For the owner of a relatively efficient building, they have proof their property is more desirable and enables them to charge higher rents or maintenance fees. For buildings said to be relatively inefficient, it provides the confirmation needed to tackle problems and that there are many other buildings to try to emulate. There is hope out there.

Energy efficiency data, virtually completely absent from real estate evaluations 5 years ago, is now more accessible, and the appraisal community is beginning to integrate such data into their value equations. This should result in relative right-sizing the value of efficient and less efficient buildings, and encourage investment in buildings which may have many things going for it, but are inefficient energy-wise.

This is beginning to real results to conserve energy use in multifamily buildings. For example, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is researching an energy efficiency credential program for multifamily staff. Everyday maintenance of the physical building and equipment is a cost-effective way to save energy.

In summary, the world of multifamily buildings – when it comes to energy – is complex, with differing needs and concerns of renters and unit owners, coop and condo boards, and owners. Who will pay the costs of upgrades? Who will benefit and when? However, multifamily buildings represent an opportunity for significant energy savings. Given popular benchmarking rules where the public can see energy (and water use) ratings of buildings, there is impetus to invest toward energy efficiency.

CCES can provide the technical experience to perform an energy evaluation of your building (multifamily or not) and develop cost-saving strategies to reduce energy use and peak demand saving you not only significant energy costs, but also improving the value of your building and reducing your O&M costs. Contact us today with any questions at 914-584-6720 or at

How to Avoid Costly Office Technology Disasters: 7 Cringeworthy Examples of What Not to Do


When selecting space or designing an office interior, proper planning for technology is critical; failure to do so can be expensive and disruptive. Including a technology consultant as part of the professional design and engineering team can help to avoid costly mistakes. Learn from these 7 real-life examples.

1. Server Room Column – The architect designed offices for a law firm and provided a centrally positioned server room with adequate dimensions to accommodate the firm’s file server rack. What the architect failed to take into account were the clearances required in front of the rack and behind the rack to service the equipment, and the fact that the column in the server room would prevent the equipment from sliding out of the rack for maintenance.

2. Building MPOE – The real estate broker and landlord assured the client that Internet and telephone services were provided to a warehouse building. What nobody disclosed was that the building’s main point of entry (MPOE) was at the opposite side of the building, and that a 2” EMT conduit would be required from the MPOE to the client’s communications room with an unexpected, unbudgeted cost of nearly $15,000.

3. Conference Table – The furniture dealer proposed a beautiful conference table for the client’s Board Room, and the architect specified appropriate core drills to bring power, voice and data service to the surface of the table through the table’s pedestals. When the furniture dealer recommended an “even more beautiful” conference table that was “on sale” he failed to coordinate the change with the architect or general contractor. The result was delivery of a truly beautiful table that didn’t align with the incoming feeds. The cables draped on the floor from the core drills to the pedestals were unsightly and compromised the entire look of the Board Room.

4. Space Heaters – The MEP consultant and the architect assured the client that the temperature in the new offices would be properly regulated and balanced, and that staff would not need space heaters in order to be warm during the winter. What the MEP and architect failed to take into account was client “organizational culture” which emphasized work comfort, interpreted as allowing space heaters. In the client’s old office, a proliferation of space heaters resulted in frequent circuit breaker trips and loss of data on the computers that were sharing the circuits; in the new office, an additional electrical panel to support individual space heaters would have added $45,000 to the project. Ultimately client management agreed to prohibit employee use of space heaters, and tasked the MEP, architect and general contractor with assuring that employees were comfortable without them.

5. “Redundant” Air Conditioning – The MEP met the client’s requirement for redundant server room air conditioning systems, but designed the two systems to both rely on the building’s cooling tower. When the cooling tower lines froze during the winter, both air conditioning systems failed and the server room began to overheat. Ultimately a 3rd air cooled system was added at significant post-construction expense to provide proper system redundancy.

6. Cable Pathways – The cabling vendor roughed-in cables from the building’s service closet to the tenant’s communications room, which were then enclosed in a soffit by the general contractor. When additional communications circuits were later required, it was discovered that nobody had thought to leave a drag line or provide pull boxes to facilitate future connections. Due to the pathway and turns in the pathway, the soffit needed to be penetrated to install additional cabling, then reclosed and repainted at additional cost and disruption to the client.

7. Internet Services – The real estate broker identified space that met the client’s requirements for location, budget and useable square footage, but didn’t review the availability of suitable Internet services for the floor the client would be occupying. After signing the lease and beginning construction, the client learned that the building’s management would not permit the current Internet provider to install any additional services through the riser closets unless they first cleaned up the cabling that had been installed haphazardly over the past 15 years. The result was that the client experienced delays in occupying the space and incurred additional costs securing Internet service from a different, more expensive provider that wasn’t similarly barred.

This demonstrates the importance of planning and anticipating future needs. While it’s not possible to anticipate everything when selecting or designing an office space, a thorough review of current technology-related requirements and possible future needs is critical to assure that the client’s needs are met. Working with professionals who’ve been through the process before can help to avoid these and other pitfalls.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Rosenbaum is a Principal at Citrin Cooperman. He has more than 35 years of experience in the information technology field and is a third-generation entrepreneur. David can be reached at 914.693.7000 or

Citrin Cooperman Technology Consulting is focused on meeting the needs of small and midsized businesses. With experience in a variety of industries, our team is well-equipped to support your company’s growth and vision. We have four core service offerings including best practices assessments, outsourced IT, corporate relocation services, and compliance implementation.

Solar PV Will Grow in 2017 And Beyond

According to a recent Bloomberg article, solar power has become the world’s cheapest form of new electricity generation. See: Solar PV is cheaper than not only other renewables (i.e., wind), but also is cheaper than conventional sources, such as coal and natural gas.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis, the cost of solar power in many emerging market economies has dropped by about two-thirds since 2010. The article reports that during 2016 the price of electricity from solar dropped by over 50% to a low of $29.10/MWh in Chile, which is about half the price of coal-produced electricity there. The article attributes this drop in costs to China’s massive investment in solar panel production and its assistance to other countries financing their own solar projects. 2016 is expected to see global generating capacity of newly-installed solar PVs reach a record 70 gigawatts (estimated), exceeding that of wind for the first time.

And solar PV will get a further “shot in the arm” as technology to integrate solar power into buildings themselves is ready to make its debut in the field. Tesla and Panasonic will jointly begin to manufacture and market Tesla’s solar roof products. Manufacturing will be performed at Tesla’s Buffalo, NY facility.

This technology is called building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) sector. See BIPV is the inclusion of solar power-generating elements in the construction of a structure. A roof or window is present not just for protection from elements or for aesthetics, but now can contain the elements to absorb sunlight and generate electricity, as well. This is in contrast with traditional rooftop solar installations, which entails attaching PV panels separately to roofing material. Integrating solar power generation as part of the construction project rather than as a separate post-construction addition would result in cost savings by reducing labor and installation costs and eliminating the need for separate racking equipment. With Tesla’s BIPV, solar becomes an efficient building material rather than an add-on. This is not the first such product as solar roof shingles (from Dow and others) already exist, but has had a limited market. Dow has exited this business segment.

Market research indicates that some building managers are hesitant to commit to traditional solar panels because they are an add-on. If the roof underneath needs work there is extra labor to remove and then put back on the solar panels. An integrated product would address this concern. A recent study estimated an annual compounded growth rate of BIPV of nearly 10% over at least the next 5 years.

CCES can help you decide if solar PV is right for your buildings, including BIPV or traditional add-on panels and whether it makes economic sense. And we can advise you on any of many other issues in the energy and environmental areas to maximize your financial gain and minimize risk. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at