Category Archives: Case Studies

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

BY DAVID J. ROSENBAUM, PRINCIPAL,
CITRIN COOPERMAN TECHNOLOGY CONSULTING

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 drosenbaum@citrincooperman.com

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.

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.

Case Study: CCES Performs Energy Audit for a Child Care Center

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) performed an energy evaluation for a child care/senior care center in New York. The 20,000 square foot building had energy bills (electricity and gas) averaging about $10,000 per month. Energy costs threatened the financial viability of the center. A determination of potential energy saving strategies – small and large – to reduce energy usage and peak electric demand was needed.

CCES performed a comprehensive energy audit, meeting ASHRAE Level II standards for the center. CCES reviewed 3 years of recent energy usage and performed a walkthrough of the facility, collecting data. CCES developed a list of 10 strategies to reduce electricity and/or gas usage, all with positive payback, ranging from purchasing only ENERGY STAR products to upgrades of their HVAC system and installation of solar PV panels. CCES also recommended avenues to maximize financial incentives to partially pay the cost of implementing many of these suggested strategies.

The child care center was pleased with the long list of potential strategies, and will likely implement most, if not all of them in the near future to dig out of their heavy energy bills.

CCES has the experts to perform an energy audit of your building and develop multiple potential strategies for energy upgrades that will pay back the expenditure in a reasonable amount of time. We can also help you get government incentives to partially pay for this and financing so you pay nothing upfront for the upgrades and pay through the savings you achieve. Take advantage of the energy revolution for your maximum benefit. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

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.

Case Study: CCES Performs Evaluation of Exterior Lighting for College

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) performed an evaluation of the exterior lighting for a large college campus in New York City. While crime and other security issues were considered not a problem, the college understood that there were unlit spots in sections of its campus giving the perception of security issues, and that a number of lighting fixtures were broken.

CCES performed a comprehensive exterior lighting survey of the entire college campus, taking light meter readings during evenings approximately every 10 meters. Readings were recorded and compared to foot-candle standards used at other colleges to determine areas that are likely underlit given their use. In addition, fixtures with missing or broken lights were recorded.

Using Google Earth images throughout the campus, CCES developed maps of the campus showing the light meter readings and indicating areas that were underlit compared to recommended levels at college campuses. In fact, most of the exterior of the campus was determined to be underlit. Areas most walked through and most underlit were identified and highlighted to help the college prioritize their upgrade. Broken fixtures were also identified. Finally, the college committed to replacing broken lamps and upgrading and adding new fixtures to raise campus lighting levels with LED lamps wherever possible.

CCES Case Study: NYC Local Law 87 Compliance for 2 Beverage Warehouses

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) was the lead engineer for Manhattan Beer Distributors’ efforts to comply with New York City Local Law 87 (LL 87). Manhattan Beer Distributors operates two warehouse/office complexes in Bronx, NY.

CCES performed the energy audit and the retrocommissioning study for each 160,000+ sf facility to comply with NYC’s LL 87. An experienced CCES energy expert reviewed historic energy usage data, visited the facilities, and collected and analyzed technical data concerning its lighting, rooftop HVAC units, windows, and equipment operations. The data was used to develop an end-use estimate of electricity and natural gas usage by different equipment and operations. CCES developed a number of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to reduce energy use and peak electricity demand, all with estimated costs, energy savings, and simple paybacks. Each strategy would result in a positive return on initial investment; potential financial incentives for the upfront costs through NYSERDA and Con Ed programs were considered in the calculations.

CCES also performed retro-commissioning of existing systems on-site at the two buildings, including inspecting HVAC, lighting, and building envelope. CCES determined a small number of deficiencies which Manhattan Beer Distributors quickly addressed to allow optimal operation of their systems.

Finally, CCES developed the appropriate reports required by LL 87, and submitted them to the NYC Dept of Buildings in a timely manner.

CCES has the certified professionals to perform and complete all parts of NYC Local Law 87 compliance requirements. Plus, we can help you use the information gained in the effort to help you reduce energy costs and gain other financial benefits. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Case Study: Energy Audit and Retro-commissioning for Large Apartment Complex

Climate Change & Environmental Services (CCES) led a team of energy specialists in performing an energy audit and retro-commissioning study for two large apartment buildings, part of the East River Housing complex on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The effort was done to comply with New York City’s Local Law 87, requiring all large buildings to perform an ASHRAE Level II energy audit and a retro-commissioning study once every 10 years.

An energy audit was performed for two 20-story apartment buildings and their base heating system. Data from the boiler house was collected to estimate how much steam and domestic hot water was used by the apartment buildings in question, and from that, how much natural gas and No. 2 fuel oil was used annually. Two years of electricity bills were then evaluated from common functions (lobby and hall lighting, elevators, pumps) and aggregated bills for cumulative electricity use by residents. A month-by-month energy profile for a recent year was determined for both electricity and fuel usage.

Energy conservation measures (ECMs) were then determined, strategies that if implemented would result in energy cost savings. Specialists in lighting and elevator motors were brought on to the team to provide specific insight. These areas, although functioning well, were evaluated for potential upgrades to more energy efficient equipment to reduce usage, demand, and costs. For each ECM strategy, estimated upfront and O&M costs, energy savings (kWh or therms of natural gas), cost savings, and simple payback were estimated. Local Law 87 does not require a building manager to implement any ECM; only to consider it. Several were found for the complex.

A retro-commissioning (RCx) study was performed for the two buildings. Local Law 87 contains 25 criteria that must be tested for RCx. For apartment buildings like these, the most important (and time-consuming) item to consider is steam trap testing. At least 10% of all representative steam traps must be tested to determine whether steam is entering the condensate line. If less than 90% of these 10% pass, then all steam traps must be tested. Even testing 10% of steam traps is problematic, as that means likely entering people’s apartments. If less than 90% pass, then it becomes very time-consuming and troublesome. Therefore, in preparation for such a step, it is a good idea to perform pre-testing of selected steam traps and/or upgrading of old units. This complex has an informal pre-testing process. To comply with Local Law 87, they made it a more formal process, including cataloging all steam traps and ensuring they test a representative sample regularly and replace when necessary. Building management saw this as a good process, to stay ahead of the curve in terms of heat delivery.

Not meeting any of the 25 criteria is considered a “deficiency” by Local Law 87, generally low/no cost fixes or upgrades that will likely save energy or prevent damage. Local Law 87 does require all labelled “deficiencies” to be addressed and verified by the RCx professional. Several deficiencies were detected and building management did successfully address them.

CCES has the experts to help you perform an energy audit or retro-commissioning study to comply with Local Law 87 or to find ways to reduce energy costs and ensure that the equipment you paid good money for are operating optimally. We can help you get the best use of your energy systems, to ensure you get your money’s worth, and make your tenants more comfortable. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.