Selected tags: New York City Housing Authority - 2011

Caught On Film: Watch How AT&T, QTS & New York City Housing Authority Saved Energy

This commentary was originally posted on the EDF Business Blog

It sounds so simple:  saving energy saves money.  McKinsey & Company estimates that the U.S. could reduce its annual energy consumption 23 percent through efficiency measures, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by over a gigaton and saving both companies and consumers over a trillion dollars.

So why do we as a nation still waste so much energy?  And how do we stop? The fact is organizations face many barriers to implementing energy-saving projects, which have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the way people make decisions.

One of the most common challenges is the lack of information.  So in the holiday spirit of sharing, we worked with three of our EDF Climate Corps hosts to tell the story of how they are capturing their piece of that trillion-dollar opportunity.

AT&T, QTS and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) welcomed EDF’s cameras into their facilities and spoke openly about the energy efficiency projects they’ve got in the works. Together, we compiled a series of videos spotlighting successful projects in lighting, cooling, heating and data centers.

Here’s a quick rundown of featured projects along with a link to each video:

  • AT&T worked with EDF Climate Corps to uncover potential savings of up to 50 percent associated with cooling costs at 250 of AT&T’s facilities by using a technique called “economizer mode” – a process in which cool external air replaces the need for mechanically chilled air during cool months.
  • AT&T also worked with EDF Climate Corps to find ways to cut its lighting energy use by 80 percent. A project that is now being rolled out across its 250 largest central offices.
  • Data center provider QTS worked with EDF Climate Corps to optimize efficiency in its LEED Gold datacenter and reduce annual costs by $4 million. The company plans to invest $10 million to implement these projects.
  • New York City Housing Authority worked with EDF Climate Corps to analyze the energy savings potential of installing Wireless Energy Modules across its portfolio. The EDF Climate Corps fellows found that the project would lead to more consistent, comfortable temperatures for residents, save $56 million in NYCHA’s annual costs and avoid 177,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

AT&T, QTS and NYCHA have all helped get the word out about how they’re maximizing energy opportunities. AT&T recently shared insights on potential savings at 250 facilities; QTS announced a plan to invest $10 million in energy efficiency projects at the world’s second largest data center; and New York City Housing Authority announced its mission to spur public housing authorities and private landlords around the nation to make smart energy investments.

You can help share these lessons too. Send a video along to a company, city, or university you know, to help them cut costs and carbon emissions in a big way.  Or tell them about EDF Climate Corps, which has uncovered a billion dollars in energy savings for participating organizations in its first four years.  We're recruiting now for 2012 — visit edfclimatecorps.org to learn more.

EDF Climate Corps places specially-trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.

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New York City Housing Authority Works With Environmental Defense Fund, Finds $56 Million In Cost Savings With New Technology

 This commentary was originally posted on the EDF Business Blog by Rory Christian, Director, Energy Department, New York City Housing Authority.

Though the first official day of winter isn’t until December 22, New York City is already well into heating season. And with over 178,000 apartments to keep warm, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) knows all too well that cranking up the heat means drastic spikes in energy bills. However, that is not the case for one of our Bronx developments.

This year NYCHA installed a new technology known as Wireless Energy Modules in the 14 buildings that make up Castle Hill Houses. This technology allows NYCHA to provide consistent, comfortable temperatures to our residents in the 2,023 Castle Hill apartments throughout the year, while actually saving money and energy. NYCHA worked with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on this effort. EDF is a national organization widely recognized for innovative solutions to tough problems, such as increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

With the help of EDF Climate Corps, NYCHA analyzed the potential of installing Wireless Energy Modules across our entire portfolio. We found that NYCHA could save $31 million in annual heating costs and up to $25 million in annual electric costs and avoid 177,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. Check out this two-minute video about the project and its savings potential.

What is even more exciting than the impressive savings opportunities is the power of scale the technology offers. The benefits of Wireless Energy Modules aren’t unique to NYCHA and can be realized by public housing authorities and private landlords across the nation. The ability to measure temperature at the apartment level and to heat buildings more consistently provides immense savings potential, as well as greater comfort for residents. 

At NYCHA we are eager to share what we've learned with our contacts across the country. This includes national and regional public housing authority associations, as well as our network of private landlords in our Section 8 program.  And you can help spread the word too. Please share the video  with public and private landlords who are interested in cutting their energy costs, avoiding CO2 emissions and keeping their residents comfortable during heating season.

If NYCHA can save $56 million and avoid tons of emissions each year  in New York City alone,  just think of the savings that would result from a national commitment from housing authorities and private landlords to improve energy efficiency.  Now that's a New Year’s resolution worth making, and keeping!

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Reasons To Be Cheerful: EDF Climate Corps Finds $650 Million In Energy Savings

By: Victoria Mills, Managing Director of Corporate Partnerships for EDF, and Michael Regan, Director of Energy Efficiency, EDF

Recent headlines paint a gloomy picture of our economy, with its looming deficits and stubborn unemployment rate. And let’s not forget the steady stream of evidence that climate change is already happening.  But today, a ray of sunshine breaks through these cloudy skies:  the news that companies, cities and universities  have found ways to save millions of dollars while avoiding hundreds of thousands of metric tons of carbon pollution.  How did they do it?  EDF Climate Corps.

Today, EDF announced that this summer’s class of Climate Corps fellows uncovered efficiencies in lighting, computer equipment, and heating and cooling systems that can:

  • Cut 600 million kilowatt hours of electricity use and 27 million therms of natural gas annually, equivalent to the annual energy use of 38,000 homes;
  • Avoid 440,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the annual emissions of 87,000 passenger vehicles; and
  • Save $650 million in net operational costs over the project lifetimes.

Thanks to the work of our EDF Climate Corps fellows, organizations as diverse as McDonald’s, Target, the New York City Housing Authority, and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University all found significant cost savings and greenhouse gas reductions through energy efficiency.  This is indeed cause for celebration.

But imagine how good the news would be if everyone reaped the full benefits of energy efficiency.  The opportunity is enormous:  McKinsey & Co. estimate that by 2020, the U.S. could reduce its energy consumption by 23 percent through energy efficiency measures, cutting CO2 emissions by over a gigaton and saving over a trillion dollars.

EDF created Climate Corps to cut carbon pollution by overcoming the barriers that prevent organizations from investing in energy efficiency.  Now in its fourth year, EDF Climate Corps has grown from 7 fellows in 2008 to 96 in 2011, and expanded to a nationwide program that spans corporate, academic and government sectors.  For us at EDF, the best news of all is our implementation rate:  to date, projects accounting for 86 percent of the energy savings identified by 2008-2010 EDF Climate Corps fellows are complete or underway.

We’d love to bring some of this good news to your organization.  Visit edfclimatecorps.org to learn how to hire an EDF Climate Corps fellow in 2012, or email us at info@edfclimatecorps.org.

EDF Climate Corps places specially-trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.

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The Big Green Apple

By Amy Kochanowsky, 2011 EDF Climate Corps Sector Fellow at New York City Housing Authority, MPP candidate at Duke University, Durham, NC

Things are always changing in New York City – whether it’s the former rail line turned urban greenspace, the construction of a new World Trade Center, or the recently  added calorie counts on menus. New York has always been a city ahead of the curve, and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is no exception. NYCHA has already done highly innovative work when it comes to energy efficiency, and I’m very fortunate to work with an organization that embraces environmental sustainability objectives.

As one of NYCHA’s Energy Department interns this summer, I’ve seen examples of this innovative work first hand in my visits to housing developments. As I stood in the stifling heat of a NYCHA boiler room, the staff explained the ins and outs of the boiler system – how the boiler creates the steam that delivers heat to residents in winter. They pointed out the new instantaneous hot water heaters, which are devices that reduce energy usage by heating water only as needed instead of wasting energy by storing hot water. It’s great to see all of this equipment up close, and talk to the people who really understand how to operate these systems. Being on the ground gave me an appreciation for the complexity of these heating systems.

At first, seeing this new equipment made it seem as though NYCHA had already done everything possible to reduce its energy use. Working with the other intern, we were given a very intuitive task – our charge for the summer was to identify additional opportunities for energy efficiency and conservation. We started this task with the basics – analyzing current energy consumption and costs. From there we got a sense of how NYCHA uses its energy and where we had the opportunity to make an impact. Reflecting on the information we learned during EDF’s week-long fellowship training, we realized that replacing existing exit signs with more energy efficient LED exit signs would be a good place to start. Simply by replacing exit signs, we enabled NYCHA to save more than $15,000 per year in electricity costs.

Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the enormity of NYCHA. As the nation’s second largest landlord (after the Army), NYCHA provides affordable housing for nearly half a million New Yorkers. The size of NYCHA means that my fellow intern and I have the ability and responsibility to make a huge impact. NYCHA pays the utility bills for residents at its developments, thus reducing energy use is good not only for the climate, but for their budget as well.

I hope our efforts and recommendations help NYCHA to achieve its energy and climate goals. I also hope NYCHA can serve as an example for other public housing authorities across the country on how to reduce energy use and create a more sustainable community.

EDF Climate Corps Public Sector (CCPS) trains graduate students to identify energy efficiency savings in colleges, universities, local governments and houses of worship.  The program focuses on partnerships with minority serving institutions and diverse communities.  Apply as a CCPS fellow, read our blog posts and follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this program.

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Top Down Energy Savings: 1 Fellow, 1 Housing Authority, And 400,000 New Yorkers

By: Harrison Thomas, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at the New York City Housing Authority, MEM candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; MBA candidate at Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

If you work with the Energy Department at the New York City Housing Authority, here is what you’ve got on your hands:

  • Hundreds of heating systems, all different
  • Thousands of buildings, all different
  • Hundreds of thousands of tenants, all different
  • Millions of energy consuming fixtures
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in annual energy costs, and rising

In recent years, the housing authority has undertaken many initiatives to directly conserve energy in the 2,600 buildings that house 400,000 New Yorkers. These energy saving initiatives include investments in energy-efficient lighting, instant hot water heaters, refrigerators, and elevators. These capital investments have clear costs and provide clear benefits, but energy expenditures continue to climb by millions of dollars per year.

The authority has limited resources and relies on management systems to set priorities to serve tenants and conserve energy. Last week, I went on a field trip to see the capital investments and management systems first hand. The immense scale of investment needed to provide thermal comfort and hot water to tenants was immediately apparent. Each boiler room is incredibly large, complex, and requires full-time monitoring by technicians and supervisors. And the authority doesn’t have just a couple of boiler rooms to manage –  it has hundreds that are all different. Read More »

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Summer 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow Blog Series

Climate Corps Public Sector (CCPS), an innovative summer fellowship program developed by Environmental Defense Fund, specially trains graduate students to sleuth out energy efficiency savings in local governments, higher education and other organizations. This summer CCPS expanded into a national effort to curb greenhouse gas pollution in five states, placing fellows in several institutions in North Carolina, New Jersey towns, the New York Public Housing Authority and at minority serving institutions in Texas, Washington, D.C. and Georgia.

Throughout the summer, EDF’s CCPS fellows will be blogging about their experiences and sharing lessons learned and key takeaways on the Energy Exchange. Stay tuned and check out www.edfclimatecorps.org/public; twitter.com/EDF__CCPS; and facebook.com/EDFClimateCorps  for more information.

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