7:06 PM Eastern - Sunday, October 11, 2009

Turning the Big Apple into the Big Green Apple

32BJ President Michael Fishman (left) and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (right) officially launch the
32BJ President Michael Fishman (left) and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (right) officially launch the "1 Year: 1,000 Supers Green Building Training Initiative.
The energy consumption of our nation's large buildings is inextricably linked to the talent, training, and hard work of building operators. Teaching our building operators to maintain our large structures is the highest-impact way to address the climate crisis, at the lowest cost.

The Urban Green Council (United States Green Building Council of New York) and SEIU Local 32BJ have released a report detailing the essential role that building workers play in improving energy efficiency and discuss how 32BJ's training initiative will help New York City's building superintendents go green (previously profiled on SEIU's Blog here).

"A Blueprint for Greening New York City's Buildings" addresses how buildings fit into our national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the importance of operations and maintenance (O&M) in building energy efficiency and the role that building operators have on ensuring that building's receive energy energy efficient O&M. SEIU 32BJ is leading the initiative to train New York City's building superintendents. "By working together, 32BJ and New York's building owners have put into place a smart, practical and effective way to help make the Big Apple green. One Year, One Thousand Green Supers provides a low-cost way to make our buildings more energy and cost efficient, and our environment cleaner, all while saving our city millions of dollars," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Building operator & 32BJ member John Sarich has developed a plan to institute energy efficient O&M in his new building, which will save an estimated $30,000 every year for a total investment of around $30,000.
Building operator & 32BJ member John Sarich has developed a plan to institute energy efficient O&M in his new building, which will save an estimated $30,000 every year for a total investment of around $30,000.
It's long been known that O&M plays an important role in building energy use. Studies have shown that simply operating and maintaining an existing building properly can reduce a building's energy use by 10 percent, without any major retrofits such as installing new windows, a new boiler, or any new insulation. Ten percent may not sound like much--so let's put that number into perspective: if all of New York City's buildings received energy efficiency O&M, the savings in energy costs to the city would be $230 million dollars. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would equal the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.

Equally important is the role that a building operator plays in maximizing the benefits of building retrofits. When a building owner makes the decision to retrofit their building, they are looking to save money by investing in technology that reduces energy use. However, without energy-efficient O&M, the expected savings of building retrofits often fail to materialize.

In one example of this, a 34 unit residential building in Brooklyn, NY performed a series of retrofit--including the installation of a new burner for the boiler, insulation, EnergyStar refrigerators, and several other improvements.The entire project was projected to reduce fuel use by 58 percent, but in reality, total fuel use increased by 47 percent! Upon inspection, it was discovered that improper O&M was the culprit responsible for the increase in fuel use. No one working in the building had been trained to use the new technology and consequently, CFL light bulbs had been incorrectly replaced with incandescent bulbs, EnergyStar appliances mistakenly were removed and low-flow water fixtures were missing.

See the full report "1 Year: 1,000 Green Superintendents" here.

Spread the word

Comments about Turning the Big Apple into the Big Green Apple are welcome. Off-topic comments and other violations of our community guidelines may be withheld or removed. Comments do not appear immediately after posting.
blog comments powered by Disqus