Helping Conserve Energy Nine New Products and Services

Many co-op and condo boards have realized that energy conservation is not only an issue of

environmental importance, but also a key area in helping reduce their buildings' operating expenses. And the industry continues to offer a variety of new products and services that can help co-ops and condos save money while keeping our planet clean and green.

Fuel Cells

Building Energy Systems and Technology, Inc. (B.E.S.T.), a Mahwah, New Jersey-based company, is introducing a revolutionary new way of providing energy for large multi-family residences, utilizing technology originally used on manned space flights. The fuel cell, manufactured by the ONSI Corporation, is a waste-free power generation system that saves highly substantial amounts of energy and money.

The fuel cell is a 10 ' x10 ' x18 ' unit that generates energy from natural gas through a combustion-free process. It splits the gas into hydrogen, which is converted into electricity and hot distilled water that can be used for water heaters. Fuel cell units are vibration-free, and generate as little noise as a room air conditioner. Because the unit generates its electricity independent of municipal power grids, blackouts and brownouts due to weather are not a threat in a fuel-cell powered building.

Fuel cells conserve energy by using natural gas nearly twice as efficiently as other technologies. Fuel-cells can generate revenue for a co-op, period, says Sam Salamay, vice-president of B.E.S.T. Salamay estimates that fuel-cell power costs six cents per kilowatt hour, half as much as conventional energy systems. Over the course of a year, a large residential building can save up to $100,000 on energy, which pays back the installation cost in as little as five years and makes revenue available for the co-op that would otherwise be lost.

Two financing options make fuel-cell power more affordable for residential buildings. A limited number of Department of Defense rebates are available to defray installation costs, and B.E.S.T. offers a financing program backed by one of the world's largest fuel companies, allowing the unit to be installed and maintained without money up front. For more information about fuel cells, contact Sam Salamay at (516) 897-0499.

Flood Stopper

The Flood Stoppernew technology available from First Smart Sensor Corporation, located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, through Woods & Jaye Sales Company of Long Island Citysaves water and money by stopping flooding from leaks and breaks before serious damage and waste can occur.

The Flood Stopper consists of either remote or hard-wired sensors mounted on the floor near points of potential leaks and connected to control panels. When a pipe break or leak occurs, moisture is detected by the sensor, which sends a signal to the control panel. The control panel acts as an alarm, warning building maintenance personnel visually and/or audibly of the problem. More importantly, the control panel immediately sends a signal to Honeywell valves installed to control water flow in the affected zone of the building and shuts off the water. The Flood Stopper will leave you with a puddle instead of a flood, says Wayne H. Knott, sales engineer for Woods & Jaye Sales Company.

The Flood Stopper saves energy by keeping buildings from wasting water. If you develop a leak without the Fl ffb ood Stopper, you waste an enormous amount of water, says Knott. The Flood Stopper is also an important advance from an insurance standpoint, since water damage claims are responsible for over 50 percent of insurance companies' payout. Water damage is very costly to repair, and can permanently destroy items of sentimental and practical value. The cost of the system, including installation, may be less than the average insurance premium, making the Flood Stopper an affordable option. Insurance agents may also grant premium reductions with the installation of the system. More information about the Flood Stopper can be obtained by contacting Wayne Knott at Woods & Jaye Sales Company at (718) 786-8260.

Efficient Laundry Machines

Consumers have known for years that European-designed front loading washers use substantially less water than the top-loaders most Americans use; but Americans have been reluctant to switch because they have found top-loaders more convenient. Now, both Maytag, a manufacturer of appliances in Newton, Iowa and Malber USA of Baldwin, New York have introduced new machines that offer energy efficiency with the conveniences that front-loading machines have previously lacked.

According to Linda Eggerss, manager of marketing and media relations for Maytag, the firm's Neptune washer has the largest load capacity of any residential washer on the market. The reduced water level helps to increase load capacity, she explains. Engineers designed the door to the washer ergonomically and increased its size to make it the largest door on any front-loader on the market. To further increase accessibility, the tub is tilted at a 15-degree angle, making a stray sock easy to spot and snag.

With the Neptune, you can save up to 45 percent of the water and 65 percent of the energy ordinarily used, says Eggerss. And if you use less water, you have less water to heat. In addition, the washer has a MaxExtract feature that removes up to 30 percent of the water from the clothes during the spin cycle, thus reducing the energy need for drying time. Depending on water and energy costs, savings average $100 a year per machine.

Malber's WD-800 Combination Washer/Dryer uses a space and water saving design that washes a load of clothing using nearly 60 percent less water than top-loading machinesrequiring only 18.75 gallons of water per load, as compared to the 47 gallons used by conventional top-loading machines.

By using a Malber machine, there is a potential for saving up to 12,500 gallons of water per year, says Milton Malkin, president of Malber USA. Also, only one ounce of detergent per load is needed for the Malber, as compared to three ounces for a top-loading machine.

The Malber WD-800 does not need venting and can be plugged straight into a standard wall socket with no need for additional wiring. The machine is only two feet wide, giving it the ability to fit in small places; and because it is a combination washer and dryer, additional space for a dryer unit is not needed.

Both the Neptune and the Malber cause much less wear on clothing than conventional machines whose agitators put greater stress on clothes than the tumbling motion in these machines. For more information about the Neptune, contact Linda Eggerss at (515) 791-8518, and for more information about the Malber WD-800 Combination Washer/Dryer, contact Milton Malkin at (516) 377-1865.

Window Coatings

Sunlight entering buildings through windows increases the demand on air-conditioning systems, resulting in increased energy use and air conditioner maintenance. Window coatings lower energy costs by reducing the amount of heat that enters the building via sunlight. 3M, a St. Paul, Minnesota company, and Southwall Technologies manufacture films and coatings that can be easily applied resulting in immediate savings.

3M's Scotchtint Window Films, available from and installed by Greater Metro Sun & Energy Control, a Poughkeepsie, New York based company, are applied to the inside of windows using a quick and simple process ffb . Windows are cleaned and scraped, a liner is removed from the self-adhesive film, and water is applied to the film and window. Much like wallpaper, installers place the film against the window. The water is squeegeed out, activating the adhesive and completing the installation.

By reducing solar heat gain by as much as 72 percent, your entire building's air-conditioning system works more efficiently, says Michael Curry Jr. of Greater Metro Sun & Energy Control. Every 100 square feet of sun-lit glass covered results in a one ton HVAC load reduction. Additional savings can be realized in reduced maintenance costs resulting from less strain on the system.

Southwall Technologies' new clear window coating, Solis, provides energy benefits while preserving views and maintaining sunlight levels very close to those of uncoated windows. The coating, available through CHB Industries in Smithtown, New York is a polyester-based film with a silver metallic coating only a few hundred atoms thick. It is applied to the inside of thoroughly cleaned windows and glass doors through a quiet, neat and non-toxic process that causes negligible disruption of daily activities. The installation of Solis carries a ten-year warranty, assuring that the coating won't peel, bubble or discolor.

The coating reduces solar heat gain by 55 percent, therefore reducing the amount of energy needed to power air-conditioning systems. Carol Borow, president of CHB Industries, acknowledges that tinted window coatings can block more heat than the clear Solis coating, but stresses that Solis blocks heat while maintaining views and pleasant, natural light.

Both Scotchtint and Solis also filter out 98 percent of ultraviolet light, protecting furniture and artwork from fading. They both also act as a safety shield by holding broken glass together. For more information about 3M Scotchtint Window Films, contact Michael Curry at Greater Metro Sun & Energy Control at (800) 978-6292, and for more information about Solis Clear Heat Control Window Coatings, contact Carol Borow at CHB Industries at (516) 360-0431.

Endraft Air Conditioner Covers

Drafts of cold winter air from your window-installed or through-the-wall air-conditioner can be a thing of the past thanks to Endraft, a product from Jebb Products, Inc. of Brooklyn. Endraft is installed in an easy two-step process. First, a polyethylene foam windblock liner is attached to the inside of the air conditioner using a vinyl tape that doesn't leave sticky residue on the unit. A polyester and cotton fabric quilted with polyester batting is then placed over the taped-on liner. The beige fabric is designed to blend in with the air conditioner and to be an unobtrusive addition to the room's decor. Once in place, the cover will protect the room from drafts, in addition to any dirt, soot or pollen that may drift through vents.

Based on tests taken by Con Ed, an individual tenant can expect to save approximately $25 per unit per winter, says Roxanne Lorch, vice president of sales and marketing for Jebb Products. After conducting laboratory tests, Con Edison concluded that the Southbridge Towers co-op complex in Manhattan could save $70,000 a year simply by covering their 2,850 air-conditioning units with Endraft. The complex decided to go ahead with the project and, coupled with quantity discounts available, the co-op recovered its investment in only eight weeks, and will continue to benefit from the product for years to come.

Endraft's highly efficient insulating qualities extend the life of an air conditioner by preventing condensation, rust and damage at the compressor site. In contrast, exterior covers trap indoor heat, which collides with outside cold, forming damaging condensation, says Lorch. For more information on Endraft, contact Roxanne Lorch at Endraft at (718) 855-1133.

Clean Ducts Are Safer,

More Efficient

Indoor air quality is an issue that affects the well-being of residents and the efficiency of heating and air-conditioning ffb systems. The Mechanical Hygiene Investigation Program is a new service offered by Indoor Air Professionals of East Setauket, New York that allows a building to assess the quality of its air and decide upon a course of action.

The investigation begins with pictorial documentation of the status of a building's HVAC system. Workers drill small holes in the ductwork and take pictures that show unmistakably the level of debris collected in the system. Robots equipped with video cameras are also used to enter the system and provide a visual demonstration of debris. Scrapings of debris are then collected and sent for independent lab analysis to identify and classify any bacteria or fungi found so that recommendations for appropriate action can be made.

If a building has .42 inches of debris build-up in the system, it can anticipate a 20 percent reduction in HVAC costs by cleaning it, says Kevin Tarrant, vice president of Indoor Air Professionals. Cleaned systems are restored to their capacity and have shortened running times, which also saves money and energy. Forty percent of all buildings in the United States have a M-sick building' problem, says Tarrant. Therefore, there is a good chance that your building can reduce its operating costs by having a cleaner HVAC system. Since nine out of ten HVAC system failures are caused by dirt and dust, a mechanical hygiene investigation makes sense as a preventive measure. For more information about Mechanical Hygiene Investigations, contact Indoor Air Professionals at (800) 727-4427.

Astralite LED Exit Signs

New technology can dramatically reduce energy used by exit signs. Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Exit Signs, manufactured by AstraLite, an Annandale, New Jersey company, last much longer and use far less energy than conventional signs lighted with incandescent bulbs.

Unlike an incandescent light bulb, LED lights do not heat a filament to generate light. Electricity is passed through electrons which become excited and emit photons, which produce glowing red light. This process does not generate wasted heat as incandescent bulbs do and thus requires much less energy.

In order to meet code, incandescent signs use 40 watts of energy per sign, while an LED sign uses only 1.8 watts, says Leslie Listwa, vice president and general manager of AstraLite. LED exit signs use a whopping 96 percent less energy than incandescent signs and 85 percent less energy than fluorescent signs.

At New York City's high electricity rates (approximately 14 cents per hour), $49.20 per year is needed to power an incandescent sign. On the other hand, electricity for LED signs cost only $2.22 per sign per year, a savings of $46.98 per sign. LED signs also reduce maintenance costs because they can last anywhere from 80 to 100 years, while incandescent bulbs burn out about every four months and must be replaced. The combined cost of maintaining incandescent signs and an inventory of replacement bulbs comes to about $40 per year, while maintenance costs for LED signs are essentially nonexistent. For more information about LED exit signs, contact Computer Power at (800) 526-5088.

Mr. Ramin is an intern at The Cooperator.

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