While there has been a lot of talk in the industry recently about energy conservation, it would
seem that most board members and residents are not sure where to begin or how they should proceed. The Cooperator has uncovered several new products and services to help your building get a head start on the road to energy efficiency.
Promoting Building-Wide Conservation
While the Pennsylvania-based E-Mon Corporation has been manufacturing electrical submeters since 1981, they have only recently begun to target the residential market with their new E-CON: Economy Series. The new E-CON meters are single-phase kilowatt hour meters that monitor electrical usage after the main power supply coming into the building.
Although the product has just been introduced, spokeswoman Heather Cottrell feels it is ideal for co-ops and condos who want to move their building in a green direction. The building owner or manager will be billing residents for the exact amount of electricity they're using, she explains. This will cut down on residents haggling over what they're paying and eliminate anyone being charged unfairly higher rates. It's not fair to charge the same flat rate to someone who's never in the apartment as you do to someone who works out of a home office and has three computers going all night, she says.
Another benefit Cottrell has found is its positive effect on residents' thinking. [The E-CON] promotes energy conservation building-wide because people start caring about the energy they're wasting since they're billed for the usage, she explains.
The attitude in the building changes, agrees Michael Anzalone, president of All City Electric Corp., which handles E-Mon's distribution and installations in the Metro area. It makes residents think twice about keeping everything on all day and being wasteful, he says. It makes sense, especially for managers and board members of co-ops and condos because the apartment's lower levels might be rented out as commercial space. Most of the time commercial tenants will be using much more electricity than other residents and often they pay just what they signed on for, maybe $2.50 of square foot electrical usagemeanwhile, they're using a lot more than that.
E-CON Series meters come in a compact Multiple Meter Unit (MMU), a cabinet containing up to 25 meters, which fit easily in lobby displays or can be mounted in the utility room or basement. The monitors can be tied into any standard computer and modem or numbers can be read off the monitor's electrical panel. According to Anzalone, the per unit price is under $500 and installation is done without any inconvenience to residents and can be completed in minutes.
Bright Ideas and Suggestions
Long Island-based Unalite Electric & Lighting Corp., which opened its doors in 1976, sells, installs and maintains lighting products for buildingsboth residential and commercialthroughout New York City. In addition, Unalite provides a valuable service for buildings wanting to know how they can upgrade or fix their current lighting situation.
A Unalite representative will come to your building and perform an analysis on its lighting. We cover all areas, says lighting consultant Douglas M. Levy. The roof, all staircases, hallways, lobbyeverything, he says. During the survey, the representative points out to boa ffb rd members which retrofits are eligible for Con Ed rebates and will provide, if asked, a written report explaining what the apartment is using and where it can save. At the end of the walk-through, often the consultant will have a conversation with the board, detailing his findings and offering suggestions. We once went through a co-op's hallway and found they were using six bulbs there at 100 Watts each for their exit signs. We told them they could be using a 25 Watt fluorescent compact bulb that would work just as well and incur lower utility charges, he explains.
Being an installer and distributor, Unalite can help the board implement a plan to save money and energy for the co-op. We can work with the board or managing agent through all phases, explains Levy. From beginning to end, we can provide everything.
Unalite's surveys are free of charge and Unalite even offers to contact Con Ed, on the board's behalf, and get them to come in to perform an analysis of the existing lighting, as well.
Get What You Pay For!
Are you getting the fuel oil you paid for? Westchester's Optimum Applied Systems Inc. (OAS), in business since 1968, wants to make sure you are. The Oil Tank Computer system is designed to enable building owners to monitor fuel deliveries more accurately and effectively. Every time an oil delivery is made, the Tank Computer automatically determines the quantity, temperature, and quality of the oil delivered and stores the information by computer.
First and foremost what the Tank Computer does is ensure the building is getting the oil you're ordering. Many co-ops and condos have problems with delivery men who, during the harsh winter seasons, can short-change the delivery by 200-300 gallons. It all adds up and very quickly the board or manager may be left wondering where 5,000 gallons of oil disappeared to, says Herbert M. Viertl, president of OAS.
The Tank Computer is able to make its readings by thin copper tubes that run about five to six feet down the fuel tank, making the connection,M- Viertl explains. A pulse of air is pumped through the tubes before and after the delivery so it can take in the change of fuel level and report it back to you, via modem and computer. Once it's in the computer, a hard copy listing can be printed out showing the exact volume and oil tank quality in the last 20 deliveries. And, Viertl adds, The Tank Computer can call the user whenever a delivery is made and let you know when oil is running low.
Full installation, parts and labor, comes to $2,850 and yearly service contracts are available with OAS.
Patented in 1981 but only now starting to be marketed to the Metropolitan area, North Carolina's Bon Aqua International, Inc. claims it has an environmentally safe alternative to the chemical treatments currently being used to stop scale and corrosion in HVAC equipment. Bon Aqua's Magnetic Water Conditioning System works much the way it sounds, by magnetics. Amplified magnetic units are attached to the pipes servicing the boiler or cooling tower. Water passing through is then effected by these magnetic units which prevent corrosion and repel scale ions.
It may sound intricate, says chief executive officer Gerald H. Lowenstein. But it works. The system is ideal for apartment buildings, Lowenstein says, because it just makes economical sense. The pay back period on the system for a boiler is normally one year but with cooling towers, it's 18 to 19 months because it doesn't need constant maint-enance. This works by physics! It eliminates the need for chemical cleaning forever. The water is kept potable going in or out because nothing is ever added to it.
According to Joshua Freedman, president of Aqua Dyne Environmental, Inc., exclusive New York distributors for Bon Aqua, the price for the system varies depending on which HVAC system is in operation at your building.
Store the Heat
Stor-Ex New York, Inc. has introduced its Stor-Ex EX1 indirect water heater, designed to provide on-demand unlimit ffb ed hot water without the high cost and tricky installation of direct fired hot water heaters. The stainless steel tanks hold 90 to120 gallons for a typical co-op or condo building, compared to thousands of gallons required in standard hot water storage tanks. Unlike direct fired water heaters which require their own heat source, burning costly extra fuel to heat the water, the Store-Ex EX1 uses the hot boiler water running through a series of coils to heat incoming cold water from the city's pipes. The water is heated fast enough to keep up with the demands of any high-rise, with all its dishwashers, whirlpool tubs and washing machines.
The tank is equipped with a control that monitors the tank's temperature, explains director of operations Bill Ensminger. When the system senses a drop in water temperature, it turns on the circulator bringing hot boiler water to the Stor-Ex heat exchanger, quickly heating the incoming cold water.
The two-inch thick insulation around the tank keeps standby heat loss down to less than half a degree per hour, a big difference over direct fired water heaters. There's a very high heat loss with direct fired heaters which typically have a standby loss of seven to twelve degrees an hour because you have a flue chimney for the boiler and another for the water heater burner. With indirects, the building is working with only one flue and one chimney, cutting down on chances for heat loss, explains Ensminger.
With Stor-Ex's EX1, he adds, everyone can use hot water without fear of running out or using extra energy, since the heat source is the boiler water.
The cost of installation varies depending on the building size. For example, a complete system, including three tanks, installed for a 40-unit building would cost roughly $15,000. Any licensed plumbing and heating contractor should be able to get the units and install them in your building.
Give Your Chiller a Boost
Advanced Energy Solutions, Inc. wants to give your central air conditioning a boost with their exclusive CoolSmart System, a booster oil treatment. Our product is added to the refrigeration oil, making it more resistant to attacks from very high temperatures, explains Ronald Banerjee, a spokesman for Advanced. It also nullifies any chemical corrosion or other detrimental effects that might happen during oil leakage.
Already in use in supermarkets, apartments and commercial buildings all over Florida and Texas, the CoolSmart System is only now being introduced to the New York Area. We're even being used by the Pentagon, boasts Banerjee.
The additive, Banerjee says, also decreases the cycle time for the compressor. If the compressor doesn't need to turn off and on as often, the building will not be billed for a demand charge. In fact, says Banerjee, buildings that use the treatment can expect a 15 to 30 percent increase in their energy savings and a peak demand reduction of 10 to 20 percent, based on the results of manufacturer tests and buildings already using the product. Closer to home, the CoolSmart system is being currently tested on a Wall Street building where after only two days, Banerjee says, There was already a savings of 16.3 percent.
Once again, price varies on size and complexity of the machine servicing your building. Banerjee says that for a seven and a half ton Carrier unit it would run around $500 to $600 to apply the treatment.
For further information on any of these new energy saving products and services, call The Cooperator at (212) 697-1318.
Mr. Serken is Associate Editor of the New York Cooperator.