Other Initiatives

Commercial Retrofitting in NYC

Paper co-authors Sinreich, Leifer & North.

In 2010, with the direction of the Building Performance Stakeholder Consortium, CUNY BPL and the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute (NREI) undertook research on effective means to improve energy efficiency and building performance in New York City’s commercial properties. The findings were published in The Evolving Landscape: Energy Efficiency Retrofitting for NYC Commercial Buildings (PDF).

The authors, Ellen Sinreich of Green Edge LLC, Daniella Leifer, Michael Bobker, CUNY BPL Director, and Ryan North, a CUNY BPL intern, examined the potential for making a significant, positive impact on the commercial built environment in light of the financial slow-down that began in autumn 2008. They also looked at the potential impact of stimulus funding in this area.

Repositioning real estate assets as green and sustainable is a viable strategy for creating value, the authors argue. For commercial property owners and managers seeking to capture that value, the paper outlines the steps in a strategic energy plan, retrofit tools and technologies, benchmarking and energy audits, and advanced technology strategies. Financing models, such as incentive programs, tax credits, lending, and third-party finance, are discussed in detail in the paper.

Many of the strategies outlined in the paper are addressed in the Building Performance Toolkit, a joint project of CUNY BPL and NREI.

Center for Sustainably Integrated Buildings and Sites (SIBS)

From 2012 to 2016, CCNY and CUNY BPL were a part of SIBS, an Industry/University Collaborative Research Center led by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Industry partners included Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Ingersoll Rand, New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), Concept3D, Johnson Controls, and Vornado Realty Trust.

CIUS Director Dr. Robert “Buz” Paaswell addresses a SIBS IAB meeting.

The National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC) model is well established and has resulted in research advances in many sectors that have been brought to market and made impacts on a national scale. The model brings together representatives of industry, government, and universities to design and execute research defined by industry partners that has direct routes for market uptake and use. Another major benefit of the I/UCRC model is that students play crucial roles in the research, developing a pool of talent and experience that industry can tap into.

SIBS is the only center in the I/UCRC network that focuses on building sustainability topics. SIBS’s areas of research include:

  • Building performance analytics; interval energy data analysis, visualization, and modeling
  • Real time building energy management; operational effectiveness; “re-tuning” in buildings with and without Building Automation Systems
  • Building skin optimization, integrating daylighting opportunities with thermal loadings

At CCNY, SIBS was led by Dr. Robert Paaswell, Director of the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems. Researchers include Michael Bobker, Honey Berk, Marco Ascazubi, Paul Reale, and Da-Wei Huang of CUNY BPL as well as Nicholas Madamopoulos, Associate Professor in the Grove School of Engineering and Director of Optical Communications and Photonic Systems Laboratory. Past SIBS sponsors include Vornado Realty Trust and Johnson Controls.

CCNY-Led Research

CUNY BPL interns Katiushka Freeman and Marcus Henderson review findings of the DCAS energy dashboard project at the June 2015 SIBS meeting.

CCNY researchers were funded by DCAS to create an energy information dashboard for its municipal building portfolio – and not only was the tool used by DCAS in hundreds of City of New York facilities, but in FY17, Wells Fargo and CCNY researchers experimented with adopting the tool for the bank’s commercial property portfolio.

Concept3D, a technology startup, brought its digital energy auditing tool to the Center for development with CCNY. In partnership with DCAS, researchers customized the tool for use with NYC’s municipal agency energy managers, providing new features that other customers have found highly valuable.

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