The place to start sustainable practice isn't on the roof with solar collectors, but in the boiler room with insulation and controls. So says a new study carried out by our colleagues at Steven Winter Associates and HR&A Advisors and featured in the New York Times. The study, headed up by Marc Zuluaga of the Green Codes Task Force and There Are Holes in Our Walls, shows that energy efficiency retrofits resulted in a 19 percent savings on fuel bills and a 10 percent savings on electricity across the 19,000 units studied.
Urban Green Board Chair Jeff Brodsky, the president of Related Management said: “This study proves that the assumption that you can’t rely on savings when doing a retrofit isn’t true. It may not be perfect or exact, but you will see savings.”
There was also wide variability, with some buildings showing much greater savings and (presumably) some showing less. The hope is that this study can be used as a tool to persuade not only the landlords to retrofit, but also the lenders to underwrite larger loans based on projected savings. “We are trying to catalyze a new financing market to satisfy the growing demand for retrofits,” said Susan Leeds, the chief executive of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation.
Full disclosure: Of course I think it's a great study; I contributed some of the data from earlier work on NYSERDA's Assisted Multifamily Program.
Showing the Benefits of ‘Green’ Retrofits [6/1/2010 New York Times]: Announcement of the study.
Photo credit: LeSimonPix