Saving Energy While Staying Comfortable Year-Round

NRDC’s headquarters is housed in the top 5 floors of a 12-story New York City building dating from 1911. This place is old! Yet some of the most innovative thinkers in the environmental community work here. Over the last decade, NRDC’s facilities staff has implemented a number of energy conservation measures (ECMs) to reduce electricity use, such as installation of occupancy sensors for lighting, reduction of printing energy use, and a major update to NRDC’s onsite data center. Some of the ECMs have also impacted heating efficiency, such as installation of new windows throughout the building, and a renovation of the 8th floor to an open plan, which allows heat to circulate more effectively. We saw reductions in our energy use based on these, but we never had granular, accurate readings that would allow us to calculate return on investment for the various ECMs.

With the implementation of NRDC’s real-time reporting software (Noveda) a few years ago, we are now able to pin-point opportunities for improvement and report on the effectiveness of ECMs once implemented. I wanted to share the results of an analysis we just completed to evaluate the benefits of four energy conservation measures targeting heating and cooling energy (set points & timing adjustments, boiler controls, air sealing, and an electric water heater). Together, these have resulted in a 30% reduction in heating energy and a 76% reduction in cooling energy, or roughly 13% of total electricity use, saving enough energy to power around 20 homes. Our cost savings were $34-43k annually on a total investment of $87k, resulting in a roughly 2 year simple payback period, and an IRR of 36%.   

The remarkable thing about this analysis is that because the implementation of these ECMs was spread out over time, and because we have detailed energy use measurements (heating fuel use and air conditioner-only electricity use) we were able to see the impact of each ECM:

What does this tell us about energy efficiency strategies as a means of reducing energy use, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions? Well, it demonstrates that a well thought-out approach to energy conservation can benefit the environment and also your bottom line. Find out more about NRDC’s energy conservation measures and results.  

Related reading on energy efficiency retrofits:

Learn about the importance of reducing energy consumption in tenant spaceshttps://www.nrdc.org/experts/yerina-mugica/next-frontier-energy-savings-buildings-and-cities-tenant-spaces

Ensure that your energy conservation measures don’t sacrifice your health: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/veena-singla/cheaper-insulation-it-worth-it

About the Authors

Anthony Guerrero

Director of Facilities and Sustainability

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