Energy report cards at core of initiative to curb carbon footprint of multifamily buildings in hot spots of New York, Chicago, Miami

It’s a summertime tradition on par with lemonade stands and pool parties – when the mercury rises, so do energy bills. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2013 forecast predicts U.S. household electric bills for June-August will average roughly $395. That estimate could be higher when you consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Energy Impacts and Adaptation” report warning that if the nation’s climate warms by just 1.8°F, the demand for energy used for cooling could spike as much as 20 percent. FirstService Residential, North America’s largest residential property manager, is working this summer to keep its residents cool, curb electric bills and lower overall energy consumption through its innovative FS Energy program.

FS Energy – A New York City Success Story
This industry-first energy management program designed to lower energy costs and emissions of multifamily buildings by 25 percent was piloted in 2010 in New York City, which has one of the largest footprints of building energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2012, FirstService Residential’s New York portfolio of 500+ buildings achieved nearly $1.5 million in energy cost savings during the months of May-September. This was achieved through FS Energy’s negotiating leverage to procure electricity at a rate 20 percent below that of Con Edison (see table on next page).

MAY – SEPTEMBER 2012 ENERGY CONSUMPTION & COST
Based on Kwh Usage of 76,938,789
$/Kwh Supply Cost
Con Edison $0.099 $7,631,431
FS Energy program $0.079 $6,140,395
Cost savings $1,491,036

On top of the financial savings, the FS Energy program has helped reduce the carbon footprint of the New York portfolio by 13 percent since being implemented.

FS Energy Expanding to Chicago and Miami
The FS Energy benchmarking and management model is now making its way to Chicago. Similar to New York’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, Chicago is considering an ordinance that will require the city’s largest buildings to benchmark and publicly disclose their energy use starting in June 2015.

Elena Lugo, Certified LEED® AP with FirstService Residential Illinois, testified on July 23, 2013 at a public hearing before the Chicago Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Committee on FS Energy’s benchmarking model and how it can help buildings throughout the city achieve proposed efficiency goals.

Plans are also underway to introduce FS Energy to the FirstService Residential portfolio of properties in Florida later this year.

It’s all in the Score Cards
According to Aaron Mehta, Director of Energy Information for FS Energy, the lynchpin of the successful program is the expansive energy benchmarking database that is used to create a proprietary Building Energy Rating Guide (BERG) score card for properties in the portfolio. An analysis of a building’s energy performance and typology is conducted and then compared against similar buildings in the FS Energy database to determine a BERG score (on a 1 to 10 scale). The BERG score is used to identify areas for improvement and reveal energy savings solutions that would be cost effective for the building.

A snapshot of FS Energy’s advanced analytics and segmented in-depth reporting on a typical score card include:
• Total potential annual savings (per square foot and per unit)
• Weather normalized energy consumption (in mmBtu)
• Energy costs by commodity
• Carbon emissions (in metric tons)

Mehta also noted energy and cost reductions realized by FS Energy are accomplished through efforts such as:
Energy aggregation for the entire portfolio – to both negotiate better rates and sell back excess capacity to energy providers; Energy audits and inspections of a property’s energy infrastructure – to locate specific targets for improvements; Advanced control system monitoring – specialists monitor usage and implement practical demand management strategies to reduce demand loads and produce immediate savings; Education and compliance – seminars and awareness initiatives to educate occupants on how to lower energy consumption in their units and common areas to meet collective usage goals; Energy bill audits – to identify and recapture overpayments of electric, water, steam, gas, oil and other energy bills.

For more information on FS Energy, visit www.fsenergyservices.com.