Cost of Conversion Will Be Repaid In Less Than a Year
NEW YORK, New York, September 27, 2011 – FS Energy, the energy management subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, has begun work on an oil-to-gas conversion at The Strand, a 42-story condominium tower on West 43rd Street. Once completed, The Strand will have replaced No. 6 heating oil with natural gas in advance of the mandatory phase out by 2015. The Strand is managed by FirstService’s New York City affiliate Cooper Square Realty, which manages more than 450 condominiums and cooperatives – 100 of which are currently burning No. 6 oil.
Expected to be completed by the end of this year, the conversion comes after FS Energy conducted an extensive analysis that revealed several recommendations to improve energy efficiency in the building, including highlighting the fiscal and environmental benefits of converting to natural gas. With support from FS Energy, The Strand was also able to take advantage of financial incentives offered by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Con Edison, significantly lowering its upfront capital investment. When factoring in the NYSERDA grant and ConEd incentive, and based upon the expected reduction in energy costs, the net cost of the retrofit will pay for itself in less than a year.
According to Board President Bill Ragals, “Our board has always been progressive and pro-active when it comes to identifying means by which we can reduce energy consumption, cut costs and improve the environment. FS Energy has been a trusted advisor and innovator in energy management and the recommendation to convert to natural gas is just the latest initiative The Strand has undertaken over the last several years. The clear cost and environmental benefits,” Ragals notes, “were a greater motivation to convert than the mandatory phase out announced earlier this year by Mayor Bloomberg.”
The Strand is the latest high profile high rise condominium or cooperative apartment building to explore energy management as boards increasingly realize the significant energy and costs savings associated with a properly designed program. In the last year alone, FS Energy has contracted to conduct energy improvements on more than 70 buildings managed by Cooper Square Realty, the largest residential property management company in New York City. For those burning dirty heating oil, this often requires a conversion to natural gas.
“The Strand is an excellent example of a condominium taking advantage of the many benefits offered by a well designed and conceived conversion,” notes David Kuperberg, CEO of FS Energy. “Bill and his board understand the real benefits provided to residents as well as the community at large through projects such as oil-to-gas conversions and we’re thrilled to be partnering with them on this latest energy upgrade,” he adds.
“FS Energy, which has also been managing our energy procurement and demand management, has been a valuable partner with The Strand,” Ragals notes. “Since FS Energy had our building data readily available as a result of its ongoing energy utilization data and typology collection efforts, we were able to execute the NYSERDA agreement in a matter of days.” This allowed The Strand to take advantage of a significant financial incentive before this funding was depleted. “Most importantly,” adds Ragals, “we’ve been able to execute these important upgrades while maintaining extremely low maintenance increases over the last four years.”
Both Ragals and Kuperberg agree that The Strand provides an excellent example of how building owners can effectively and economically reduce energy consumption, cut operating costs and provide a positive environmental impact for both residents and the general public. “Even without the financial incentives from NYSERDA and Con Edison, the cost to convert from oil to gas would still have made strong economic sense for The Strand,” Ragals says.
“There are many ways to approach energy management at your building and it is critically important to work with an expert such as FS Energy who not only understands the issues and opportunities, but can oversee the execution as well. The expertise and support of FS Energy as a partner has allowed The Strand to implement energy management programs that are suited specifically to meet our needs and in the process deliver strong economic and environmental benefits,” Ragals concludes.
FS Energy is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation (TSX: FSV; FSV.PR.U and NASDAQ: FSRV), the largest residential property manager in North America, managing more than 1.3 million homes in 5,300 communities. Cooper Square Realty, the New York City affiliate of FirstService Residential, manages more than 450 buildings throughout New York City – 100 of which are currently burning No. 6 oil. FS Energy is currently executing oil-to-gas retrofits and feasibility studies across a number of Cooper Square managed buildings with a commitment to their goal of reducing client’s energy costs by 25% by 2013.