Energy Efficiency FAQs

Frequently asked questions about energy efficiency, costs and incentives.

Costs, Incentives & Payback / ROI

Incentive programs for energy efficiency upgrades

There are many incentive programs available to homeowners who implement energy efficiency improvements. They are usually offered through utility companies or agencies, such as NYSERDA. They may be offered in the form of rebates (for energy-efficient equipment, products or upgrades), or incentives (based on the number of units in a building). Tax credits may also be available for building energy improvements.

Savings & Payback Period for a Fuel Conversion

By converting from oil to gas, homeowners can often save a full year's fuel costs. For a large multifamily building, this could translate to over $200K per year. It also means that the payback period for the investment is usually very short – typically one to two years.

Payback time for a new, high efficiency, condensing hot water heater

Typically when a new water heater is installed, there are multiple savings. The boiler is no longer needed for heating hot water in the summer (eliminating standby losses), and the hot water heater may be shut off in the winter. Furthermore, condensing boilers are extremely efficient, so significant savings are attributed to fuel savings. We have found that the typical payback time for a condensing water heater ranges from four to eight years.

Fuel Conversions

Benefit of a Feasibility Study for Gas Conversion

A Feasibility Study for a fuel conversion assesses a building's existing fuel usage (generally oil) and compares it to a future projected gas usage. It evaluates the current heating plant, its current fuel usage and costs, projected costs using gas, proposed system improvements and costs, and projected savings and payback period. It will highlight the pros and cons of a fuel conversion and direct the client toward a full conversion, partial upgrade, or no conversions at all.

Why hire a Project Manager or Engineer?

Typically there are many steps to follow with a gas conversion. The most onerous generally involve the local utility company, including paperwork, evaluations, coordination, and field visits, both before and during construction. The utility company specifies the technical requirements for the work, which usually command engineered drawings, and forms to be signed, sealed and filed with the local building department.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The time frame varies with each project, though certain phases are often consistent. A feasibility study will normally take one to two months, depending on meetings with boards, access to utility bills, etc. The work by the utility company (often Con Edison) can take weeks, or sometimes even months. During this time, the engineering work is done and bid sets submitted to contractors. Usually a contractor is selected and prices negotiated prior to mobilization by the utility company. Construction is often completed within a month, given no extraordinary conditions.


Local Law Compliance

What is LL84/Benchmarking? Is it required, and why?

Beginning in 2011, all NYC buildings are required to audit or benchmark their total annual energy and water use. This process involves data collection and inputting into an online benchmarking tool, which measures and totals the usage. The online data must be submitted to the City by May of each year. This law has been enacted for presumable future efforts in energy conservation.


What is LL87/Retro-commissioning? Is it required and why?

Beginning in 2013 all NYC buildings over 50,000 SF must undergo both an energy audit of, and identify any deficiencies that exist in, its base building systems. A retro-commissioning report must be completed listing the deficiencies and steps to be taken to correct these items. It then must be filed with the City of NY by a certain deadline (varies by building tax lot). This law has been enacted for conservation and energy efficiency purposes.


Is there a penalty for non-compliance with LL84 or LL87?

Buildings that do not comply with LL84 are assessed a penalty of $500 per quarter. Buildings that do not comply with LL87 are assessed a penalty of $3,000 the first year, and $5,000 each subsequent year until compliance is met.


DesignerG Services – Creative Energy Management provides a full suite of energy efficiency consulting services. Contact us for an initial consultation.