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How Manhattan Mini Storage is partnering with Con Edison and NYSERDA using innovative technology to cut carbon emissions and energy costs

David Klatt's picture
VP Operations / Analytics Logical Buildings

As the VP of Operations / Analytics with Logical Buildings, David is responsible for analyzing and optimizing building energy performance through implementation of software and cleantech capital...

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  • Oct 4, 2018 11:15 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2018-10 - AESP EE Day, click here for more

New York State has ambitious energy efficiency goals, which include reducing 80% of its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050 (“80x50”). Through Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) strategy, New York is in a position to lead the country in the deployment of clean energy technology and the decentralization of the power grid. Many of the programs that have emerged from Albany’s focus on utility-scale power generation, like closing the nuclear Indian Point Energy Center and transitioning to offshore wind power; whereas NYSERDA’s Real Time Energy Management Program (“RTEM”) and Con Edison’s Demand Management Program (“DMP”) focus on incentivizing innovation at the Grid Edge, where individual buildings consume energy. Reliant on state-of-the-art reporting systems that measure performance and produce coordinated data, big data analytics, and energy systems optimization, RTEM and DMP are designed to relieve different types of stress on New York’s power grid.

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The grid continuously coordinates for supply of electricity generation to meet demand of its customers’ electricity consumption in real-time due to the fact that the grid does not have the capacity to store electricity at scale. As such, peaks in electricity usage are more expensive because they put significantly more strain on the grid.

Con Edison’s DMP incentivizes buildings to invest in a system (e.g. advanced HVAC controls, battery storage, backup generator) that enables participation in demand response, which compensates buildings for reducing electricity consumption during these short, peak time periods, when the grid is most stressed. Coordinated participation in Demand Response among thousands of participants has an exponentially positive impact on New York State sustainability and overall grid health. The DMP incentive is performance-based and requires at least a 50-kW reduction for a 4-hour period. For advanced HVAC controls, DMP covers up to 70% of the total upfront project cost.

Unlike Con Edison’s DMP, NYSERDA’s RTEM program incentivizes continuous visualization and analysis of real-time energy data at the equipment level (boilers, chillers, air handling units) in order to identify Energy Conservation Measures (“ECMs”) that reduce energy consumption year-round, during peak and non-peak times. It is not performance based – the thesis is simple. Step one to reduce energy consumption is actually knowing how much energy you are consuming and where is it coming from. A key component of RTEM is providing service rebates for up to five years. Since data analytics are meaningless in a vacuum, NYSERDA’s goal is to ensure that a qualified energy manager is constantly mining data for energy efficiency insight.

Last year, with the advising of Logical Buildings, a smart building software and services company and NYSERDA qualified RTEM vendor, Manhattan Mini Storage (“MMS”), owned by Edison Properties LLC, at 5030 Broadway began participating in both NYSERDA’s RTEM and also Con Edison’s DMP in order to achieve maximum electricity cost reductions in the largest MMS facility in New York City. One year into the program, the first official RTEM service report results reflect that MMS has reduced its electricity consumption by close to 10%, and reduced its electricity expenditures by 25%, which amounts to a payback of less than a year (after rebates).

How did MMS achieve these results? After conducting a thorough smart building audit of the facility, Logical Buildings installed an advanced HVAC monitoring and control system that analyzes and modulates the operation of the facility’s 36 air handling units, 420-ton chiller, and overall electricity consumption from the utility meter, all in real-time. Logical Building’s SmartKit AI™ software platform integrates MMS’s electricity consuming equipment directly into external signals from the electric grid, such as demand response and other time-of-use price indicators. The system is designed to create outsized energy cost reductions by modulating energy consumption at the most valuable moments and preventing all of the equipment from running simultaneously while maintaining comfortable temperatures inside the building.

On July 2, 2018 the system was put to the test. The heat wave that roasted the U.S. East Coast caused New York State electricity consumption to surge to the highest levels since 2013. SmartKit AI received demand response signals from both the New York State grid operator (the “NYISO”) and Con Edison to reduce electricity consumption from 1pm-6pm and then again from 7pm-11pm. The system went to work seamlessly, efficiently pre-cooling the building and chilled water loop leading up to each “event window” and then reducing the building’s electricity consumption by approximately 40% for both demand response events, generating significant revenue for MMS.

The RTEM service report also revealed several new energy-saving opportunities in the building. For example, when a specific air handling unit was found to be running 100% of the time regardless of overall indoor temperature, Logical Buildings discovered that the temperature sensor associated with that unit was artificially “hot” because it was mounted directly next to a light fixture. This problem was immediately fixed and the unit returned to normal operation.

Thrilled with the results at 5030 Broadway, both from an environmental impact and ROI perspective, MMS has recently signed on to add SmartKit AI from Logical Buildings to five more sites in NYC, with the goal of creating a virtual-power-plant in one of the most electrically constrained grids in the country.

With the spotlight on New York State’s ambitious goals to reduce 80% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, programs like DMP and RTEM are promoting real grid edge innovation today. Step one to grid edge innovation is creating building operations data transparency. Step two is adding intelligence to building systems that can effectuate real change in energy consumption and expenditures. The combination of DMP, RTEM, and smart building technology from providers such as Logical Buildings, is enabling MMS to do just that.

About Logical Buildings

Logical Buildings (formerly Energy Technology Savings or “ETS”) is a smart building software and solutions company that helps reduce energy and operating costs, achieve sustainability goals and improve tenant comfort for multifamily and commercial properties. Logical Building’s software platform, SmartKit AI, creates and applies property-specific data to influence the behavior of property managers and convert energy savings opportunities into higher net operating income and net asset values for existing buildings and those under development. Built by energy and telecommunication systems engineers and our shareholders – owners and developers of more than $10 billion of multifamily and mixed-use properties – Logical Buildings is committed to growing your building’s revenue while reducing its energy costs and enhancing tenant lifestyle.

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