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March 24, 2009
by Jessica Sheridan Assoc. AIA LEED AP

Event: Not Business As Usual: Energy Audits
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.11.09
Speakers: Clararose Voigt, and Joanna Moore — Project Managers, NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Michael Leech, LEED AP, Assoc. Engineer, and Adam Desio, LEED AP, Assoc. Engineer — Project Managers, EME Group
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation
Sponsors: AMX; Chief Manufacturing; Lutron Electronics

With the economic downturn, firms are struggling to stay competitive. By helping clients save money in the long run, firms will not only keep the valuable clients they have, but also potentially gain new projects in the future. One way to do this is by encouraging clients to do energy audits. At the most recent Not Business As Usual forum at the Center for Architecture, representatives from the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) spoke about its energy audit program along with engineers who perform the audits from EME Group.

Besides gaining or keeping clients, NYSERDA has launched initiatives to focus on climate change through energy efficiency. The Commercial/ Industrial Programs aim to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2015. By linking corporate building owners who pay less than $75,000 in electric bills per year with companies that perform energy audits, owners could save a noticeable amount of money by improving the systems in their buildings, stated Clararose Voigt, a NYSERDA project manager. With each audit, there is a billing analysis, walk-through survey, report on the performance of all systems in the building, and ultimately information and assistance on incentives and funding opportunities is provided. For larger companies, and for owners who work with engineers, NYSERDA can help re-evaluate energy consumption in the long term through feasibility studies, energy master plans, and retro commissioning.

Whether or not architects encourage their clients to use NYSERDA’s services, they can encourage building owners to think about energy efficiency as directly linking to cost savings. In these troubled times, this may be one way to keep sustainability in everyone’s consciousness.

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