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Strategies to Improve Energy Performance

High-performance energy conservation measures for new construction, retrofit, and renovation. Applicable to New York City Local Law 97

Christopher Riddell avatar
Written by Christopher Riddell
Updated over a week ago

Major building-wide renovation projects provide an effective vehicle for deep energy retrofits and new construction. Energy efficiency can be a strategic addition to major renovation projects, providing for some of the deepest savings while also significantly contributing to the overall property value creation. With more stringent regulations such as New York’s Local Law 97, it becomes imperative to mitigate energy use and offset carbon emissions from buildings.

The top energy conservation strategies that could be applied in each category would include:


Reduce lighting power density

  • Lighting upgrades to T-8, T-5, and LED fixtures

  • Lighting override controls

  • Lower lighting power density in tenant spaces

  • Install Task lighting and occupancy sensors

  • Implement continuous dimming high efficiency LED lighting

Daylight sensors, dimming, active blinds

  • Natural daylighting

  • Motorized blinds with app control

  • Daylight dimming, occupancy/vacancy sensors, and controls

  • Daylight sensors and controls

  • Active blinds

Reduce lighting schedule

  • Lighting operations controlled by a Building management system


Cooling plant replacement or upgrade

  • New variable speed screw chiller

  • Heat Recovery Heat Pump

  • New DX units throughout the property

  • Cooling tower replacement or refurbishment

  • Chilled beams and VAV

VFDs on motors in AHUs, cooling towers, pumps

  • VFDs in chillers and chilled water pumps

  • Refurbished DX units with new motors and VFD

Setpoint temps and schedules

  • Reduce setpoint temperatures

  • Increase deadband for VAV units


Boiler plant replacement or upgrade

  • High-efficiency condensing boilers and thermal storage tank

  • Gas cogeneration for hot water

  • Air-source heat pumps

Distribution system improvements

  • Steam or hot water distribution pipe insulation

  • Upgrade all internal controls to VAV boxes in ceilings throughout each floor


Air handling system replacement or upgrade

  • Total air distribution system converted to VAV

  • Displacement ventilation

  • Air distribution upgrades (overhead, hybrid overhead, perimeter fan coil, and chilled beam)

  • VFDs on all supply and return/exhaust fans

Demand control ventilation

  • Demand control ventilation and CO2 sensors

  • Fresh air controls with presence detectors enabling shutdown when areas are unoccupied


Façade Upgrades

  • High-performance window replacement

Air-tightness improvements

  • Replace weather stripping with new gaskets

  • Passive stack effect mitigation

  • Façade air tightness caulking for the entire building

Additional insulation

  • Super-insulated walls and roof with a continuous air barrier

  • Additional insulation on the roof and below grade level

Plug Loads

Energy star appliances and other ECM's

  • Replace existing appliances with energy star

  • Plug load reduction study and advanced power strips installation on tenant floors

  • Remote, app-driven control for tenants

Hot water

Hot water heater replacement

  • High-efficiency condensing boilers

  • Gas cogeneration for hot water

Electrification of hot water generation & other ECM's

  • New electric domestic hot water tanks

  • Electrical point of use hot water heaters for hand washing and low-flow fixtures

Other Strategies

  • Upgrade existing BMS programming and modernized controls

  • Advanced cloud-based building energy management system (EMS), offering real-time energy management (RTEM) capabilities

The be-ex article (screenshot above) has documented measures taken by 18 buildings to comply with Local law 97 in NYC -

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