October 16th 2023

Decarb NY: Innovations and Collaborations for Decarbonization

Decarb NY: Innovations and Collaborations for Decarbonization

Last month, IES had the pleasure of being involved in the Companies for Net Zero’s Decarb New York 2023 event. In our latest blog, Justin Slusarski, Business Development Manager at IES, reflects on some key takeaways from the event, in particular how companies can utilize data and digitization to achieve one of the summit themes of “How to Incorporate Innovations & Materials for Decarbonization”.

New York City (NYC) has consistently been at the forefront of introducing decarbonization measures across the US. With the US national target of net greenhouse gas reductions of 50 to 52% by 2030 being established in April 2021, New York City had already initiated its Greener Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) as far back as 2009, and its Climate Mobilization Act in 2019. The latter of these legislations is now renown for introducing Local Law 97 (LL97), which brings energy efficiency and greenhouse gas limits for most buildings over 25,000 square feet in the city, with associated penalties coming into effect in 2024. In a previous blog, we highlighted some of the ways in which our physics-based digital twin building analytics software can assist you and your assets with Local Law 97 compliance – it’s worth a read if you are interested in finding out more.

Whilst attending the Companies for Net Zero’s Decarb New York 2023 event, our Vice President, Brenda V. Morawa moderated the panel “How to Incorporate Innovations & Materials for Decarbonization”. On this panel were Chris Jones, Strategic Account Executive at Trane; Benjamin Rodney, ESG Leader East Region at Hines; and Yasemin Kologlu, Principal at Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill.

What was clear from the session, and the Decarb NY event more generally, is that there is no silver bullet solution for reaching net-zero. One topic discussed was how variances in building occupancy can impact the solutions available for decarbonization. Commercial and institutional buildings are responsible for 40% of building emissions in NYC, despite only taking up a quarter of the city’s land. Offices, which take up 62% of the commercial building sector, can have widely varying occupancy profiles resulting in significant variances in the accompanying emissions produced. For example, one office building might be occupied for 40 to 50 hours a week, and only requires heating and cooling to maintain occupant comfort. However, a differing office building might have energy-intensive data centers which require heating and cooling around the clock, meaning that each building will require very different decarbonization strategies. This is one of the key benefits of using our digital twin software to develop a digital model of your asset, as this can consider how exactly your space is being occupied, allowing you to identify what retrofit solutions are most appropriate for decarbonization of your asset in line with LL97 targets.

Another aspect discussed at this event was the opportunities and challenges data can bring to decarbonization measures. As mandated by Local Law 84 (LL84), owners of large buildings over 25,000 square feet must submit annual energy and water consumption benchmarking reports to the City Council. The main issue that arises with having to submit this energy benchmarking data is whether the data itself is accurate. This is where our software can help automate and verify the data being collected through real-time metering. Supported by the tried-and-tested APACHE building physics engine at the core of our software, we can help to verify that your benchmarking reports are accurate, simulate and forecast future energy predictions and conduct ongoing measurement & verification (M&V) to validate your energy savings are on track to meet targets set out by Local Law 97.

At this event, it was also highlighted how partnerships and collaborations are key to accelerating progress towards net-zero. This is a view that is strongly held by the team at IES and we are proud to work with our ever-growing global network of partners, clients and industry bodies to share our building analytics capabilities and expertise to deliver decarbonization solutions which are truly innovative.

When it comes to energy efficiency, building owners and managers are most concerned about managing finances and handling maintenance and emergency repairs. Our digital twin software can be used to de-risk the investment on potential retrofit options suitable for your building, by simulating and analyzing each option against key performance indicators to make a sound business case. It can also be used to easily identify and target areas of poor performance within your asset, to assist with maintenance and ensure the optimal building performance is achieved at all stages of the building’s lifecycle. By carrying out measures such as these, we can ensure your assets are set on the road to net zero by 2050.

Do you own buildings larger than 25,000 square feet in NYC? Make sure you meet Local Law 97 before penalties take effect. Get in touch with our team here, to find out more about how our physics-based digital twin building analytics software can deliver the data and investment grade decision information that you can trust.