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The Project at a Glance

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Building Information
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
Tenant Name
Empire State Realty Trust
Building Owner
1359 Broadway, New York, NY
Location
14 years
NYSERDA Lease Term
15,200 square feet
Project Size

In 2013, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)—a New York state authority that promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources to reduce customer energy bills—decided to lease office space at 1359 Broadway in Manhattan. With NY Green Bank, a division of NYSERDA, it now occupies 15,200 square feet on the building’s 19th floor. The nearly 471,000-square-foot building at 1359 Broadway had recently undergone significant upgrades, the addition of state-of-the-art HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and security systems. The space offered the tenant the opportunity to build out a cost-effective, high-performance space, in line with NYSERDA’s organizational mission, that could support many mechanical design best practices for comfort and efficiency.

In designing and constructing its space on floor 19, NYSERDA chose to follow the Tenant Energy Optimization process—a proven, replicable approach that integrates energy efficiency into tenant space design and construction and delivers excellent financial returns through energy conservation.

Floor 19 buildoutProjected results*
Energy reduction39.0%**
Annual electricity reduction72,437 kWh3.6 kWh/SFkWh / kWh/SF
Total electricity savings over lease term1.0 GWh50.7 kWh/SFGWh / kWh/SF
Adjusted incremental implementation cost$48,680 total$2.43/SFTotal / SF
Total electricity cost savings over lease term$188,017 total$9.40/SFTotal / SF
NPV of project investment$87,277 total$4.36/SFTotal / SF
ROI over lease term179%
IRR30.5%
Payback period (with incentives)3.6 years
*Based on models calibrated through a post-occupancy Measurement & Verification Process. See the third resource guide, Measurement & Verification: Post-Occupancy for more information.
**When the energy savings related to ENERGY STAR equipment are not taken into account, the modeled energy reduction is 35.7%. Although savings from ENERGY STAR equipment are not negligible, NYSERDA does not typically claim them because use of ENERGY STAR equipment is a NYSERDA standard.

Executing the Process

Design and Construction

NYSERDA was familiar with the Tenant Energy Optimization process and had working relationships with several of its original developers. NYSERDA assembled a team of experts, many of whom had been involved in a whole-building retrofit of the Empire State Building, to plan and execute the Tenant Energy Optimization process.

NYSERDA’s space provided an opportunity to showcase market-based best practices and replicable cost-effective, energy-efficient tenant space solutions. The team outlined three general targets to help guide the design process:

  • Given NYSERDA’s mission to promote and advance energy efficiency and clean energy throughout the state, the buildout should set the standard for a cost-effective, high-performance workplace.
  • The project should create a more vibrant, productive work environment for NYSERDA/NY Green Bank staff, leading to lower absenteeism and enhanced staff attraction, retention, and productivity.
  • The project should inform revisions to enhance NYSERDA’s incentive program for the commercial office tenant buildout market.

More specific project goals for the buildout included the following:

  • The project should serve as a model for responsible, economically minded tenants and incorporate commercially available, off-the-shelf solutions rather than cutting-edge or demonstration technologies.
  • The project should reflect reasonable cost-effectiveness, i.e., a payback of full incremental cost within five years.
  • The project should meet at least LEED for Commercial Interiors Silver requirements.

After the team conducted energy performance modeling, reviewed incremental costing information, and analyzed cost savings projections, a package of energy performance measures (EPMs) was chosen that would meet the energy and financial goals of the authority. EPMs are technologies and systems that aim to reduce energy use through efficiency and conservation. They are also frequently referred to as energy conservation measures (ECMs).

The EPMs implemented in NYSERDA’s space on floor 19 include the following:

Energy performance measure (EPM)Target areaElectricity reductionAnnual cost savingsIncremental first costSimple payback
High-efficiency lighting (0.7 W/SF)Lighting44,054 kWh/yr23.7%kWh/yr / %$8,168$35,2004.3 years
Daylight harvesting (dimming)Lighting8,771 kWh/yr4.7%kWh/yr / %$1,626$21,00012.9 years
ENERGY STAR equipmentPlug load8,126 kWh/yr4.4%kWh/yr / %$1,507$0Immediate
Computer shutoff softwarePlug load0 kWh/yr0%kWh/yr / %$0$1,800N/A
Demand-controlled ventilationHVAC256 kWh/yr0.1%kWh/yr / %$47$7,500158 years
Energy recovery ventilator (ERV)HVAC689 kWh0.4%kWh / %$128Avoided costImmediate
Natural ventilationHVAC1,292 kWh0.7%kWh / %$240$6,50027.1 years
Variable refrigerant flow system (VRF)HVAC9,249 kWh5.0%kWh / %$1,715Avoided costImmediate

Measurement and Verification

Companies and Roles
Gardiner & Theobald
Project manager
Wendy Fok
Energy project director
Corgan Architects
Architect
Henegan Construction Co.
General contractor
Integral Group
Engineer and energy consultant
Empire State Realty Trust
Owner
CBRE
Leasing broker

After completion of the buildout, the design engineer returned to perform measurement and verification (M&V) to ensure that the implemented EPMs were performing as intended. Initial M&V was conducted over the course of a ten-day period, once the space was fully occupied and operational. The design engineer collected actual tenant energy consumption data from the installed submeters. With the exception of the computer shutoff software, M&V confirmed that all EPMs were implemented and performing as designed. In fact, peak lighting power measured at 0.61 watt per square foot—almost 15% better than the 0.7 watt per square foot that was originally estimated. The energy consultant believed that the computer shutoff software simply had not been turned on or connected to the appropriate plug loads and recommended that NYSERDA confirm that it was connected and programmed to turn off those plug loads overnight and on the weekends.

Post-Project Actions

NYSERDA’s experience with the Tenant Energy Optimization process helped inform its Commercial Tenant Program, which was developed to incentivize the design of high-performance tenant spaces.

The program offers cost sharing ranging from 50% to 100% of eligible expenses to buy down the cost of developing an energy model and energy efficiency package to encourage use of energy-efficient design elements in a tenant space.

Providing this type of targeted technical assistance at the onset of a project—during lease negotiations, lease renewal, or at the beginning of a major renovation—helps facilitate the conversation among tenants, landlords, architects, and engineers about building energy-efficient spaces that can provide energy- and cost-savings benefits to tenants and landlords alike. The Commercial Tenant Program is open and accepting applications.