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Riverview Court Case Study

NYSERDA Incentives Contribute to Impressive Energy Savings in Yonkers Building

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Approximately 1,250 New Yorkers call Riverview Court home. The Yonkers, NY, building has 343 affordable rental units for single adults and small families. Built in 1973, when electricity and fuel costs were relatively low, the complex’s 18-story buildings had not aged particularly well: Many of the windows had failed, corroded by condensation between the panes. “Sleeve” openings for window air conditioners had deteriorated too, bringing cold drafts each winter. A variety of other factors contributed to energy waste—and the unnecessary expense that comes with it.

Aided by incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Riverview Court completed extensive energy efficiency improvements, yielding a 25 percent reduction in energy use.

By participating in NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program, Riverview Court achieved an impressive annual energy savings of more than $300,000 a year, and can expect to recoup its investment in fewer than 10 years.

A Comprehensive Plan to Save Energy

Riverview Court’s first step on the road to energy efficiency was an Energy Reduction Plan (ERP), drafted in 2008 by EME Consulting Engineering Group. EME served as Riverview Court’s Multifamily Performance Partner, guiding the building owner through the process of saving energy and qualifying for NYSERDA incentives. The ERP included:Multifamily Building in Yonkers, NY

  • Replacing all windows
  • Upgrading common-area and apartment lighting
  • Resealing the air conditioner sleeves
  • Replacing all refrigerators with ENERGY STAR® qualified units
  • Installing timers on exhaust fans
  • Installing low-flow water devices

Because of the high cost of replacing its electric heat system, Riverview Court’s management chose to keep its heating system intact.

Electricity Submetering Gives Control to Residents

The installation of electricity submetering equipment was an important component. Previously, Riverview Court had been a master-metered building, and residents paid for their electricity costs (including heat) in their rent, according to a formula that wasn’t linked to actual usage, and provided no incentives for efficient use.

With submetering, residents only pay for the electricity they use; visibility into their usage almost always results in more energy-efficient behavior.

NYSERDA incentives for electricity submetering are available to master-metered buildings with market-rate tenants (especially appropriate for condos and co-ops) to help offset the costs of installation.

One-Year Verification Demonstrates 25% Energy Savings

In the case of Riverview Court, there was particularly good news at the one-year mark, when actual energy usage data is available: energy expenses were reduced by $319,875—a 25 percent savings. Riverview earned $411,600 in construction incentives and qualified for a bonus payment of $205,800 for achieving an energy savings greater than 20 percent. In all, Riverview Court received $617,400 in NYSERDA incentives—almost a quarter of the project’s total cost of just over $3 million.

Overview

Background & Challenges

  • Affordable housing project with 343 apartments
  • Structure built in 1973, with aging and failing windows
  • Master metering meant residents shared electricity cost regardless of usage; no incentive to reduce usage

Solution

  • Window replacement
  • Common area and apartment lighting
  • Air-seal the air-conditioner unit sleeves
  • Replace refrigerators with ENERGY STAR® qualified models
  • Exhaust fan timers
  • Low-flow water devices
  • Electric submetering in every apartment unit

Benefits

  • Achieved a 25% reduction in energy use after one year
  • Increased comfort and safety of residents

Project Financials

Developer/Owner Related Management
Number of Units 343 rental units
Total Investment $3,048,644
NYSERDA Incentives $617,400
Annual Electric Savings 1,898,330 kWh
Annual Gas Savings 738 MMBtu
Annual Cost Savings $319,875
Savings-to-Investment Ratio 1.9
Simple Payback 9.5 years
Total Energy Reduction 25%
Last Updated: 10/03/2014