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Commercial Statewide Baseline Study of New York State


NYSERDA, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS), conducted a Commercial Statewide Baseline Study. NYSERDA’s Commercial Statewide Baseline Study consists of three main components:

  1. Building Stock Baseline Study - Assessing the existing commercial building stock and energy-consuming equipment, including equipment counts and characteristics (e.g., size and efficiency levels), across a broad range of customer segments.
  2. Market Assessments - Assessing four commercial markets: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Energy Management Systems (EMS), Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), and Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Customer Decision Making.
  3. Potential Study -Measuring the potential for additional commercial energy efficiency opportunities in New York over the next three to five years.

Results from this study can be used as an input into the design and planning of energy efficiency market transformation initiatives for the commercial sector.

Building Stock Baseline Study

The Building Stock Baseline Study will assess energy consuming equipment (electrical, natural gas, and other fuels), building characteristics (square footage, age), and energy management practices (hours of use, maintenance practices) of the existing commercial building stock in New York State. The study will cover commercial buildings across a broad range of customer segments, such as office, retail, lodging, and others. To conduct this study, NYSERDA will rely on primary data collected by telephone and online surveys as well as onsite visits.

The baseline data will be used to inform intervention development and evaluation work under the Clean Energy Fund (CEF). It will be used by utilities to inform their program development, specifically targeting energy efficiency (EE) measures and building types, and it will better inform the private sector (ESCOs and CRE firms) to target specific types of buildings for EE opportunities or to show key stakeholders what other stakeholders are doing to keep their buildings competitive.

Market Assessments

Four market assessments for major equipment areas and services markets were determined by NYSERDA (HVAC, ESCOs, EMS, CRE Customer Decision Making). These markets were determined based on the current energy market and Authority need. The market assessments shall focus on developing a complete understanding of the market for each of the areas included. The main goals of these assessments are to help NYSERDA set more accurate baselines for energy efficiency programs, to aid public and private innovation in the commercial marketplace, and to support estimation of the potential for additional energy efficiency opportunities in New York over the next three to five years.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

This market assessment focuses on unitary air conditioning systems used in commercial premises in New York State. For the purposes of this study, unitary systems are air conditioning systems that include an evaporator/cooling coil, a compressor, and a condenser. They can be packaged (also called a rooftop unit) or split systems.

The assessment addresses:

  • Characteristics of the commercial unitary AC systems market
  • Characteristics of the high efficiency commercial unitary systems market
  • The effect of the regulatory landscape on the commercial unitary AC systems
  • Customer awareness and interest in energy efficient commercial unitary systems and technologies
  • Installations and maintenance practices
  • Major market barriers

Energy Management Systems (EMS)

EMS are any technology that can control systems at a building-wide level to optimize energy use and occupant comfort. They typically integrate with software and hardware systems that monitor and/or control building systems such as lighting, HVAC, power systems, fire systems, security systems, and sometimes elevators and access control systems.

This assessment focuses on developing an understanding of the current EMS market in New York State and addresses the following:

  • Characteristics of the EMS market
  • Market drivers and barriers for EMS
  • Characteristics of current EMS users and installed systems
  • Customer use of EMS

Energy Service Companies (ESCOs)

The ESCO market assessment focuses on developing a baseline of ESCO activity in NY State. For the purposes of this study only, NYSERDA defines ESCOs as firms that offer comprehensive energy efficiency or other related services, project management, and general contracting for retrofit and replacement of a range of building end-uses. The study excludes power supply and renewable energy ESCOs and firms that simply complete the installation of an energy project.

This market assessment of New York State ESCOs will address:

  • Size of the ESCO market
  • ESCO operations
  • ESCO competitive landscape
  • ESCO regulatory landscape
  • Drivers and barriers to ESCO project implementation

Commercial Real Estate Customer Decision Making

This market assessment explores the decision-making process for investing in energy-saving equipment in New York State’s commercial real estate sector. It will explore the varying complexities that factor into why businesses invest—or not—in a commercial space’s energy performance.

This assessment will address:

  • Characteristics of typical decision-making process
  • Characteristics of capital investment plans
  • Common investment criteria for energy efficiency improvements
  • The effect of split incentives on investment decisions
  • Common funding and financing strategies for energy efficiency improvements
  • Past and anticipated capital investments and inclusion of energy efficiency options
  • Awareness, familiarity, and interest in energy efficiency options and programs
  • Barriers to adoption of energy efficiency improvements
  • Perception on performance and payback of specific equipment
  • How the decision-making process deviates from the standard process when put into practice

Potential Study

Using data from the other components of the Commercial Statewide Baseline Study, the Potential Study will begin after the other parts are complete. The potential study will assess the technical, economic, and achievable potential in New York over the next three to five years. The objective will be to surface opportunities not yet identified and, if and where possible, to recommend programs or actions to pursue those opportunities found to be cost-effective.

The resulting data will be used to set more accurate baselines for energy efficiency programs, to aide public and private innovation in the commercial marketplace, and to calculate energy savings and the potential of additional energy efficiency opportunities in New York over the next three and five years. Conclusions drawn from the study shall focus on establishing a baseline for commercial building stock and associated energy use.

Commercial Baseline Study and Appendices