The city's new HEAT (Heat Enforcement for All Tenants) Act is now the law and landlords across the city have been taking measures to insure their compliance with the city's tougher stance against repeat offenders. The HEAT Act's passage comes after HPD records show the city has received more than 172,062 heat-related complaints since October, up from some 169,000 for all of last year. Council member Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) has been quoted as saying, "If you're a good landlord, the bill won't affect you at all. But if you're looking to not live up to your responsibilities, you're going to pay the price."
Many landlords disagree. One Manhattan manager says even the most well intentioned management cannot avoid an occasional slip or even a dip in the mercury. "Let's face it: the bulk of the city's multi-unit properties are running on antiquated heating systems developed in pre-technology days. For many of these buildings, the only way to insure compliance every day of the season is by overheating the building to a sizzle and keeping it that way all winter. Tenants don't appreciate that either.
The steady development of computerized boiler controls has been bringing relief to landlords, particularly in recent years, where technological advancements have greatly expanded the capabilities and functionality of these systems.
EnTech Digital Controls, manufacturers of the award-winning VR-500 control system, is reporting a dramatic rise in demand since the buzz began about the HEAT Act coming up for a vote. Industry analysts say that EnTech is currently leading the market with its R&D engineers churning out next-generation efficiency products and software faster than the industry can grab them up.
Marty, a prominent Brooklyn manager says, "These boiler control products are not only about saving money. It's about peace of mind. I know my tenants are happy, I'm always in compliance and I'm saving a good deal to boot. I don't think being a good landlord is about overheating tenants all winter long. I cringe when I see half my tenants with their windows wide open. We've got an oil crisis looming, too."
At EnTech's corporate headquarters in central Jersey, company CEO Simon Soloff notes the growing plethora of applications for his products. "Multi-boiler systems can be loaded onto one single centrally controlled computer through sub-panels or relay controls. Our exclusive, patented Valve Control Module achieves wonders in balancing multi-zone with optimum results." According to one analyst, the range of multi-unit applications and configurations offered by EnTech have made their products the number one choice for garden style apartments with multiple boilers spread across considerable distances.
In addition to savings and compliance, today's sophisticated control systems can enhance the performance and efficiency of the boiler itself. Automated staging and alternating capabilities are incorporated into the system for multi-boiler and hydronic systems, basing calls and cycles on the actual temperature readings inside the apartments. Steam trap and vacuum system controls are also incorporated into the system through extended modules, increasing the computer's control capabilities.
The advanced data logging and analytics provide critical and accurate tracking data as well as advanced solutions and suggestions. The system's intelligent data analysis also performs ongoing self-diagnostics and troubleshooting to detect inefficiencies and malfunctions.
Another area where EnTech stands out amongst the rest is in the range and the volume of sensors it incorporates. From multiple outdoor and indoor readings, to aquastat, pre-mix and post-mix sensors. Pressure sensors, supply and return line sensors, stack sensor, water feed meter and even a flood sensor to detect water accumulating on the floor.
EnTech's Total Energy Management Service, the company's flagship monitoring program has received rave reviews this season after topping out its record with a documented 47% decrease in consumption for a 114-unit condominium property in Brooklyn. According to Eric, the company's COO, steadily advancing technologies are increasing the savings margin generated by these systems. "The 47% was actually a record that even we found hard to believe, but it's quite common to see consumption drop by 30% to 35% in the first year. Thinking back not so long ago, of the days when we would tout our guarantee for 15%, I think that's pretty impressive.
With an oil crisis looming, EnTech is now in high gear for the anticipated surge in demand. The instability in the Middle East has a direct effect on most landlords' bottom line and even the most skeptical managers are now requesting proposals for every one of their properties.
Sol, the VP of sales notes the primary growth in recent years has been in the garden apartments markets. "Just a few years ago these systems were not considered cost-effective for such applications." The dominance of high-tech controls in virtually every sector of the real estate market indicates a seismic change in energy management across the board.
EnTech Digital Controls is headquartered on the New Jersey Shore and services the entire East Coast.