BOMA NY Lunch & Learn: Navigating the new normal - by Hani Salama

July 07, 2020 - Owners Developers & Managers
Hani Salama, P.E., LEED AP

Debra DeLuca is becoming a natural at her virtual introductions for the BOMA New York Lunch & Learn webinars. On June 25th, she introduced the topic – Navigating the New Normal – presented by Evolution Energy Partners (EEP).

Dailey Tipton, VP of marketing and sales for EEP quickly became the MC and put everyone at ease with interesting facts about each presenter. Dailey has been racing sailboats for 47-years. Chuck Hurchalla was once featured in Golfers Digest for winning a Father/Son Golf Tournament in Canada. Rob Holdsworth played D1 baseball for Michigan State. Without hesitation, it was all business from there. 

Dailey explained that when the orders for shelter in place began, he and his co-workers quickly recognized that their customers needed to be educated. EEP guided companies in the early days of the pandemic, educating clients how to efficiently ramp down buildings with little to no occupancy. They are now actively working with the same clients on reentry strategies. The presentation was structured to share those lessons and strategies with the registered BOMA New York audience. Prior to passing the webinar screen to the company president, Dailey simplified EEP’s mission, “We drive down costs and increase the sustainable footprint of our customers.”

Hurchalla said that all companies should launch their energy efficiency effort with a three-point management system. 

  1. Have one database to house all supply contracts, including peak load shedding and other demand management; 
  2. Manage the aggregated load across an entire portfolio; 
  3. Create economy of scale.

Hurchalla explained that part of their reentry strategy includes making up for lost dollars by saving dollars. He described that we are experiencing a 20-year low for the underlying commodities of electricity and natural gas. These unprecedented rates present an opportunity to lock in costs for the next two-five years. He equated playing a spot market (where you pay the current rate for every monthly bill) to gambling, versus locking in budget certainty and long-term stability with a forward market. His advice was matter of fact and he recommended that all could take advantage pending budget and risk profile.

Rob Holdsworth echoed that energy efficiency projects produce great return on investment. He said that while some companies will halt projects to preserve capital during uncertain economic times, today you can decrease operating expenses without using capital. He reviewed implementing fast payback projects, C-PACE and multiple other creative financing options.

Hurchalla affirmed that the number one top of mind issue for everybody is the safety of tenants and employees in all buildings. From there, Holdsworth reviewed the specifics of ASHRAE 62.1 – Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality and the ASHRAE recommendations to prevent the spread of pathogens, namely COVID-19.

HVAC Operational Changes – Increase outside air intake by opening your outside air dampers to 100%. Maintain relative humidity to between 40% and 60%. Disable demand control ventilation and energy recovery systems since the goal is to exhaust indoor air and take in fresh outdoor air. Recommended two air flush per day: two hours before occupancy and two hours after occupancy. This is accomplished by operating all exhaust fans in the building and opening all outside air dampers. 

MERV Level – Increase filter MERV levels. For example, office buildings should go from a Level 8 to a Level 13. As a reference point, hospitals use a MERV 16. 

Ultraviolet Light Disinfection – These UV lights destroy viral, bacterial, and fungal organism. UV lights can be installed on building systems, used as a portable device such as robots and hand operated, and specialized upper room UV. Since UV light is very damaging to skin and eyes, the Upper Room UV utilizes baffles and louvers that travel above to kill all viral and bacterial organisms in the circulating air. 

Bipolar Ionization – Once implemented, the building can limit the outdoor air intake, an investment payback of three years or less.

Hurchalla concluded and reiterated that energy efficiency projects check all boxes for today’s savvy property manager – Tenant Safety; Capital Preservation and Reduce OpEx.

Tune in for the next Lunch & Learn Webinar, scheduled for July 16th – Workplace Wellness Strategies for Resiliency & Re-Occupancy – presented by Cresa New York.

Hani Salama, P.E., LEED AP is with Capital Properties, and is BOMA NY chair & CEO, New York, N.Y.

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