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Q&A: New York moves to reduce building greenhouse gas emissions (Includes interview)

Last year New York City spearheaded a climate-conscious movement with the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve efficiency for commercial and residential buildings larger than 25,000 square feet – or face up to $100,000 in annual fines for buildings that do not comply.

Rhonda Landis, VP of Operations from FacilityConneX who has been working with building managers countrywide to initiate the new environmental goals using a number of new solutions, as she explains to Digital Journal.

Digital Journal: What are the main environmental concerns from building and construction?

Rhonda Landis: Building construction and operations often create carbon emissions, disrupt the environment and utilize a significant amount of energy. To counter this, we’re now seeing regulations being put into place to reduce emissions and create sustainable green buildings. Building owners and construction companies are looking at these regulations as a way to increase the value of their property by incorporating new smart solutions. For example, many property owners are now looking to integrate advanced monitoring technologies to reduce costs and help the environment which in turn, increases their property’s value.

DJ: How significant is the New Jersey decision to impose a climate change clause?

Landis: This is a significant decision and one that could drive positive environmental change throughout the state of New Jersey. Buildings are one of the key contributors to carbon emissions and a variety of other environmental concerns; but driving change with how these buildings operate will require a balance creating environmentally friendly properties with cost-effective materials, systems and technologies. Building owners, through state mandates and incentives, can gain energy and cost savings while helping the environment; recognizing the decision as a win/win.

DJ: What’s the basis of the New York Climate Mobilization Act?

Landis: The New York Climate Mobilization Act is designed to reduce carbon footprint across the 5 boroughs in New York City. It is the first piece of legislation to implement extremely strict limits and steep fines to drive carbon emission reductions across different building classes in New York City. This is the toughest reduction plan in the country and has created concern among many New York property owners who need to reduce emissions 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2050.

DJ: Are these regulations fair and proportionate?

Landis: What price do you put on preserving the environment? This is an important step towards creating a sustainable future and integrating regulations like this are necessary to get buildings to seriously consider and take action around their impact on the environment.

DJ: Are construction companies set to meet these requirements?

Landis: For years, building owners have focused on the easier initiatives with energy management and efficiency but they will not be enough with these new regulations and requirements. These regulatory changes now require building owners to provide measurements and prove that they have done their due diligence in optimizing their building systems and energy efficiency; not all buildings are positioned to meet these stringent requirements. However, new technologies, like Monitoring Based Commissioning, (MBCx) are helping building owners and construction companies to create a roadmap for compliance by identifying ways that they can drastically reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

DJ: What should building and construction firms be doing in terms of developing a strategy to meet the new environmental requirements?

Landis: To create a strategy, building and construction firms need to focus on equipment optimization and/or replacement. Additionally, they can look to incorporate other renewable energy alternatives such as solar. Optimizing equipment can be simplified if firms utilize Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx) solutions with advanced analytics. These solutions identify and prioritize equipment faults, energy savings, and performance improvements in real-time so buildings understand where their greatest inefficiencies exist and how to fix them. These systems provide baseline analysis, and verification to Energy Goals and measured carbon reduction.

DJ: What services does FacilityConneX offer?

Landis: FacilityConneX is a real-time data monitoring solution and service provider for building operators and facility managers looking to proactively leverage IIoT to enhance operational efficiency, equipment optimization, and energy savings through ongoing commissioning, fault detection, diagnostics and advanced predictive analytics.

The Monitoring Based Commissioning platform monitors critical environmental factors to create a baseline measurement and identify areas of improvement and equipment optimization. It leverages advanced fault detection analytics to reduce equipment waste and energy use. FacilityConneX has an ROI in less than 6 months and has reduced millions of dollars of energy waste and associated carbon reduction.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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