2015 Finalist: Verdant Brainiac

The most scalable green renovation project, particularly one that is innovative and overcame significant challenges.

Who led the charge

 Josh Eisenberg               Executive Vice President, Urban  American Management

 

Eisenberg is actively engaged in the acquisition, management and rehabilitation of Urban American’s portfolios. Eisenberg has been a practicing real estate attorney, representing real estate developers and equity investors in acquiring, developing and leasing various types of real estate. A former United States Army reserve officer, Eisenberg is on the Advisory Board of Cornell’s University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Real Estate Advisory Board of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation.

    EXPERT ADVICE

  • Consider becoming your own ESCO to obtain financing                                                                              
  • Learn public services commission standards and requirements                                                                        
  • Hire a full-time, onsite project manager                              
  • Use Energy Service Agreements (ESAs)

Roosevelt Landings: Energy Efficiency Catches Up with Design Efficiency

 

In 1975, the newly completed Roosevelt Landings, a New York City apartment community, drew kudos for its innovative design and space efficiency. For instance, it features triple-loading corridors with duplex apartments, so elevators and public corridors are needed for every third floor.

In 2007, property owner and manager Urban American (UA) purchased Roosevelt Landings. Soon after, the original design’s energy inefficiencies became painfully obvious.

The behemoth Roosevelt Island complex was built with electric baseboard heating. Since a single electric meter monitored all units and common areas, residents weren’t responsible for their electricity use. Realizing the flaws of this design, a UA capital improvement plan included spending more than $1 million to install individual sub meters. However, the UA project team hit a major roadblock when, in response to a shift in political climate, the New York Public Service Commission nixed the meters’ funding.

The team formed Urban Greenfit as an energy service company (ESCO) to finance the new initiative. The project would also be funded in part by a $4.5 million loan from the NYC Energy Efficiency Corp. (NYCEEC). The retrofit included the installation of thermostatic controls in each unit, enabling residents to control apartment temperature within a defined range. In addition, the team completed the largest air-sealing project in New York City history.

In the end, energy efficiency finally caught up with the complex’s once-lauded design efficiency.

"By utilizing aggressive energy upgrades, this project enjoys a competitive advantage in the real estate market."

 

CLOSE UP: Roosevelt Landings

What did we do?
Urban America’s capital program retrofitted selected Roosevelt Landings' systems for greater energy savings. 

Why we did it: 
The building’s ownership wanted to increase energy efficiency while lowering prohibitive operating costs.

Our Approach: 
Roosevelt Landings used innovative financing to implement aggressive air sealing, smart controls and distributed generation upgrades.

 

RESULTS

  • Largest air sealing project in NYC history
  • A $960,000 net-operating income increase translates into an increase in building valuation of $19M
  • Project team anticipates an additional 10% reduction in source energy use intensity