August 19, 2013
Countdown to BE NYC!
One of the professionals participating in the conference is Dan Rieber.
Dan Rieber is the Weatherization Director at NMIC (Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation) as well as a frequent speaker at GreenHomeNYC forums. He has a BA from SUNY Stony Brook. Over the past 20 years Dan has given numerous presentations on various weatherization topics at the National Affordable Comfort conferences (ACI), National Multi Family Buildings conferences, National Weatherization Training conferences, Regional Weatherization Program conferences, NESEA, and GreenHomeNYC.
Dan will be speaking about “Steam Heat: Tech Tips for Successful Operation” as part of the Multifamily track at BuildingEnergy NYC.
What is weatherization and why is it important for residential buildings? How does it affect the resident’s quality of life?
Weatherization, in our Northeast climate, is mostly about keeping your building as efficient as possible during the heating season. This means making sure your walls are insulated (if they can be), insulating the roof, insulating pipes (heating and DHW), air sealing wherever you can, tuning your heating system to maximize its efficiency or replacing it for a more efficient unit. Repairing windows for drafts and replacing them if necessary.
Being sure that you are making domestic hot water in as efficient a manner as possible can have a big impact on your energy bill. Domestic hot water is made all year round and can use more energy than heating in some buildings. Energy efficient lighting is an important part of the energy efficiency equation too, but has less of an impact on the heating side. Mechanical ventilation is another item to be looked at. Over ventilating can have an effect on heating use and the resident’s comfort.
Resident quality of life is a big issue if people are cold in their homes. Seniors and young children are most susceptible to colder temperatures. On the flip side if people are overheated then the building is wasting money on fuel going up the chimney and there are health issues related to poor indoor air quality in this case. This leads to open windows in the winter time as well.
How did you become interested in sustainable building and weatherization?
I took an internship with NYC HPD in 1988. It was a natural fit and I was offered a job at the end of the summer and continued to work there until the spring of 1992. That is when I hired on at NMIC and have been here ever since.
What is the connection between benchmarking and weatherization?
Benchmarking helps to see how well/poorly a building is performing in terms of energy use. By conducting an energy audit and modeling the building properly you can see how well your building is doing relative to other buildings and what the potential for energy and dollar savings are by implementing specific retrofits, as I mentioned earlier.
Describe the goals of NMIC with regards to weatherization and the essential measures that are pursued to achieve them?
NMIC’s goals in Weatherization are to install the most cost effective energy retrofits in order to maximize the energy savings a building can achieve without sacrificing resident comfort, and in many cases improve that comfort.
Please reflect upon your experiences in speaking at GreenHomeNYC forums? What are your thoughts on the program?
I feel it is a great way to get the energy conservation message out there, because you can never talk too much about this subject. So many people still need to learn this stuff. I enjoy meeting new people who have been in the field for a long time and newcomers who are eager to learn.
You spoke at the April Forum: The Hit List – The Top Tips to Green NYC Buildings. What do you think is the “top tip” that tenants should implement?
Tenants in NYC (and elsewhere) typically only have to worry about cooking gas and electricity in terms of an energy bill. This is not always the case, but most typical. Replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescents, or LED lamps saves energy and money. If you have an old refrigerator then replacing it with an Energy Star rated unit will save even more. Older refrigerators can use more than half the electricity in a typical apartment. Looking at your air conditioner is important as well. Again if the unit is older, look to buy an Energy Star rated unit with at least an EER of 10 or greater. The higher the EER on window and sleeve AC units the better. Also look at what are called plug loads or those other things you use in your apt.; TV’s, microwave ovens, toaster or convection ovens, chargers for personal electronic devices and computers. I got rid of an electric convection oven and the next month my bill went down by over $30.
There are smart power strips out there that can help reduce the phantom load that some of these things use even when they are off.
Interview conducted by Claire Brown.
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