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New electrical innovations can save up to $1 per square foot.

The Energy Cost Savings Council (ECSC) has launched a national education campaign to convey a simple and direct message to Corporate America: The average building owner can cut energy costs up to 60 percent by replacing outdated, inefficient electrical equipment with new, high-tech electrotechnologies, a potential savings of $1 per square foot of space.

The ECSC, a coalition of manufacturers, utilities, industry groups and government agencies, was formed to educate Corporate America about the potential cost savings benefits of electrical retrofits and upgrades. The Council is launching an advertising and public relations program targeted to businesses and building owners to convey the potential bottom line savings that will result from upgrading outdated electrical products.

"There is no doubt that competition among utilities is going to save American business money in energy costs," said Jack Briody, president of Advance Transformer and chairman of the ECSC. "But marketplace competition between energy providers will only satisfy a fraction of the potential savings businesses can realize. Electrical upgrades can cut commercial energy costs almost in half, yielding a potential savings of $1 per square foot that drops straight to the bottom line."

An electrical product upgrade can include upgrades in lighting fixtures and lamps, controls and sensors, transformers, motors and drives, and HVAC equipment. According to ECSC, the return on investment in new these technologies begins almost immediately, producing energy savings that allow building owners to recoup their investment in the upgrade in as few as 2 to 3 years, and continue saving over the 10- to 20-year lifespan of the products.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 90 percent of all commercial buildings in the U.S. were built before 1985. Since that time, technological advances have made basic electrical products and equipment highly efficient, using a fraction of the energy of products manufactured before 1985.

In a study by the trade Journal Energy User News, 1,000 electrical product upgrade projects were analyzed between 1988 and 1996. The study concluded that upgrades and retrofits of lighting, HVAC, motors and drives, and building automation can achieve energy savings of $1 to $1.50 per square foot of floor space, especially when the project involved a combination of each electro-technology element.

The private sector-based ECSC "ReElectrification of American Business" campaign is joining with ongoing government efforts to promote energy efficiency, including the Energy Star Building and Green Lights Partnership and the Green Lights Program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is also supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

"The Energy Star Building Partnership shares a common goal with ECSC: held building owners understand the benefits of upgrading to new technologies," said Maria T. Vargas, co-director of the Energy Star Buildings and Green Lights Partnership. "By working together and targeting all categories of buildings - owner-occupied commercial and industrial space, incomeproducing properties, and public sector buildings - we will educate end-users of the real economic and social benefits that come from taking steps to save energy."

Vargas cited one New York City building as an example of how updating building equipment can result in a quick return on investment. The New York Information Technology Center at 55 Broad Street is owned by Rodin Management, Inc. and is a participant in EPA's "Energy Star Building Partnership."

The 31-year-old building recently completed a complete electrical upgrade. Rudin worked with Con Edison to develop a new lighting system which provides quality, efficiency and control, and will return a 30 percent savings on energy and maintenance as compared to a conventional lighting system.

"Information-age businesses, like 55 Broad, need buildings designed and wired to provide workspace flexibility, excellence in lighting and super-reliable power," said Anthony Giasi of Con Edison. "This project showcased a new standard in office building infrastructure that has businesses eager for Manhattan leases again."

Additional information on the ECSC can be found at or by calling 1-888-829-2209.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 18, 1998
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