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Winter chill sets in for owners.

New York City's top-tier landlords will likely foot a heftier steam bill this year, as Con Edison introduces new steam demand pricing for its biggest consumers this winter.

Speaking at BOMA/NY's annual conference and trade show earlier this month, Con Ed's engineer and technical analyst, Sim Zirkiyev, explained the necessity of new demand pricing during peak usage. According to him, the company plant capacity holds 12.3 Mlb/ hour Of steam but since 2004, usage has peaked at 10.1 during winter months, leaving less than 2 Mlb/hr for reserves.

While the winter peak is short-lived, Con Ed officials say the heavy seasonal steam use forces them to maintain more reserves. From December to March, steam demand billing will take effect, monitoring use during Con Ed's peak pricing hours, which are weekdays from 6 to 11 a.m.

The new billing will affect SC2 (commercial) and SC3 (residential) customers--customers which consume 22,000 Mlbs or more annually. Con Ed has 300 customers that fall into this new billing group. For example, said Zirkiyev, the Empire State Building counts as one of those 300 users.

While the new billing could cost landlords more (the demand pricing will impact each user differently) to heat their buildings, Zirkiyev says it doesn't have to. The company hopes to encourage more energy consumption trough the initiative. Conservation tips include the following:

Storage of Thermal Energy in Existing Mechanical Systems (STEEMs), which encourages a building management system programmed to reduce on-peak steam demand through the use of stored thermal energy in existing mechanical systems. Zirkiyev noted that this method requires a programmable building management system.

Avoid increased steam demand on cold winter mornings by preheating the building early. By starting the heating system at 4 a.m., as opposed to 6 a.m. (when on-peak billing will begin), use can be cut during Con Ed's hours of heaviest consumption.

Staggering fan start up times in the morning, rather than launching all simultaneously, to reach a set daytime temperature, can also conserve. Building managers can reduce peak use by staggering the fans over a three-hour period.

Avoid raising circulating water temperatures during the on-peak period. Doing so could have adverse affect on steam consumption and winter billing. And, lastly, Con Ed asks building owners to consider reducing the set air temperature at morning startup and keeping those temps low until after 11 a.m
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Author:Turcotte, Jason
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 31, 2007
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