New Exhibit Demystifies Building Energy Efficiency

The Building Energy Exchange celebrates the grand opening of their groundbreaking new exhibit, ‘Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building.’  On view at their downtown Manhattan center of excellence, the exhibit features engaging cross-section illustrations of New York City buildings, revealing their hidden systems and how they use – and often overuse – energy. Energy used in buildings accounts for roughly 70% of total New York City carbon emissions and the ‘Anatomy’ exhibit showcases solutions for residential and commercial buildings to help New Yorkers drive down energy use, reduce costs, and meet the City’s climate action goals.

Costa Constantinides, Council Member for the 22nd District and Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, New York City Council, Janet Joseph, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Market Development, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and Mark Chambers, Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will provide remarks along with other officials and industry leaders at the exhibit’s grand opening on January 29, 2020, at the Building Energy Exchange.


On January 29, 2020, the Building Energy Exchange (BE-Ex), New York City’s high-performance building center of excellence, celebrates the launch of their newest exhibit, Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building. Funded in part by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through a Cleaner, Greener, Communities grant received in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the exhibit reveals how common building systems use energy, identifies major opportunities to enhance the performance of these systems, and guides visitors to the tools and resources they need to get started with their own building improvement projects.

The exhibit content is organized around six key building systems—heating, cooling, ventilation, and domestic hot water, along with lighting and plug loads, and the building envelope. The exhibit provides insight into how each system impacts performance and comfort in residential and commercial buildings, and showcases strategies that improve energy efficiency, comfort, and aesthetics—reducing operating costs, and helping building owners meet New York City’s climate action targets.

“We’re thrilled to unveil the Anatomy exhibit after many months of hard work by our dedicated team and esteemed advisory board,” said Richard Yancey, FAIA, LEED AP, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange. “Our exhibit reveals the building systems we use to condition our air, heat our water, and light our spaces, and explains their profound impact, not only on our interior comfort, health, and finances, but also on our global climate. This important new resource graphically explains these linkages, and, most importantly, arms building decision-makers with clear steps and actions to build a more sustainable and resilient built environment.”

Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building is designed for building decision-makers of all types— including owners, developers, financers, design and engineering professionals, facilities managers, and residents.  The displays provide digestible, actionable guidance on a wide variety of building improvement solutions, ranging from simple maintenance measures to cutting-edge technology installations.

“BE-Ex continues to provide first-rate educational resources that explain building energy efficiency concepts and connect building industry stakeholders with innovative solutions. The launch of this exhibit comes at an opportune time, as new City climate action objectives require building owners to reduce energy use and lower their emissions. Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building will be a valuable resource to help the industry navigate the changing landscape of climate policy, building codes, and technical solutions,” said Jonathan Flaherty, Senior Director, Sustainability and Utilities, Tishman Speyer, and Chair, Building Energy Exchange Board of Directors.

The exhibit launch will feature New York City Council member and Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, Costa Constantinides, Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Mark Chambers, and Vice President of NYSERDA, Janet Joseph. Event attendees will include distinguished leaders from the City, State and private sector.

“Buildings are New York City’s biggest source of carbon emissions, and a monumental frontier in our fight against climate change,” said Mark Chambers, Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “This incredible exhibit will open the imagination of New Yorkers to how we can retrofit our buildings and truly benefit from a more sustainable and resilient built environment.”

The Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building exhibit opens at a critical moment, just as buildings are taking center stage in New York climate policy. Buildings are New York City’s single largest opportunity to flight climate change, responsible for nearly 70% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic energy efficiency improvements to buildings can dramatically reduce city-wide emissions and transform our city for a healthier, more resilient, and greener future.

“The Climate Mobilization Act will make New York City’s buildings significantly more energy efficient in the next decade, as we kick off a green energy revolution here in the Big Apple,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and author of Local Law 97 of 2019. “I am thrilled to take part in the launch of the Building Energy Exchange’s Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building. This exhibit will demonstrate how the City’s worst-emitting buildings can meet the ambitious, tangible goals to shrink their collective carbon footprint 40 percent by 2030.”

In 2019, both New York City and State passed historic climate action legislation that include net-zero emissions targets – the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA) and Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), respectively. Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building is the most recent in a host of resources and programming developed by BE-Ex, arriving as the organization celebrates their 10th year anniversary. Building on their decade-long achievements, Building Energy Exchange developed Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building to educate building decision makers and showcase strategies and tools that can help them comply with the ambitious mandates outlined in both the CMA and CLCPA.

Janet Joseph, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Market Development, NYSERDA, said, “Lowering carbon emissions and enhancing energy efficiency in buildings are cornerstones in meeting New York State’s energy and climate targets under Governer Cuomo. NYSERDA is proud to partner with the Building Energy Exchange on this exhibit that provides actionable guidance to advance upgrades and practices that help save energy, reduce costs, and improve livability for occupants.”

Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building was developed by the Building Energy Exchange with guidance from an advisory group of industry experts from NYSERDA, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Architecture Research Office, Bright Power, Code Green Solutions, Dagher Engineering, and Steven Winter Associates. The exhibit’s graphics were created by Might Could.

“Congratulations to the Building Energy Exchange on their new exhibit— an illuminating display that connects the dots between our buildings, the energy we use, and our climate impact. This is a timely and valuable resource for both the building industry and the general public, providing actionable information on building technologies and best practices that can reduce emissions and enhance quality of life for New Yorkers,” said Donna De Costanzo, Director, Eastern Region, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council and Vice Chair, Building Energy Exchange Board of Directors.

The Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building exhibit will be on view through December 2023. The permanent exhibit will be accompanied by temporary, rotating showcases throughout the year that provide a closer look at individual building systems and allow visitors to get a hands-on look at the latest technologies.

“Congratulations to the Building Energy Exchange on the opening of Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building. This exhibit will increase public awareness about innovations and best practices by our members to make buildings more sustainable. We want to thank everyone who worked on this opportunity for our community to showcase the important work being done to make New York City’s world class buildings among the most efficient in the world,” said James Whelan, President, The Real Estate Board of New York.

Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building follows Building Energy Exchange’s Celebrate NYC: Building a Sustainable City, an exhibit in partnership with National Grid, celebrating the leadership of the New York City real estate community in advancing building energy efficiency and effective climate action.

Additional BE-Ex programming will include the highly popular Climate Mobilization Act Series, the WISE (Women in Sustainability & Energy) series, the Buildings of Excellence Series, and the Daylight Hour campaign, a global social media engagement campaign that raises awareness about using daylight in lieu of electric lighting in offices.

BE-Ex is an independent non-profit organization accelerating the transition to healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient buildings by serving as a resource and trusted expert to the building industry.

BE-Ex plays a central role in the climate action plans of New York City and State through the development of education, exhibits, and tools for building decision-makers. BE-Ex is made possible by support from NYSERDA, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the Mayor’s Office, and private sector supporters, working together to forward energy efficiency and climate action in the building sector. As a resource and trusted expert to building decision-makers, including owners and managers, engineers, design practitioners, contractors, policymakers, financers, and more, BE-Ex has attracted over 27,000 visitors to nearly 900 programs since the opening of its resource center.

“AIANY is a proud partner and frequent collaborator of the Building Energy Exchange, whose decade-long operation spans a wide breadth of programs and resources at the intersection of architecture and sustainability. The Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building exhibit is a critical milestone in their journey, providing a physical frame of reference for architects to design high-performing buildings and reach the City’s ambitious carbon reduction goals,” said Kim Yao, AIA, President, AIANY.

In addition to occupying a central role in climate action for New York, BE-Ex has been designated by the United Nations as an International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Buildings, the first in a network of similar resource centers being developed around the world. Through this network, BE-Ex shares resources, live-streams educational programming and convenes knowledge sharing sessions. The Zero Energy Building Exchange in Vancouver, BC, Canada has been a frequent collaborator with BE-Ex. In Washington, DC., the Department of Energy has approved funding for their own high-performance building hub, with BE-Ex supporting the DC-based Institute for Market Transformation in its development, while Pittsburgh is the most recent US city to join the UN’s Center of Excellence network.

“This exhibit shows that New York City’s unique building stock holds great potential for energy savings that can help create a sustainable future for generations to come,” said Vicki Kuo, Vice President, Energy Efficiency and Distributed Resource Planning, Con Edison. “Energy efficiency and smart design can play dramatic roles in helping to reduce emissions.”

“Building Energy Exchange is a critically important organization that has made an impact on the environment and local communities through their innovation, insightful studies, and educational forums. As a proud sponsor and supporter, National Grid congratulates BE-Ex on the launch of their Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building exhibit, a landmark event which underscores their commitment to fostering a sustainable and resilient energy future,” said Louis Rizzo, Energy Solutions Manager, National Grid and Building Energy Exchange Board Member.

“Building Energy Exchange’s new exhibit, revealing how buildings use — and can save — energy, comes at a critical time for our city,” said Jin Jin Huang, CEM, LEED AP, President, ASHRAE New York Chapter. Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building will provide ASHRAE NY’s clients and community with valuable lessons and clear pathways for reducing fossil fuel consumption while improving occupant comfort.  We are thrilled to be a partner of BE-Ex, collaborating on critical educational programs and resources that benefit our built environment.”

“We’ve clothed the language of climate change in the raiments of ‘crisis’ and ’emergency,’ making it easy to forget that it offers an exciting opportunity to redress and redesign our entire built environment to better align with the beauty and wonder of the natural world. This is the industry transformation we’re actively nurturing. To this end, NAPHN is delighted to support another outstanding BE-Ex exhibit, uncovering previously hidden secrets within the anatomy of buildings. Who knew energy efficiency could be quite so enticing?” said Bronwyn Barry, RA, CPHD, Board President, NAPHN.

“The Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building exhibit will help increase our ability to understand the broader message of building efficiency beyond lighting.  The exhibit’s valuable lessons, compelling graphics, and resources will help IESNYC section members in broadly addressing building energy efficiency. Our members, and the greater NYC lighting community will benefit from this pioneering exhibit of the Building Energy Exchange, whose collaborative partnership with IESNYC has been such a success,” said Mike Barr, President, IESNYC.

In addition to the City and State leaders described above, key supporters of the Building Energy Exchange include: ASHRAE New York Chapter, Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Section (IESNYC), Tishman Speyer, National Grid, Con Edison, North American Passive House Network (NAPHN), Willdan, SL Green Realty Corp., The Durst Organization, Bloomberg LP, Brookfield Properties, Rockwool, Goldman Sachs, Vornado Realty Trust, Real Estate Board of New York, Natural Resources Defense Council, MechoSystems, Rudin Management Company, Inc., and others.


Yetsuh Frank

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