Full Title: Clanging Pipes and Open Windows: Upgrading the NYC Steam Systems for the 21st Century
Author(s): Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) and Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Publisher(s): Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) and Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Publication Date: 11/2015

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Description (excerpt):

This report highlights best practices to make steam heating systems in NYC’s multifamily stock significantly more energy efficient, thus reducing this important building sector’s oil and gas usage. The bottom line is that no single measure can maximize a steam system’s efficiency – a comprehensive approach must be taken. And the gains are significant. If we appropriately repair and upgrade steam heating systems in larger multifamily buildings, owners could save $147 million annually inheating and maintenance bills. In addition, 312,000 tons of carbon emissions could be avoided.

A DINOSAUR IN THE BASEMENT. Our steam heating systems were designed for that distant era when we burned coal to power our boilers. While coal has long been replaced by oil and natural gas, most of NYC’s heating systems were never appropriately modified because energy was cheap at the time of transition. Although energy costs are no longer low, few stakeholders in the multifamily building sector are cognizant of the potential benefits from repairing and 2

EVALUATING STEAM RETROFIT STRATEGIES IN NYC upgrading steam heating systems. Nor do they have a roadmap for how to proceed. This report explains the design and operation of steam systems, the causes of their inefficiencies and shortcomings, and technical strategies for addressing these issues. We describe a comprehensive approach that can be applied to any steam-heated building to optimize cost, comfort, and carbon performance. Though not complex, these solutions do require attention to detail, communications with residents, and buy-in from maintenance staff.