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New Rooftop Exhaust Fans Save Future Condominium $24,000 Annually in Energy Costs

Emily Myers in Bricks & Bucks

Kips Bay

New Rooftop Exhaust Fans Save Future Condominium $24,000 Annually in Energy Costs

Con Edison incentives covered 70% of the cost for the new fans, lowering the price tag for the condominium from $120,000 to $38,000. (Photo courtesy Rains Energy)

Ultra-efficient rooftop exhaust fans at The Future Condominium are helping the 165-unit building in Kips Bay save $24,000 in annual energy costs. Replacing the building’s decade-old exhaust fans with more than a dozen newer models was a no-brainer for the board, especially as Con Edison incentives covered 70% of the $120,000 project cost. “This money is not going to be available for ever,” says AKAM resident manager, Marat Olfir. The subsidy lowered the price tag for the building to $38,000.

The energy savings are coming from the ability to adjust the motor speeds on the fans, an integral component for proper ventilation. “Some spaces are over exhausted and others are under exhausted, but having speed controls allows the building to increase or decrease the exhaust as needed,” says Brendan Rains, president of Rains Energy, the company that carried out the work. Prior to the change, the exhaust fans at the 35-story condo were running at 100% speed all the time.

Rooftop exhaust fans take air from kitchens, bathrooms and the building’s common areas. Not only do the new exhaust fans save the building energy but the new models are designed without fan belts, which often break. Olfir says this will hopefully lower maintenance costs for the condo. “The belts won’t have to be lubricated, repaired or changed,” he says. Indeed, Rains estimates the lifetime savings for the project, on both energy and maintenance, could be as much as $500,000. The operation of the new fans is also much quieter, a bonus for residents who like to sunbathe on the roof. 

The building also has two commercial units — a parking garage and a Trader Joe's supermarket. “Those two commercial units affect the building’s energy use overall,” says board president Mike Lippa. Garage exhaust fans must be on 24-hours a day due to the risks associated with carbon monoxide, but monitoring gas levels allows the fans to be turned down and even off. “That’s a big energy saver,” explains Rains, adding that AKAM helped negotiate the installation of variable speed drives for the commercial entities.

The fan upgrades at the condo, which has an A energy efficiency grade, are one of a number of building-wide initiatives to reduce energy costs. This includes boiler and window upgrades and active participation in demand-response events. Last year, the building lowered its energy use during three peak demand events, and through a partnership with Con Edison and the climate technology firm Logical Buildings earned a check for $8,408. 

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