Performance Systems Development understood NYSERDA's bureaucracy and was knowledgeable about energy-efficient products. But for all its advantages, the company was based 225 miles away, so Parc Vendome needed a local partner to oversee the day-to-day projects. Finding a New York City partner proved challenging.
"Some of the partners claim to be partners but in reality they have no idea what they're talking about," says Colberg. The enthusiasm was there, but not necessarily the know-how. "I didn't want to be the learning curve," she says.
Since 2011, Parc Vendome has completed $750,000 worth of energy improvement projects, getting half of the money back in NYSERDA rebates. For many of the projects, Colberg has had to play the role of the local project manager, shepherding specs between local vendors and Performance Systems Development. Unlike Con Ed, which suggested local vendors for a Parc Vendome lighting project, NYSERDA does not make vendor recommendations for the buildings that participate in its program.
"That's one of the weaknesses of NYSERDA," says Bradford Winston, who has been president of the board of Parc Vendome for about twenty years. "They gave us information, but they weren't free with providing us with who might be better for us, who is up to date technically."
NYSERDA may not play matchmaker, but it does try to streamline the process. Visitors to the agency's website can narrow down the choices by county, building size and type, and the types of projects the building is considering. With this information, the website delivers a tailored list of potential partners. And the vetting begins here.
Photo by Jennifer Wu.
Adapted from "The Incentive Game" by Ronda Kaysen (Habitat, April 2015).
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