Park City Estates - Case Study

Platinum Energy Group has begun implementation of a submetering system for Park City Estates, a multifamily property in Rego Park, NY managed by Cooper Square Realty.

Once completed, each apartment in the 1,049-unit complex will be assigned an individual meter to monitor its energy usage. Park City Estates previously monitored its energy usage through a common meter for all units with residents paying a predetermined amount for their electricity each month.

Studies have shown as much as 40 percent of a building’s electricity is consumed by 10 percent of its residents. With the implementation of a submetering system, a significant percentage of residents will see a reduction in their energy costs.

“The responsibility for the consumption of electricity in an apartment is being turned over to the residents directly,” says Al Timmes, vice president of Platinum Energy Group’s Lighting and Energy Conservation Division. “They can see their usage, how much electricity is being consumed and adjust their behavior accordingly.”

In pursuing a submetering project, Cooper Square received a benefit through NYSERDA that covers about half the cost of the project. As a result, the project is expected to pay for itself within three years.

“Personally, I believe it’s a great idea,” says Aubrey Phillibert, senior property manager for Cooper Square. “When you have over a 1,000 units, and residents are not aware of their usage and are not paying for their individual usage, they have a tendency to leave their lights on more than they should. Once you start paying your fair share, not only does it make it fair, it lowers the total consumption footprint of the property.”

“Once the meter is installed, initially we see a 20 percent reduction in electric costs for the average tenant. Over a two-year period, that figure will likely rise to about 35 percent.”

Through a series of transponders, each apartment’s meter communicates with the building’s master meter, which records that usage and submits that information to utility’s billing service. Submetering will continue to grow as the technology becomes more mandated and more and more buildings are forced to comply.

“Many are skeptical of submetering. They don’t understand why the utility would do something to benefit them. Why would the utility want to sell less electricity?” says Timmes. “The fact of the matter is they can’t produce enough. With a reduction in usage, the utility now has the opportunity to offer that additional electricity to other resources within the community.”

The system is scheduled to be completed in November.