The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute and CUNY’s Building Performance Lab Launch Online “Building Performance Toolkit”

June 15, 2011 | Baruch College

Baruch College’s Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute and CUNY’s Building Performance Lab will formally launch a new web site at an event on June 21st from 9am – 11am at the Newman Institute.  The “Building Performance Toolkit” web site is designed to help commercial property owners and managers achieve sustainability goals – and do so cost effectively. The Toolkit can be previewed at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/realestate/sustainability/building-performance-toolkit/index.html.

The site was developed jointly by the Institute and the Lab, with guidance from an influential stakeholder group that they co-sponsor, the New York City Building Performance Stakeholder Consortium. Support for the project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The Toolkit project’s primary aim is to equip users with the knowledge they need to comply with New York City’s Greener Greater Buildings Plan, which requires greater energy efficiency in building operations. Among many energy-related topics covered by the Toolkit are benchmarking and audits of energy use, retro-commissioning and retrofitting, and financing and incentives for energy retrofits. The Toolkit addresses other sustainability features, as well, including indoor air quality, waste and recycling, and water use.

Jack S. Nyman, Director of the Newman Institute, observes that the Toolkit is one of many sustainability initiatives undertaken jointly and separately by the Institute and the Building Performance Lab. He credits the NYC Building Performance Stakeholder Consortium as an important source of the effectiveness of these initiatives. “The Consortium is a unique cross-section of the city’s leading property owners and managers, public agencies, NGOs, utilities, and other parties,” Nyman points out. “Their input grounds our work in marketplace realities and helps make us responsive to them.”

Nyman points out that the new Toolkit web site will not only be useful in its own right; it will eventually serve as a portal to the online energy efficiency curriculum that the Institute and Lab are now developing under a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE), with additional funding from NYSERDA. That curriculum will serve commercial property owners and managers nationwide.

At present, the Institute’s classroom-based instruction includes a certificate in sustainability, and it includes sustainability in many of its other certificate programs. It also conducts research into many sustainability issues. And its acclaimed Sustainability Shoptalk series of public events has explored compliance with New York City’s green building code, the energy-water nexus, green leasing, and other issues of wide importance. The Building Performance Lab works to reduce the carbon footprint of NYC’s buildings and to develop a workforce to manage those buildings for peak performance.

Attendees of the event will be given a tour of the site and will hear from some of the stakeholders who contributed to its development. Rabi Kieber, U.S. EPA Region 2 Green Building/Sustainability Coordinator, and Clararose Voight, an Assistant Project Manager in NYSERDA’s NYC office, will speak at the event.

Attendees will also be invited to comment on the Toolkit – a point central to the concept behind it. As Michael Bobker, Director of the Building Performance Lab, points out, “This site is intended as an ongoing collaboration. For it to deliver practical information tailored to users’ real-world needs, direct feedback from users is indispensable.” Bobker also stresses that the content of the site will evolve as new technologies and best practices emerge and as the regulatory framework for energy use is modified. “The site will always be a work in progress,” he notes.

Nyman adds that the online energy-efficiency curriculum being developed for US DOE will facilitate interaction between instructors and students, a feature that will steadily refine course content. “We believe,” he concludes, “that what our team learns from multiple sources – our Consortium, Toolkit collaborations, our interactive DOE curriculum, the Lab’s own work, and the Institute’s research and Sustainability Shoptalk events – will constitute a unique resource that will steadily grow in value, significantly boosting building performance nationwide over many years to come.”

For more about the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/realestate/index.html.

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About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. Through its three schools—the School of Public Affairs; the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; and the Zicklin School of Business, the largest AACSB-accredited business school in the nation—Baruch College offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees that reflect the college’s foundation in the liberal arts and its strong focus on management and public affairs. Baruch College dates back more than 160 years to the founding in 1847 of the Free Academy, the first free public college in the nation. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world.

Contact:    Jack Nyman,

The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute

646-660-6950

Jack.nyman@baruch.cuny.edu