Drum Hill Senior Living Community, a 120-unit independent living facility located in Peekskill, NY, recently received $72K in rebates from Con Edison for upgrades and improvements to its building’s HVAC system and lighting controls. In a prime example of the private and public sectors successfully working together to solve an issue, Drum Hill collaborated with Con Edison and strategic energy partners, Atlantic Westchester and Bright Energy Services, to create a more comfortable living environment for the building’s residents. The two-year energy efficiency project evaluated energy use, costs and maintenance issues of the aging infrastructure and made updates to the building’s heating, cooling and lighting systems. Drum Hill received significant upgrades and improvements without interrupting daily life in the facility.
Built in 1909 as a school and renovated in 1999, the 122,018 square foot building was facing a $50,000 -$60,000 repair bill for its antiquated cast iron boiler that had leaking sections and was slated for repair or replacement. “In addition to the cost of repairs and inefficiency, we never knew if the boiler would remain reliable,” said Jeanine Baney, Finance Director at Drum Hill Senior Living Community. “Luckily, we never had a serious issue, but with a senior population, it’s always critical that the heating and cooling systems are properly functioning.”
Atlantic Westchester created a plan to replace Drum Hill’s boiler with two new high efficiency condensing style gas boilers and replace the oversized chillers. Variable frequency drive technology was applied to existing pumps thereby reducing energy use and extending motor life within the HVAC system.
“It’s great that Drum Hill was able to leverage utility incentives and low cost financing to upgrade their facility – they got a 17% discount from the overall investment cost and the project will pay for itself in savings before the equipment life cycle expires,” states Bud Hammer, President of Atlantic Westchester. He continues, “The new equipment also helps to increase the building’s value, reliability and operating efficiency. Drum Hill’s management understood the direct and indirect benefits of an energy efficiency retrofit and they were a pleasure to deal with… A true win-win project for everyone involved!”
At the same time, Bright Energy Services conducted a lighting audit, performed an energy analysis and specified a lighting solution that was appropriate for the facility and eligible for a financial incentive from Con Edison. Fluorescent and incandescent lighting were replaced with high-quality, energy efficient LED technology. Bonnie Hagen, Chief Operating Officer of Bright Energy Services explained, “This was not just a regular one-for-one light fixture swap geared towards reducing electric usage. Besides the significant annual energy savings and annual energy bill reduction, the lights were carefully designed to meet the needs of the senior population residing there.” Hagen further explained that “As people age, their eyes become more sensitive to glare, uniformity, and light levels. Proper lighting is critical to enhance the visual experience and keep seniors safe. Striking the perfect balance between energy savings, cost savings, and ambient light was a critical component of this project.”
The project was completed in December 2016 and included a total of $429,000 in energy upgrades. The project was financed through the Energize NY PACE program which offers a low interest rate of 3.14% and gets paid back through the property tax bill out of the energy savings. Atlantic Westchester and Bright Energy Services also collaborated with Con Edison’s energy engineers to calculate the energy savings from all the metrics and helped procure approximately $72,000 in incentive money to help supplement the cost of the upgrades for Drum Hill. Combined, the HVAC and lighting upgrades are estimated to save Drum Hill approximately $28,633 per year in operating costs.