According to an article in the Albany Business Review, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and green are the key words for electrical contractors working in New York. With the price of fuel and building materials such as copper skyrocketing, contractors must evaluate and, if needed, overhaul, their operational procedures to avoid delays and cost overruns.

The State Energy Research Development Authority offers financial incentives to owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems, so contractors would do well to educate themselves on this technology, said Rehm Casaccio, senior vice president of JMZ Architects and Planners in Glens Falls, N.Y., who also noted the importance of evaluating the insulating benefits of building envelopes and obtaining local materials to reduce shipping costs.

Nick Waer of Dodge Chamberlin Luzine Weber Associates Architects in East Greenbush, N.Y., highlights the use of Web-controlled lighting and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; motion sensors; and dual-fuel heating systems that switch between two fuel sources, depending on the forecast for which fuel will be more economical to use on any given day.  

There is a need to work closely with the state energy research authority to obtain help for clients through FlexTech, which provides funding for studies that identify chances to reduce energy usages, according to Margaret Rudzinski, Clough Harbour Associates’ facilities and energy division principal/resources manager. Subsidies have allowed clients to afford lighting retrofits, boiler replacements and other innovative energy-reducing technologies. There is also the option of performance contracting, under which energy-efficient projects are paid with the resulting energy savings that are guaranteed through a no-cost, no-risk contract between the owner and contractor.               -Information Inc.