Driving Energy Reduction in a Large, Multifamily Building Portfolio

  • Ron Merhige
  • Fredric Goldner
Keywords: Energy


This article describes the process of significantly reducing the energy consumption within a large portfolio of high-rise residential condos and co-ops in New York City. A first of its kind initiative for residential real estate properties, FS Energy and its parent company, FirstService Corporation, are accomplishing groundbreaking results as they take a multifaceted approach entailing education, benchmarking, analysis, technical expertise, innovative financing solutions, and project execution capacity. This article will also outline the initial results of FS Energy’s solution with select case studies.

Based in New York City and founded in 2009, FS Energy, the energy management and advisory subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, is mandated to create customized energy management strategies for First- Service’s portfolio of residential properties in New York City. FS Energy began this process by becoming the first energy management company to gather energy usage data from a large, multifamily property portfolio of over 450 residential buildings and to use this data to determine customized cost and consumption-reduction initiatives. The established leader in New York City, FS Energy is well on its way to achieving its goal of reducing energy consumption and costs by 25% across FirstService’s New York City portfolio by 2013.

FirstService Corporation is a global, diversified leader in the rapidly growing real estate services sector, providing services in commercial real estate, residential property management, and property services. Affiliated industry-leading service platforms include: Colliers International, the third largest global player in commercial real estate services; FirstService Residential Management, the largest manager of residential communities in North America; and TFC, North America’s largest provider of property services through franchise and contractor networks. FirstService generates more than $2 billion in annualized revenues and has more than 20,000 employees worldwide.

Given the size and the energy footprint of FirstService’s portfolio of properties worldwide, FS Energy’s approach and success in New York City are of global significance. They pave the way to changing the standards for energy management in large, multifamily buildings.


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Author Biographies

Ron Merhige

Ron Merhige, a registered professional engineer and a LEED accredited professional, oversees the management, operations, data analysis, and sales functions of FS Energy while working to ensure client satisfaction. Ron has more than 20 years of experience in creating and implementing energy solutions that meet diverse technical challenges. He earned an M.B.A. from Loyola University and a B.E. from SUNY Maritime College.

FS Energy, 622 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017; 212.634.5495; ron.merhige@fsenergyservices.com.

Fredric Goldner

Fredric Goldner, in his role as principal of EMRA, has worked with FS Energy since its inception and has been responsible for developing the FS Energy’s industry-leading FSdata benchmarking database, which is comprised of years of historical consumption data for hundreds of residential and commercial buildings. In addition to conducting facility audits and use analyses, his extensive research in the area of multifamily building DHW loads and systems resulted in his authoring a new set of DHW sizing guidelines. Fred also is an adjunct professor at the Center for Energy Policy & Research at New York Institute of Technology, and has received numerous awards for his work. Fred was inducted into the Energy Managers Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievement in promoting the practices and principles of energy management. He sits on numerous engineering and industry committees and boards, including the CEM Board, and has served as the international president of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).

Energy Management & Research Associates, Suite 301, 1449 Rose Lane, East Meadow, NY 11554 516.481.1455; fgoldner@emra.com


Mazria, Edward. Architects and Climate Change. American Institute of Architects.



The Building Energy Use Tracking System (BUETS) study done in the late 1980s

examined and analyzed over 900 facilities of different building ages, sizes, HVAC,

construction, and other characteristics in NYC. This study, still one of the most

extensive energy benchmarking studies ever done in the multi-family building sector,

focused the benchmarking primarily on the heating and DHW portion of the

consumption at these sites. FS Data and the BERG scores discussed in this article

examine all energy usage in the subject buildings. The citation for the BUETS study

is as follows:

Goldner, F.S. and P. Judd. Building Energy Usage Tracking System—Final Project

Report. N.Y.C. Department of Housing Preservation and Development—Energy

Conservation Division/New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.

New York. 1989.