Is Your Building Wasting Energy? Improving the Efficiency of Steam Heating Systems

Steam heating using both single- and two-pipe steam radiators will continue to dominate the heating of a majority of buildings in New York City well into the present century. But how do we determine if an apartment building is energy efficient?

One way is to sum up the amount of oil consumed on an annual basis in the building. An energy efficient apartment building should be using the equivalent of 250 gallons of fuel oil per unit per year, or its natural gas equivalent, to provide heat and hot water to the building. For natural gas, l.387 therms of gas is equivalent in input heat to one gallon of No. 2 fuel oil.

If you are using more than the above amount on an annual basis to provide heat and hot water to your building, you are wasting a considerable amount of energy. I still see buildings in New York City that are using 375 to 550 gallons of fuel oil per year to provide heat and hot water—these buildings are energy guzzlers.

By May l, 2011, private buildings over 50,000 square feet in area must provide annual water and energy benchmarking. Thus, they must determine on an annual basis how much energy is being used in their building.

Things to Consider

There are many reasons why your building may be consuming too much energy. Here are some common problem areas:


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