The process of producing energy to metropolitan condos and co-ops has dramatically evolved in recent years. It's advanced to the point in which Lewis Kwit, the president of Energy Investment Systems in New York City, makes a relatively accurate—and amusing—comparison. “The old way of using a traditional energy-producing system is like using a chainsaw to cut butter,” he chuckles.
Specifically, though, what are these new energy-producing technologies? Can they save money long-term and short-term, for a co-op, condo or an HOA? How can they be acquired when it seems, quite literally, as if major commercial energy suppliers are the only option available? Some communities are exploring these questions and coming up with solutions that are saving them both energy and money.
David Guralchuk, vice president of the energy division at Falcon Engineering, headquartered in Bridgewater, says that in New Jersey, condominium communities can receive their power from a litany of providers, including PSE&G, JCP&L, Atlantic City Electric, Rockland Electric and Elizabethtown Gas.
“Utility-sourced energy has to travel relatively long distances in order to reach a property,” says Guralchuk. “Because of this, inefficiencies creep in which need to be accounted for, and the burden of payment for said efficiencies falls on the utility customer. As co-generation systems produce electricity on-location, they’re more efficient than having power provided by a third party some distance away. For every 154 units of energy that a utility company uses to produce electricity and thermal energy, only 75 units ultimately reach the customer’s doorstep—a 49 percent efficiency rate.”
“When a co-generation system is used, for every 100 units of energy run through the system, 75 usable units are produced,” Guralchuk continues. “Thus co-generation can be 25 percent more efficient than power derived from a utility company.”