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“The most powerful force for changing people’s norms is not whether you pay them, or whether you penalize them, it is whether you talk to them.” – Atul Gawande, doctor, Harvard professor, author, and writer for the New Yorker.

As part of our Earth Week celebration, we’re talking to the Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) to find out why they became energy conscious and how their innovative technology is helping make a positive impact on our environment today.

The Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) is both a place and an objective.


“We deliver our own programming on energy efficiency while also providing a neutral setting for the exchange of ideas and progressive discourse,” BEEx Executive Director Richard Yancey said.

This makes their latest demonstration project a great, multi-faceted approach. BEEx is installing two “Living Labs” advanced lighting controls demonstration projects in office towers in New York City to better understand and communicate their technical performance. The case study focuses on the need for building owners and designers to consider the impact lighting has on energy consumption and cost, using innovative ideas to study advanced lighting implementation, and determines best practices for large scale daylighting technology deployment.

“Working with our partners at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, we secured the commitment of Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to deploy advanced lighting, daylighting, and shading systems on one occupied floor of each of these companies’ flagship NYC office towers,” Yancey said.

The anticipated benefits of these upgrades are a 70% total lighting energy savings, along with 60% peak period lighting energy reduction, and improved function, resiliency, and employee workspaces. The outcome regarding the technology, process, and costs will then be disseminated to the greater real estate market.

These findings will translate to improved energy efficiency by learning about the barriers and opportunities to implementing these energy saving technologies; and BEEx will be transferring this knowledge to industry decision-makers.

A focus on technology and business innovation has become a key part of the direction NYSERDA is taking through the Clean Energy Fund. The goal is to accelerate the pace of innovation by continuing to invest in research and development, like the Living Labs that BEEx has implemented. These types of projects will create a strong path-to-market for clean energy technologies.

Furthermore, technology and innovative ideas focusing on energy efficiency just makes sense. With New York State and New York City goals to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, finding ways to achieve these goals is paramount for the real estate market.

“Energy Efficiency is the low hanging fruit, the “first fuel,” and cheapest option for reducing carbon emissions, while also improving the quality of our built environment; where we work, sleep, eat and play,” Yancey said.