Two Florida Cities Rank in the Top 25 for ENERGYSTAR

The ENERGY STAR Program, operating out of the US Department of Energy, just released their top 25 cities for energy efficient buildings for 2018 with two major Florida cities claiming a spot. Miami, a veteran on the list since 2012, came in at number 21 while Tampa ranked at number 16 in its first year. To be recognized on this list, Miami certified 106 buildings in 2017 totaling over 23.7 million sqft. and  Tampa certified 154 buildings totaling about 26.3 million sqft. The top two cities of Los Angeles and Washington, DC both had over 660 buildings certified that covered more than 145 million sqft. This is the first time in the lists’ nine year run that two Florida cities have made the list.

ENERGY STAR certified buildings are verified to be more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide and use, on average, 35% less energy than typical buildings.  This has a direct effect of building operations’ budgets and something that Hill York has a proven track record of achieving. Please contact Hill York’s Technical Services Group to get started with an energy efficiency benchmark.

 

Hill York Sets Safety Bar High At Soaring Hard Rock Expansion Project

Everything about the $1.5 billion expansion at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is huge. There’s the 35-story hotel tower shaped like a guitar, the 7,000-seat performance venue, the 141,000 square feet of meeting space, and a Pacific Island-inspired 10-acre lake.

With an undertaking so massive, protecting workers from risk and injury is a task that’s equally large, requiring a vigilance that sometimes even exceeds OSHA standards. Such laser focus comes naturally to Hill York, whose allout commitment to safety has evaluated risk avoidance practices at the project site and drawn praise from the Hard Rock expansion’s general contractor Suffolk-Yates.

“Our journey as a safety-focused company has been a growth experience of profound cultural impact,” observed Jeff  Phillabaum, Hill York President. “The #SafetyCHAMP program we launched in 2014 has taken us from the repetitious mastering of practices and procedures to instinctively making smart safety choices in all work situations and activities. It has become a core part of who we are that’s always at the forefront of our thoughts, words and actions.”

Hired as the HVAC contractor for several phases of the Hard Rock project, Hill York quickly activated its OSHA-educated, #SafetyCHAMP-enhanced safety practices. Each day Hill York projects begin with a team huddle to review the planed work and secure the job site. Equipment and site conditions are inspected and the availability of needed materials and protective equipment is confirmed.

In continuing Hill York’s emphasis on enhancing procedures to reduce incidents and injuries, other measures go above and beyond OSHA regulations. A daily Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is completed by the project superintendent and available for crew members to verify safe performance requirements for scheduled tasks. Equipment inspections are done daily and the corresponding reports are kept at the scene for timely review. A weekly meeting considers key aspects of the work involved for each active job and identifies the equipment, precautions and manpower necessary to perform safely.

“For a complex design-and-build project like the Hard Rock expansion, protecting everyone from accidents and injuries needs to be a top priority,” noted Phillabaum. “It’s a credit to our #SafetyCHAMP program and the Hill Yorkers who’ve made it a way of life that we’re able to play a lead role in this important area and inspire those around us to adopt a safety-first mindset.”

The Hill York team for the Hard Rock project is proud to be recognized for adhering to the highest standards while serving as an example of how to do safety the correct way.

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Hill York Ranked Among Best Places To Work By South Florida Business Journal

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – (February 26, 2018) – Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal. The third-generation family-run firm was part of SFBJ’s Large Companies category featuring businesses with 100 or more employees.

“From our office-based staff to our technicians out in the field, this recognition is a tribute to the special bond we all feel as a close-knit team that grows and prospers together,” said CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty. “We’re proud that, for many who join Hill York, what starts out as a job becomes a career calling to be a Hill Yorker for life.”

The Business Journal compiles an annual list of top companies by asking employees across South Florida why their employers should be named one of the Best Places to Work. Participants are asked to fill out confidential online surveys rating companies in a program developed by Quantum Workplace.

“The Best Places To Work honor reflects the consensus here that it’s an exciting time to be a Hill Yorker,” noted HR Director Monique Estevez. “Along with a performance-based culture that features annual reviews and rewards for meeting individual and department goals, we truly are a work family that takes care of each other and celebrates our successes as a leader in our  industry.”

Hill York is a full-service commercial air conditioning company providing energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Hill York’s HYStat Monitoring Helps ANF Group, Inc. Enjoy Surprise-Free A/C

ANF-Group-ArticleAs one of South Florida’s leading general contracting and construction management companies, ANF Group, Inc., has more pressing things to think about than their own air conditioning system. So when Hill York told this longtime industry partner about the benefits of HYStat smart technology monitoring, ANF saw a chance to put their cooling system on cruise control.

Now, a year after the install, the promise of predictive, data-based A/C monitoring has more than lived up to its potential. The  installation of four HYStat thermostats on the rooftop package units of ANF Group’s Davie headquarters has stabilized performance, maximized energy management, and taken surprises out of the equation.

“From an information and communication point of view, HYStat has empowered us to stay a step ahead of cooling system issues and basic preventative maintenance,” said ANF Group, Inc. Contract Administrator Viki Moore. “With real-time data notifications from both the program and our contacts at Hill York, we’re never left in the dark about system performance, utility costs, or even when it’s time to change the filters.”

According to Hill York Senior Analyst Chris Hamilton, ANF Group, Inc’s monitoring and service upgrade to HYStat from a traditional maintenance contract has been a study in data-driven peace of mind.

“ANF’s rooftop systems are seven years old – more than halfway through the normal lifecycle,” he observed. “It’s reassuring to see that the key data confirms the equipment performance, runtime, and physical condition are all on track and going strong. If anything  changes down the line, they’ll be able to plan smart maintenance and capital decisions with the data provided.” Until then, ANF Group, Inc. is happy to enjoy the surprise-free comfort and control that HYStat’s analytical power makes possible. After all, when you’re out building some of South Florida’s most prominent education and healthcare facilities, it’s nice to know you have the perfect climate for cooling off back at the office.

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Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Florida

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to look at the projects that need to be accomplished at your home and business. When making decisions on which projects you complete and how you are going to pay for them, don’t forget to look into clean energy financing as one of your options.

In the tri-county area of South Florida, we have the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program available to us. Through property-based financing, PACE Florida alleviates the financial hurdles facing owners wanting to make sustainable upgrades to their property. Below are the top 3 reasons why the PACE program might be for you.

Zero Cost Upfront: The upfront costs of sustainability projects like energy efficiency, renewable energy, or wind mitigation can be daunting and limiting. PACE was created to remove that upfront cost barrier and allow anyone to make positive changes to their businesses and homes. The private lender pays the initial cost of the projects, which is then repaid over a 5-25 year period as a line item on your property taxes. In order to qualify with Ygrene, one of the PACE program lenders, you need:

  • 10% equity in your home,
  • To be current on your mortgage payments,
  • Not currently be in bankruptcy, and
  • To have not been late on your property taxes in the last three years.

Hundreds of Projects: Selecting projects to tackle through PACE financing can be a difficult decision because there are so many possible improvements to choose from. Examples of qualifying projects are high efficiency air conditioners, kitchen appliances, and LED lighting as well as new roofing, hurricane impact windows, insulation, solar panels, and water efficient fixtures and landscaping.

More Savings: The most tangible benefits that come from completing a sustainability project through PACE are how easy they are to complete, they raise your property’s value, lower utility bills, and reduce your insurance costs. In some cases, the savings you receive from updating your home or business will more than make up the amount of the loan attached to your property taxes. Every month that you have new, more energy efficient equipment is more money to be used how you see fit. In addition, because these upgrades mitigate risk to your home or business, you can see reductions in your insurance.

There are many ways to fund green and energy efficient projects. Having the PACE program available to use in South Florida is one of the best ways to make investments into your property and your pocket book.  For more information visit one of the local PACE program lenders or the Florida PACE informational site.

Buildings ‘get smart’ to improve comfort, save money, and reduce energy use

Today’s economy is one run by consumers and participants having unlimited information at their fingertips at all times.  This on-demand economy has brought smart technology and data analytics into all facets of business today.  The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released a report discussing how smart buildings upgrades are catching up to this new trend.  Among many other findings, they spoke to the energy saving potential that the South region of the United States has when it comes to smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for commercial buildings.

Making much more data and information available to a building operator is driving efficiency in large and small buildings all over the country.  Whereas a smart building with integrated systems can realize 30-50% savings, individual components can be added to small and medium businesses and save 5-15% with little money upfront.  HVAC technologies like smart thermostats, sensors, variable frequency drives, and cloud based energy information systems have huge potential for savings in Florida where HVAC use in commercial buildings accounts for over 50% of electricity consumption, which is significantly above the national average. A study referenced in the ACEEE report proved that rooftop package units installed with smart thermostat controls, multi-fan speeds, and demand control ventilation can save approximately 50% in electricity savings.

With the addition of the aforementioned smart controllers and sensors, real time data analytics can give visibility to a unit’s operating efficiency by the minute.  This advanced assessment of a building gives the operator an unprecedented look into run-time and efficiency so that nothing is wasted.  Hill York has been working with these new smart building solutions for more than 8 years with our Alerton and HYStat controls for large and small commercial buildings, respectively.  Seeing reports from the country’s leading energy efficiency minds further validates what Hill York has been advocating for years; smarter buildings make efficient buildings, which fuel smart businesses.

 

8 Ways to Leverage Your FPL Account

Some of the best resources to help businesses save money and energy are through the utility companies; and Florida has a shining example with Florida Power & Light (FPL).  Two reasons to take advantage of such programs are the energy savings and the fact that, as a ratepayer, you are helping fund the programs through fees on your utility bills. Since you are already paying for rebates, why not make sure that you reap the energy savings benefits? Below are the top 8 programs and rebates that you can implement in your business through Florida Power & Light.

Business Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program

Replace your existing A/C unit or chiller with a qualifying, high-efficiency system and receive a rebate check from FPL. In addition to your rebate savings, the new systems will be more energy efficient and save you money; it literally pays for itself.

Demand Control Ventilation (DCV)

Control your building’s ventilation based off of occupancy to save your business energy and improve indoor air quality at the same time. Installation of a DCV sensor allows your building to adjust the amount of fresh air you are letting in depending on the occupancy, making sure your building is as efficient and cost saving as possible.

Business Custom Incentives (BCI)

An organization or business can upgrade their business equipment to be more energy efficient and receive a check from FPL. Upgrades that save over 25 kWh and meets other requirements detailed here, will qualify for the check and save money.

Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

Storing energy at night relieves energy demand during the day and helps FPL maintain the grid so they incentivise this. Using a TES system also reduces the runtime of your systems, which increases their lifespan and efficiency. Hill York successfully implemented one of the largest ice storage facilities in the United States at Nova Southeastern University central energy plant.

Commercial Demand Reduction Program

By adding a load management device to HVAC systems, businesses can receive a monthly rebate. This device will, in the event of high demand times for the utility, turn your system off and on to help reduce the overall load on the energy grid.

On Call® Program

Similar to the Commercial Demand Reduction Program, the On Call program will occasionally shut off your HVAC system during peak months to reduce the load on the grid. You can save $2 per ton on systems that are enrolled.

Power Monitoring Service

When the power goes out, it can be costly for your business.  FPL helps you minimize that costly down-time by continually monitoring your business for any power interruptions through a small device that immediately notifies the utility. Check out the FPL’s website for several case studies.

Business Energy Evaluation Plan

An FPL “Energy Expert” can help customize an energy savings plan for your business’ specific needs. This energy evaluation will look at everything from your lighting systems to your HVAC to your building envelope in order to find a plan that will best fit your needs.

These are just some of the savings opportunities through FPL that enable you to invest in what’s really important to your business. Hill York has a dedicated personnel team that can facilitate these rebates and better help you save money, energy, and time.  In order to learn more about these programs or find out specifics about qualifications, please visit this brochure page or contact one of our knowledgeable Hill York Team members.

New Florida Building Codes in Effect

It is now July of 2015, which means that the fifth edition of the Florida building Code is now in effect. The updated codes are now mandatory for all new construction or rehabilitation projects that will result in safer, more sustainable buildings and homes. You can read through all the new Florida Building Codes, 5th Edition here, but I will attempt to summarize some key changes in the Energy Code.

Before specifically stating the prevalent changes the Energy Code, the changes will increase capital costs, increase soft costs, decrease operational costs, dampen utility infrastructure demand, and improve asset value retention. This essentially means that a little more upfront cost goes a long way to improving sustainability of valuable infrastructure and improving value.

The new Energy Code now requires buildings to be 19% more efficient than the current compliant building and commissioning is now required for lighting controls and hvac systems over 40 tons. These changes will require a larger focus on sustainable development by thinking through whole building efficiency as well as individual system efficiencies. This change is in line with the trends that we’ve been seeing throughout the industry that Hill York is already ahead of. You can read about those trends here and here.

Cities Set New ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Requirements

As I referenced in a post earlier this week, business driven markets and government policy go hand in hand with Energy Solutions. With the consistent trend toward long-lasting infrastructure improvements and smarter buildings in most industries across the country, it’s no wonder why we see government policy working to accelerate the savings of both money and energy.

Government regulation can be on a macro (federal) level between countries and a micro (city) level, like the movements we are seeing today. Cities across the nation are adopting policies requiring building owners to benchmark and publicly report on their energy use through ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager.

Adding to the list of 17 in the past months, Portland, Atlanta, and Berkeley join cities like New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Denver, and Philadelphia as municipalities that are making it easy for Energy Solutions to be implemented. It’s only a matter of time before Florida cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville enact policies that require ENERGY STAR Benchmarking. When they do, Hill York will be there as an ENERGY STAR Partner with over 6 years experience and a Portfolio of over 100 buildings benchmarked already.

Leveraging the Market and Government Policy

The private sector has been driving energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction as a part of a sustainability movement for the past 10 years. Companies and industries such as Microsoft and Coca Cola, and many more, now release sustainability reports so that consumers can see everything that they are doing to help reduce the impact made by their product or service. Apart from the private sector, governments are now pushing the sustainability movement even further with new goals to reach and a plan on how to get there.

In November of 2014, the Obama administration announced a joint sustainability venture with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2005 levels in the United States by 2025 and to peak carbon emissions by 2030 in China. In late March, the United States submitted its plan to achieve such reduction in greenhouse gases that included reducing building sector emissions and four other actions. One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was the utilization of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to benchmark buildings and drive efficiency through building upgrades and efficient appliances. Other possible ways to achieve this is offering federal rebates for efficiency upgrades or grants on both the state and federal level.

What does this mean for Hill York, a company at the forefront of efficiency in Florida? It means that while we have been operating on a market driven wave of efficiency, we can leverage new sustainability goals by the US to bring Energy Solutions throughout the state. Hill York is already using Portfolio Manager and has benchmarked many facilities that have grown into large-scale efficiency projects. We also recently secured two Energy Solutions jobs by leveraging state grant money to improve energy efficiency; a perfect example of keeping up with all the tools at our disposal. Read, download, and print the press release here. Our business is driven by both the “invisible hand” of the market as well as government policy, and staying on top of both has put Hill York at the front of the industry.