Benchmarking, Feedback, and Behavior Change for Commercial Office Building Tenants

Research Focus

Buildings

Primary Subject Area

Energy and Sustainability

Tenant spaces in commercial office buildings are responsible for up to, and in some cases more than, 50% of a building’s total energy consumption (U.S. Department of Energy). Individual tenants lack the tools and systems available to whole buildings owners and managers – such as EPA Portfolio Manager and a range of Building Energy Management Systems – that enable them to effectively measure and benchmark relative energy performance. Previous studies have shown in the residential context that energy use information and comparative feedback induce modest changes in consumption patterns (Katzev, Cooper, and Fisher 1980; Marechal 2010; Wilhite and Ling 1995); however, there has been little empirical research focused on commercial tenant behavior (Kontokosta 2013).

The primary objective of this research, conducted in collaboration with CBRE, Inc., is to develop a commercial tenant energy informatics system that will demonstrate the efficacy of contextualized feedback and data analytics in reducing energy consumption in multi-tenant commercial buildings. The proposed platform will provide direct feedback and benchmarking information to occupants and building managers with the goal of encouraging more informed decisions on energy usage. Additionally, the data analytics engine will allow tenants to understand and benchmark energy usage and identify energy efficiency opportunities. In the end, by encouraging energy efficient decision making of tenants, this research can contribute to meeting the substantial energy and carbon reduction goals in New York City and across the U.S.

Partners and Collaborators

CBRE, Inc., NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability, Real Estate Board of New York

Team members

Bartosz Bonczak, Sokratis Papadopoulos, David Pogue (CBRE), Constantine Kontokosta

Funding

CBRE, Inc. Real Green Research Challenge Grant

Research Team

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE

DIRECTOR, URBAN INTELLIGENCE LAB; Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics; CUSP Deputy Director for Academics; Head, Quantified Community

Sokratis Papadopoulos

PhD Candidate

Bartosz Bonczak

Associate Research Scientist

Xinshi Zheng

Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow

Ian Wright

Graduate Research Assistant

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE

DIRECTOR, URBAN INTELLIGENCE LAB; Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics; CUSP Deputy Director for Academics; Head, Quantified Community

ckontokosta@nyu.edu

Prof. Kontokosta brings training urban planning, data science, economics, and systems engineering to the data-driven study of cities.

Professor Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE, is an Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics in the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering and the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) at New York University, is the Director of the Urban Intelligence Lab, and is the Deputy Director for Academics at CUSP. He holds a faculty appointment as Visiting Professor of Computer Science at the University of Warwick, and is affiliated faculty at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and Marron Institute for Urban Management. He is also the Principal Investigator and Head of the CUSP Quantified Community research facility, a groundbreaking project underway at five districts in New York City – at the Hudson Yards development in New York City; in Lower Manhattan; at Governor’s Island, and in Red Hook and Brownsville, Brooklyn – that is building sensor-enabled urban neighborhoods to study the impact of the built environment on well-being and human behavior. As one of the first faculty to join CUSP, Constantine is part of the CUSP founding leadership team, setting the Center’s strategic priorities and leading the design and implementation of its academic programs in urban data science, growing from just two to over 50 faculty and staff and 100 graduate students in three years. He serves as Faculty Engineer-in-Residence at the NYU Tech Incubators, where he mentors cleantech and smart city start-up companies from early stage idea refinement to technology demonstration and deployment. He is a 2017 recipient of the NSF CAREER award for his research in urban informatics for smart, sustainable cities.

Dr. Kontokosta‘s research lies at the intersection or urban planning, data science, and systems engineering, focusing on using big data and new sensing technologies to better understand the dynamics of physical, environmental, and social systems in the urban environment. His work has been published in leading academic journals in fields including science, economics, urban policy and planning, and engineering, and has two forthcoming books, one on data-driven city operations and planning and the other on the subject of big data and urban sustainability. He collaborates with numerous city agencies in the U.S. and internationally on issues of urban sustainability and resilience policy and planning and city operations, including a multi-year effort to lead data analysis on building energy efficiency with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Dr. Kontokosta’s work has been featured in the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesCNN, NPR, Fast CompanyCityLab, Bloomberg NewsFinancial Times, APS Physics, and ASCE’s Civil Engineering Magazine, among other national and international media outlets.

Dr. Kontokosta holds a Ph.D., M.Phil, and M.S. in Urban Planning, specializing in urban economics and econometrics, from Columbia University, a M.S. in Real Estate Finance from New York University, and a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering Systems from the University of Pennsylvania. He has received research funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Siemens Corp., CBRE Group, Inc., and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others. Kontokosta has won the IBM Faculty Award, Goddard Junior Faculty Fellowship, the Google IoT Research Award, and NYU’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He is also a recipient of the C. Lowell Harriss Dissertation Award, the Columbia GSAS Dissertation Award, the Charles Abrams Award for Research in Social Justice, the Best Paper Award at the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange in 2015, and has been named a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Urban Planning.

Dr. Kontokosta is a licensed Professional Engineer, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional, and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  In addition, he has served on the NYC Mayor’s 80×50 Task Force, as Vice Chair of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, and on the Boards of the UNEP SBCI and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He is an accomplished real estate entrepreneur, and, together with his brother, Michael Kontokosta, designed, built, and owns Kontokosta Winery, the Harborfront Inn, and Cove Place Inn, all on the North Fork of Long Island, as well as numerous properties in New York City and the East End.

Sokratis Papadopoulos

PhD Candidate

sokratis.papadopoulos@nyu.edu
646.705.3295

Sokratis is a PhD candidate in Civil and Urban Engineering at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and NYU CUSP.

He holds an MSc in Engineering Systems and Management from Masdar Institute, UAE (2015). His research interests lie between applied data science and optimization of building energy performance, with an emphasis on human actions.

Bartosz Bonczak

Associate Research Scientist

bartosz.bonczak@nyu.edu
646.997.0530

Bartosz Bonczak is an Associate Research Scientist at CUSP working with Quantified Community and Building Informatics teams.

In his research, he applies data-driven approaches to improve building energy efficiency and the analysis of urban topography.

Bartosz received M.S. in Urban Informatics from CUSP (2015) and completed a B.S. (2009) and a M.S. (2011) in Geography with the focus on tourism at University of Lodz in his home country of Poland. Prior to joining CUSP he was Assistant Research Scientist at the Department of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz.

Xinshi Zheng

Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow

xz1845@nyu.edu

Xinshi is a Master student and a Civic Analytics Graduate Student Fellow in the Urban Intelligence Lab.

He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015), and a B.Eng in Architectural Environment Engineering from University of Nottingham, UK (2013). His research interests include developing data science applications for urban infrastructure planning and optimization, as well as geospatial analysis.

Ian Wright

Graduate Research Assistant

iw453@nyu.edu

Ian's research and career interests are in next-gen power grids, microgrids, energy storage technologies, and renewables in the urban environment.

Ian received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (2011) from the University of Alberta, Canada, and is currently working towards an M.S. at NYU’s CUSP. Previously, he worked as a design engineer at an architectural firm, Dialog, designing building systems and modelling energy usage in buildings. Most recently he transitioned to the technology sector as a data analyst and strategist at a Vancouver company called Hootsuite.