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; Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning; Director, Civic Analytics Program

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; Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning; Director, Civic Analytics Program

ckontokosta@nyu.edu

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

Constantine E. Kontokosta, PhD, PE, is an Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning and Director of the Civic Analytics program at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. He also directs the Urban Intelligence Lab and holds cross-appointments at the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering (CUE). He is affiliated faculty at the Wagner School of Public Service, Visiting Professor of Computer Science at the University of Warwick (UK), and a Senior Scholar at the New York Academy of Medicine. Previously, he served as the inaugural Deputy Director of CUSP and Assistant Professor of Urban Informatics at CUSP and CUE, where he was part of the Center’s founding leadership team and designed and launched the first graduate program in urban informatics. He is the founding Principal Investigator of the Quantified Community research initiative that integrates hyperlocal urban sensors with city-scale data analytics to understand neighborhood dynamics and well-being, and is one of the largest community-driven IoT projects in New York City. He is a 2017 recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his research in urban informatics for sustainable cities.

Trained in urban planning and computational methods (Columbia), finance and economics (NYU), and systems science and engineering (UPenn), Constantine brings an inter-disciplinary perspective to urban science that integrates fundamental research with impact-driven, use-inspired needs. His work leverages large-scale data with computational methods to understand and drive change in energy efficiency and climate policy, neighborhood change and the impacts of urban development, and community-driven air quality monitoring and environmental justice. Recent projects include research with NYC311 and Kansas City to measure bias in citizen complaint reporting for predictive analytics; with a homeless shelter provider to apply machine learning algorithms to identify at-risk homeless families; and with the City of New York, Washington, DC, and the UN to leverage large-scale data analytics for building energy and climate policy. Constantine’s research groups – the Civic Analytics Program and the Urban Intelligence Lab – are motivated by a desire to bring evidence to policy-making, to democratize knowledge through information transparency, and to uncover discrimination and bias in data-driven decision-making.

Constantine’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), MacArthur Foundation, Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others, and he has received several honors for his work, including the IBM Faculty Award, the Google IoT Research Award, the UN Data for Climate Action Challenge Award,  the Goddard Junior Faculty Fellowship, the Charles Abrams Award for Social Justice Research, and a NYU Award for Teaching Excellence. Constantine has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in leading academic journals – in fields ranging from urban planning to signal processing – and has two forthcoming books on urban analytics and data-driven climate action. His research has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, FastCompany, CityLab, Wired, CNN, NPR, and other media outlets. He holds a PhD, M.Phil, and M.S. from Columbia University, a M.S. from New York University, and a B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania.

He serves on committees and advisory boards at the National Academies, DARPA, and the NSF Northeast Big Data Hub, and previously served on the boards of the UNEP Sustainable Buildings and Climate Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and as Vice Chair and Commissioner of the Suffolk County (NY) Planning Commission. In addition to his academic work, Constantine is an accomplished 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.