Learn how these digital thermostats can transform older buildings — without ripping out old HVAC systems

by Brianna Crandall — November 1, 2017 — New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo recently announced the 50th installation of Wireless Pneumatic Thermostats, a sustainable technology expected to save time, money and energy in older buildings. As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to transform New York City’s municipal buildings for a low-carbon future, as outlined in One City, Built to Last, the DCAS has identified, tested and vetted this innovative wireless digital thermostat.

The Wireless Pneumatic Thermostats, or WPT, technology is from Cypress Envirosystems and can reportedly be installed in a fraction of the time and cost compared to conventional methods, which entail ripping out obsolete heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The new WPT devices also enable building operators to take advantage of programmable energy saving strategies in older buildings.

Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat

The Wireless Pneumatic Thermostats can reportedly be installed in about 10-20 minutes.

The City is investing in various technologies as part of finding practical, cost-effective solutions to increase the energy efficiencies of its aging building stock, with the goals of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2025 and 80% by 2050.

The City has a diverse portfolio of more than 4,000 municipal buildings. The WPT thermostats were tested as part of DCAS’ IDEA Program — Innovative Demonstrations for Energy Adaptability — which seeks to find new solutions to reduce the City’s carbon footprint. As part of the initial stage of the program, a high school in Queens had the WPT tested and it showed a reduction of its heating fuel by 20%.

Harry Sim, CEO, Cypress Envirosystems, explained:

The WPT is a non-invasive technology to upgrade inefficient pneumatic thermostats to digital programmable thermostats in existing buildings. It enables HVAC energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction of 20-30%, improves the comfort of occupants, and reduces the maintenance labor required. Because of the unique non-invasive nature of the solution, it can be installed in about 10 minutes compared with hours for conventional technology.

The latest installation was completed on August 17, at 100 Centre Street. So far more than 6,500 WPT thermostats have been installed in 50 municipal buildings covering approximately 6.5 million square feet of space. This equates to a total energy savings of 78,167 million BTUs per year, and 797,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas, which is equivalent to removing more than 617,295 cars off the road, estimates DCAS.

To learn more about Wireless Pneumatic Thermostats, visit the Cypress Technologies Web site. The company also offers a 1.5-minute video of an Actual WPT Retrofit in Fast Motion.