NYC to Rate Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

Under the new Local Law 33 of 2018, New York City will begin to assign letter grades to buildings rating them on their energy usage, and by 2020 that information will become public.  Under the City’s expanded “Benchmarking” regulations—set out in Local Law 133 of 2016—owners of all buildings over 25,000 square feet must report water and energy consumption annually through the City’s online portal (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager). Failure to report can carry fines of up to $2,000 per year.

The City will use the reported information to create metrics to track and compare the energy efficiency of similar buildings, and ultimately will release a rating for each property, which will be available to the public. A better rating will have a positive impact on property values, giving owners an incentive to take action to cut back on water and energy consumption, as part of the City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and by 2050.

We at DEPM care deeply about energy conservation and have instituted many improvements in our client buildings, including converting boilers from oil to gas, replacing incandescent lights with energy saving LED lights, installing new windows and more. Our managers are working with all their properties to implement conservation initiatives and to prepare for the energy grades. For more information on the City’s Benchmarking program, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/benchmarking.page

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New York City will soon begin giving out letter grades to all buildings over 25,000 square feet, rating their energy efficiency. This “Benchmarking” info will become public in 2020, and could impact property values. Now’s the time to to implement energy-saving programs in your property.

Get Your Smoking Policy in Place By the August 28 Deadline

The deadline for compliance with NYC’s new “Smoking Policy Law” is August 28. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to curb smoking and tobacco use, Local Law 147 requires that all multi-unit residential properties must create and distribute a smoking policy. Designated smoking areas must not be in conflict with existing City regulations, which prohibit smoking in enclosed areas of public places. That includes the common areas of your building, from the lobby to the hallways, stairwells and elevators. Your policy can designate an outdoor smoking area, such as a rooftop, as long as the City allows it. According to the City, disclosing a building’s smoking policy will help tenants and purchasers make an informed decision about whether or not they want to live in a building.

When creating a smoking policy, the building needs to address where smoking is prohibited as well as where it is allowed. In order to ban smoking entirely, or prohibit smoking inside apartments, a vote by a supermajority of unit owners or shareholders is required and the bylaws or proprietary lease must be amended.

A copy of the policy must be distributed to all building residents and unit owners or posted in a place visible to all who live in the building. Failure to create and distribute the smoking policy by the August 28 deadline can lead to building penalties. Our managers have sample policies that boards can review, which can be modified to meet your building’s needs. Keeping the policy simple and straightforward, while addressing issues such as where smoking is allowed, rules for disposing of butts, and house rules about odors, will help minimize any confusion or pushback from residents.

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New City regulations require all multi-family dwellings to create, distribute and implement a building-wide smoking policy. The deadline is August 28 to avoid potential fines or penalties.

The Lower Cost of Green Initiatives: New City, State and Federal Incentives

If your building has been considering installing a solar energy system, now is the time to put that plan in to action. Newly expanded incentives, including City property tax abatements, Federal and State accelerated depreciation, Federal tax credits, and NYSERDA grants, can make these efforts truly affordable going in, and can significantly reduce your payback period.

At one of DEPM’s managed properties, the owners were interested in the environmental benefits of installing solar panels on the roof. They also wanted to know what financial incentives were available for such a project, and what the payback of the investment would be. Management contacted Solar1, a non-profit organization promoting conservation through solar energy, who provided a free feasibility study for installing solar panels. After reviewing the results of the report, the owners decided to solicit bids, choose a contractor, and move ahead with the project.

The decision was made to install panels on several buildings in the complex. The initial cost of the installation will be reduced by over 80% after all the incentives are received, including a four-year City property tax abatement, Federal and State accelerated depreciation, and a state-funded discount on the purchase price. The complex expects to achieve payback on the investment in just three to four years

Installing solar panels will provide the owners with an estimated net savings of $1.1 million over the system’s 25-year life. The solar panels installed on these eight buildings will provide approximately 40% of the development’s common area electricity, reducing operating expenses and increasing net operating income. In addition, the installation will eliminate an estimate 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions; according to the EPA, that’s the greenhouse gas equivalent to planting more than 59,000 trees!

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In addition to reducing operating expenses and providing tax benefits to the property and unit owners, this solar project will provide tremendous environmental benefit. Photo courtesy of Solar1

 

A Busy Day at the Co-op & Condo Expo

Last week many members of the DEPM team attended the Cooperator’s Co-op & Condo Expo at the New York Hilton in Midtown Manhattan. It was a day spent meeting and talking to dozens of board members and apartment owners about their management concerns and questions.

Hundreds of visitors streamed into the three-story Expo space to meet vendors, learn about the latest products and services, attend educational seminars, and visit the free advice booths for a chance to speak to professionals about their current property issues. Douglas Elliman was positioned right near the main entrance, the perfect spot to view all the action and greet attendees.

It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with current and prospective clients, and to hear about the challenges that boards and residents are facing in their buildings. With so many new technologies developing to help run buildings more efficiently, this is a great time in our industry to help properties improve their operations and the quality of life and services for all residents. At Douglas Elliman Property Management, we strive to offer our clients the most up-to-date services available, from online financial statements, budgeting and invoice approval, to a pre-screened database of approved vendors who are licensed, insured and certified to work in our buildings. Since 1911, DEPM has been dedicated exclusively to property management, providing the best services in the City. That’s why so many of our clients and managers stay with us for decades.

Thank you for stopping by! And if you couldn’t make it this year, we hope to see you at the Expo next spring. We look forward to speaking with you about your property management needs. Please call us at 212-370-9200.

Below: Manager Melissa Bass, Senior VP of Accounting Sara Geirloff, Manager Yury Forde, VP of Management John Janangelo, Manager Karel De Boer, Administrative Assistant Mallika Rasicott and Assistant Manager Daniel Kilduff welcoming visitors to the DEPM Booth at the Co-op & Condo Expo.

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Come Visit Us at the Co-op & Condo Expo

If you want a full day of information on all aspects of co-op and condo ownership and management, come visit us at the Cooperator’s Co-op & Condo Expo on Thursday, April 26th. The Expo takes place at the New York Hilton on Avenue of the Americas and 53rd Street, and runs from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Attendance is free, and you can register online at coopexpo.com. More than 300 exhibitors will be there with information on everything from property management to energy-saving products to a full range of products and services for your property.

In addition, there is a full program of educational seminars, on topics ranging from air rights to underlying mortgages, “smart” homes to legal issues. All seminars are free, and you can view the schedule at coopexpo.com/Events.

We will be located on the main floor, right in front at Booth #200. We looking forward to seeing you there and discussing your management needs, questions and concerns.

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Cooling Tower Safety

Our January Managers Seminar focused on Cooling Tower Maintenance and Regulations, reminding all our property managers what City Regulations govern this important area of safety. After a deadly outbreak of “Legionnaire’s Disease” in the Bronx a few years ago, NYC implemented strict requirements for the annual inspection, cleaning and reporting for all the cooling towers in the City.

Cooling towers, which can be seen atop most buildings in the City, function as part of the heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system, acting to “cool” the system. Because these towers hold water, they can potentially create an environment where bacteria can grow. While situations like the Legionella outbreaks are rare, they can be extremely dangerous, and thus must be prevented through vigilance and regular preventive treatment.

To meet these requirements, all properties must hire a qualified company to clean and inspect their cooling towers each year, and must file a Maintenance Program and Plan (MPP) annually with the City’s Department of Buildings. Failure to do so may result in considerable fines.

At DEPM, we keep our managers up to date continuously to ensure that all the properties we manage are maintained safely and meet all NYC housing requirements. Not only does this address the health of all residents, but it helps to avoid any fines and penalties for failure to comply with safety regulations.

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David and Mark Drozdov of Creative Environment Solutions spoke to DEPM managers about ensuring the safety of cooling towers at their properties.

 

Rate Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

Beginning in May, the City’s “Benchmarking” regulations will be expanded to include all
buildings over 25,000 square feet (under the earlier version of the law, buildings of less than 50,000 were not required to benchmark). As part of Local Law 133 of 2016, which expanded LL 84, owners must report water and energy consumption annually through the City’s online portal (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager). Failure to report can carry fines of up to $2000 per year. The City will use this information to create metrics to track and compare the energy efficiency of similar buildings, and ultimately will release a rating for each property, which will be available to the public.

A better rating will have a positive impact on property values, giving owners an incentive to take action to cut back on water and energy consumption, as part of the City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and 2050. We at DEPM care deeply about energy conservation and have instituted many improvements in our client buildings, including converting boilers from oil to gas, replacing incandescent lights with energy saving LED lights, installing new windows and more. Our managers are working with all their properties to implement conservation initiatives in the coming year. For more information on the City’s Benchmarking program, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/benchmarking.page

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New York City’s Benchmarking program is part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan to reduce carbon emissions.