NYC Climate Advisory Board Appointed in December

New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act, which includes Local Law 97, was passed in April 2019, as part of the City’s goal of making New York City carbon neutral by 2050. In December, the newly created 15-member Climate Advisory Board met for the first time, tasked with providing advice and recommendations toward the implementation of the new legislation.

“Progressive cities like ours must lead the way on climate change, and that’s exactly what this Council did with Local Law 97. The Council is proud of its appointees to the Climate Advisory Board and looks forward to working with them and with the administration’s appointees to continue the fight against climate change,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“We are proud to take a leading role in executing the Green New Deal,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “We look forward to working with a broad range of stakeholders to help establish best practices to tackle the largest source of our city’s emissions, our buildings. We owe it to future generations to meet the challenge of global warming head-on.” Buildings currently account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC.

The Local Law 97 Advisory Board is made up of architects, engineers, property owners, representatives from the business sector and public utilities, environmental justice advocates, and tenant advocates. In addition to providing guidance, the Advisory Board is also required to prepare and submit periodic reports on the results of implementation once the law is fully in effect.

The City’s goals are ambitious and laudable, but they will take time, effort and expense to implement. We are working closely with all our client boards to start early and budget wisely to meet the target dates set for by the City and to avoid any fines by meeting requirements in a timely manner.

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NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act meets the challenge of global warming head-on. Currently, buildings account for about two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in the City.

Low-Cost Options for LED Lighting

One of the options for reducing your property’s energy budget—and helping to improve the Energy Grade that the City gives it—is to replace existing lighting with LED bulbs. And there are currently numerous incentives being offered by ConEd and other entities to help offset the cost of converting to LEDs.

Increasing your building’s energy efficiency will not only help avoid future fines, as New York City implements the increasingly stringent rules of its Climate Mobilization Act, but will also add value to every apartment, as buyers look to own in those properties that can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

As one of the easiest and least costly ways of addressing energy efficiency, converting to LED lighting should be part of your building’s sustainability initiatives.

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Energy-Reduction Strategies

With deadlines looming for New York’s stringent new energy use regulations, building owners, boards and unit owners are looking at ways to make their properties more energy efficient. Unit owners can initiate some important energy saving measures that will have significant impact on the entire building’s consumption. Such as:

  • If you have through-the-wall or window-installed air conditioners, make sure they are the most energy-efficient models available. Be sure to seal them during the off-season.
  • Upgrade to high efficiency windows
  • Install thermal window shades, plastic insulation, weather stripping and/or draft stoppers to keep the heat in during cold weather and the AC in during hot weather.
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads to reduce water consumption
  • Replace incandescent or coil style light bulbs with LED bulbs
  • Change air filters semi-annually
  • If you have an in-unit water heater, turn the thermostat down when you are out of town, or year-round as long as the temperature remains comfortable
  • Shut down computers and other devices when not in use, and unplug chargers from the wall
  • Turn off lights and air conditioners when not in use
  • If you have an in-unit washer and dryer, use cold water only, and be sure your unit is an energy-efficient model
  • When it comes time to replace your dishwasher and/or refrigerator, buy the most energy-efficient model
  • Put rugs or carpeting on at least some of the floors
  • Use “smart” power strips that shut down when not in use or flip off regular power strips when not in use
  • Consider a “smart home” system, such as Alexa or Apple Home, which allows you to control appliances from your smart phone
  • Seal the door to the elevator or common hallway to keep heat or air conditioning from escaping
  • If you have ceiling fans, change the direction depending on the season: push warm air down in winter and up in summer
  • Vacuum and dust refrigerator coils; this can increase efficiency significantly
  • Be sure AC units and heaters are not blocked by furniture or other barriers
  • Inform your Super or Manager of any leaky faucets or running toilets to reduce water consumption.
Modern kitchen interior with smart appliances in black color coordination

Energy efficient appliances and fixtures can drastically reduce your property’s energy consumption.

 

 

NYC’s New Climate Mobilization Act

On April 22nd, 2019 Mayor DeBlasio signed into law the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), affecting all buildings over 25,000 square feet throughout New York City. This is the City’s third significant piece of legislation designed to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in New York City by 80% by the year 2050. The CMA follows “plaNYC2030” in 2011 which eliminated #6 oil and spurred the oil-to-gas conversions in NYC buildings, and the “oneNYCplan” in 2015, which introduced Local Law 84 (Benchmarking) and Local Law 87 (Energy Audits and Retro-commissioning), both designed to further incentivize buildings to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The first year of enforcement is 2025, and will be based on each building’s energy usage in 2024, compared to a citywide baseline of 2005. Most buildings will require significant capital expenditures to become compliant with these new regulations. In an effort to help building boards and owners finance these upgrades, the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) is creating a low interest, long-term funding program that will hopefully be available to all housing sectors.

It’s imperative that all buildings begin now—if they have not already—to learn about their current energy efficiency level and to plan and begin to implement a long-term strategy of compliance in order to avoid paying fines when the enforcement period begins in 2025. Every CMA Plan should begin by reviewing the building’s LL84 Benchmarking report, which will reveal its EnergyStar score and upcoming Letter Grade, which will be issued in 2020. By verifying the parameters used in the Benchmarking report, buildings can be sure that the score is accurate; scores take into account number of units, number of bedrooms, square footage and other facts about the building, so it’s important to be sure the City has the correct information. Each building’s Energy Audit and Retrocommissioning Report also includes a series of Energy Reduction Measures, with projected savings, estimated budget, and payback period. This is a key list of where to begin to reduce energy consumption and improve the building’s score.

We will keep all of our properties apprised of the ongoing developments of the Climate Mobilization Act. The goal of reducing emissions is a worthy one, but it will certainly take time, effort and significant investment. At DEPM, we will work continuously with our building boards and owners to help meet these requirements as they continue to evolve.

For more information on this legislation, visit this link:

Climate Mobilization Act

Multifamily Solar Array

It’s imperative that all buildings begin now—if they have not already—to learn about their current energy efficiency level and to plan and begin to implement a long-term strategy of compliance in order to avoid paying fines when the enforcement period begins in 2025.

 

City Code Compliance Update

Keeping up with New York City’s ever-changing building regulations is a full-time job. That’s why our compliance department is constantly on top of new Local Laws and other safety issues that impact the properties we manage. Due to the expansion of the City’s façade inspection regulations, properties need to inspect and repair their exteriors on a regular basis to ensure the safety of balconies, parapets, brick, stone and other materials that overhang the sidewalks.

The City’s Benchmarking program continues to expand in an effort to reduce carbon emissions throughout the five boroughs. Starting in 2020, buildings will be given “grades” from A to F, based on how energy efficient they are. These ratings may impact property values, adding to the incentive to improve energy conservation efforts in areas from lighting to heating and air conditioning.

Another new City regulation requires that all automatic elevators have “door lock monitors” installed and operational by January 1, 2020. The purpose of the monitors is to prevent elevators from operating unless the all the doors are closed on every floor of the elevator shaft. It also prevents the exterior elevator doors from opening if the elevator cab is not at that floor. The new safety requirement is designed to prevent anyone from being caught in an elevator door while the car is moving, or from falling into an open elevator shaft.

At Douglas Elliman Property Management, client safety and building compliance are of paramount importance. Your building manager is working to ensure that your property meets all City regulations. If you have any questions about building code compliance, don’t hesitate to contact your manager or our office at 212-370-9200.

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New regulations from the Department of Buildings—from façade maintenance to elevator safety—are designed to protect residents and avoid accidents.

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.

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!

Multifamily Solar Array

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

 

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.

Rebate Programs and Free Offers For Energy-Efficient Equipment

At DEPM, we are always looking for ways to help our properties save money. We have been working with Con Ed and National Grid, who offer a wide variety of rebates, discounts, and refunds for installing energy-saving equipment. Right now there are incentive programs for energy controls, efficient boilers and burners, hot water heaters and more. In many cases, the utility will actually provide and install products—such as lighting and control valves—that will conserve energy, completely free of charge.

In one of our properties, a rental complex in Queens, we have signed up to receive free thermostatic radiator valves, which will be provided and installed at absolutely no cost. With 1500 units in the complex, and an average of two to three valves per unit, this represents an enormous up-front savings of around $375,000! Not to mention the reduced fuel consumption that these valves will result in, since they will allow residents to turn the heat down if they experience overheating, instead of opening the windows and wasting precious energy.

Other conservation incentives include low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, “smart” power strips, and LED lights. Some buildings are eligible to receive these important energy-saving devices at no cost for individual units. Others, depending on building size and location, may be eligible for free high-efficiency light bulbs for common areas as well.

Replacing traditional lighting with high efficiency bulbs can save your building thousands of dollars. You may be eligible to receive free energy-efficient lights, showerheads or other equipment through Con Ed and National Grid's rebate programs.

Replacing traditional lighting with high efficiency bulbs can save your building thousands of dollars. You may be eligible to receive free energy-efficient lights, showerheads or other equipment through Con Ed and National Grid’s rebate programs.

Because these programs are constantly changing, depending on funding, building size, and location, it’s difficult to know what is available and who is eligible. To understand the programs offered, and expedite the paperwork required, you really need to speak to the experts. Your Douglas Elliman Property Manager can help your building navigate through the often complicated and confusing process of finding and qualifying for these ever-changing incentive programs. Ask your Managing Agent how your building can make some of these improvements, protect the environment, upgrade systems, and save on fuel bills. We are already beginning to schedule free equipment installations in some of our buildings, that will result in very welcome savings on electricity and gas costs.

 

Remote Controls Saved This Building 15% on Heating Fuel

DEPM recently embarked on a very interesting project to save energy and cut fuel costs at one of our properties, a 38-building complex that straddles the Sunnyside and Woodside neighborhoods in Queens.

The residential rental property has been owner managed for over 50 years, but recently, DEPM was brought in to provide professional management. All facets of the property were evaluated, and one of the first initiatives was to analyze heating costs, operations and procedures. After some analysis, we determined that the complex was a prime candidate for a fully computerized, remotely managed heat control system.

Here’s how it works: Sensors are placed in the buildings to determine the heat levels throughout each property. Then the computerized controls determine if any heat is called for. The machines monitor how each boiler is operating, and send out a signal to an app that DEPM managers, supers and emergency staff all have on their iphones.

On this app, from literally anywhere, DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.

Last winter, even though it was one of the coldest in many years, these new controls and monitors saved this property 15% on gas bills! And because National Grid offers a large rebate on the installation of these controls, there is the opportunity for further discounts, and even greater savings.

For more information on using these types of computerized controls in your property, email us at info@ellimanpm.com.

DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.

DEPM can monitor and control heat, discover immediately if there is a problem with any of the boilers, and adjust heat to any of the buildings remotely.