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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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


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.