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

 

 

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.

Budget Preparation Time: 2018 Drafts Are on the Way

As budget time approaches, DEPM property managers are consulting with resident managers, superintendents, and our financial analysts to prepare the 2018 Operating Budget drafts for our client boards to review. Preliminary and general observations reflect that real estate taxes continue to outpace normal indexes of inflation. Utility costs have increased at a pace second only to taxes while, interestingly, labor and related costs are trending just above inflation indexes. Supplies and services have generally marked lower than inflation. DEPM unfailingly works its portfolio clout wherever possible for our clients’ financial benefit. We do our best to reduce the financial impact of our managed buildings’ supply purchasing, fuel and other utility charges, and contractor competitive bidding processes. Please reach out to your building’s Financial Analyst if you have any 2018 budget-related questions.

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As budget time approaches, DEPM property managers are preparing the 2018 Operating Budget drafts for our client boards to review.

We Welcome New Properties to Our Portfolio

By Jim O’Connor, President

Dozens of properties have joined the DEPM portfolio in the first few months of the year, and we are delighted to welcome them to our unique brand of property management, enhanced by the wealth of knowledge we have gained in more than 100 years of service.

We are thrilled to welcome so many new properties into the DEPM management portfolio. There’s no question that what sets our service apart from other companies is our people. We have the best managers on our team, and they stay with us for years; sometimes for decades. A full 180 of our 240-plus employees have been with the company for over 15 years. Along with our recent growth, we have hired a number of excellent new managing agents who have been blending in beautifully with our existing team.

Just last month, Co-op City, the largest cooperative housing development in the world, brought DEPM on board to help manage the 15,372-unit property, consisting of more than 35 high-rise buildings on 320 acres in the Bronx.

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Welcome Co-op City! The largest cooperative in the world recently joined the DEPM portfolio.

Located in the East 50s overlooking the East River, 25 Sutton Place South also recently switched to Douglas Elliman Property Management. Built in 1959, the 320-unit co-op is perched above the FDR Drive, providing unobstructed river views, as well as a beautifully landscaped garden where residents can sit and enjoy the outdoors while watching the passing boats.

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Welcome 25 Sutton Place South, a 320-unit co-op on the East River.

The range of new properties that have joined the DEPM portfolio runs the gamut from luxury pre-war properties like 1160 Park Avenue to new buildings on the far West Side and Downtown; from the Bay Club Condominium in Bayside, Queens to the leafy townhouse enclave of Brooklands in Bronxville.

While the DEPM management team is proud of the current growth of our organization, we are equally proud of the long-term relationships we have maintained since the company was founded in 1911.

One of our oldest clients is 911 Park Avenue, where Board President Michael Rankowitz says, “In the 51 years that Douglas Elliman has managed our property, we have always been impressed by their professionalism and attention to detail. While much has changed since 1965, one thing we can always count on is that our Park Avenue co-op receives the service and attention we need from our management team.”

911 Park

911 Park Avenue has been with DEPM for over 50 years.

As one of the City’s largest management firms, DEPM provides central purchasing of supplies, insurance and energy to help our clients control costs. Each building is assigned a financial analyst to work on budgets and investments. The firm offers mortgage, closing and brokerage services through its other divisions. But above all, it is our breadth of experience and longevity in the business that truly sets DEPM apart. For more information, contact me directly, DEPM President Jim O’Connor at 212-370-9200 or info@ellimanpm.com.