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.



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 ( 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

Screen shot 2018-02-19 at 1.18.54 PM

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

Take the Carbon Challenge And Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Launched in 2007, the City’s ambitious PlaNYC program laid out long-range plans for improving the quality of life in New York City. In the years since, huge strides have been made toward achieving many of these goals, from cleaner air to more comprehensive recycling. An important part of this plan is the “NYC Carbon Challenge,” whose goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Residential buildings are the largest single contributor to the City’s GHG emissions, accounting for 37 percent. As leaders in our industry we recognized our responsibility to advocate for positive change in the City, and Douglas Elliman Property Management became an active Participant in the Carbon Challenge.

Since joining the program in January, we have embarked on meeting the Multi-Family Property Challenge goal of reducing emissions by at least 30 percent over ten years in at least 15 of our managed properties. We expect to far exceed that goal, and are already well on our way as more of our clients recognize the impact they can have in creating cleaner, safer air.

Nearly a year ago, DEPM was recognized by the NYC Clean Heat program, another facet of PlaNYC, for converting over 75 percent of our managed properties to cleaner fuel. As one of the few property management firms on the Clean Heat Task Force, we have worked hard to convert our properties from highly polluting No. 6 and No. 4 fuel oil to cleaner sources of heat, such as No. 2 oil, natural gas, biodiesel or steam. Not only are these buildings helping to improve the air quality in their neighborhoods, but in many cases they are saving money as well.

There is plenty that multi-family buildings can do to help make the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge a reality. Start by visiting the website at and download the Handbook for Co-ops and Condos at for tips on the benefits of conservation, and how to make changes in your building that will save both energy and money.

Properties that participate in the program will receive a free mini-energy audit to help them get started. For more information, please call our in-house expert Vice President + Architect Peter Lampen at 212-370-9200 or email

Help build a cleaner New York City: Take the Carbon Challenge!

Visit and download the handbook to learn what Co-op and Condo owners can do to help reduce carbon emissions and improve the City's air quality.

Visit and download the handbook to learn what Co-op and Condo owners can do to help reduce carbon emissions and improve the City’s air quality.


Local Law 84 Requires “Benchmarking”

Local Law 84 is one of four Local Laws enacted as part of the City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP), a “comprehensive, mandatory effort to reduce emissions from existing large buildings,” said Mayor Bloomberg in signing the legislative package in 2009. Studies have shown that approximately 75 percent of the City’s greenhouse emissions come from buildings. The City’s ultimate goal is to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

According to Peter Lampen, Vice President and Architect with Douglas Elliman Property Management (DEPM), “The City hopes that this data will enable building management and owners to better understand the performance of their buildings, and incentivize the undertaking of energy-saving improvements and upgrades.”

For co-ops and condos, the usage data should be collected and reported by their management company. Peter Lampen reports, “We have been through two annual cycles of Benchmarking under Local Law 84, and this May we will be filing to complete the third cycle, submitting each property’s energy and water usage data for 2012.”

This year, for the first time since the Law was enacted, this data will be made public, showing electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and water usage. With the ever-increasing cost of fuel and water, it is expected that co-op and condo buyers and investors will begin to use this data to compare properties. The City hopes that buildings with a higher energy use “score,” indicating better energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint, will become more attractive to buyers, encouraging less efficient properties to initiate energy upgrades, which could result in usage reductions of up to 40 percent.

“We will issue a simple report for each building,” explains Lampen, “listing the major data points as well as comparisons to the rest of the DEPM portfolio, and to a larger profile of multi-family residential buildings in the city.” This report will help managers and board members address shortcomings and plan ways to cut energy and water usage.

The Empire State Building is one of many properties in New York City that have greatly improved their energy efficiency through extensive upgrades of their insulation and mechanical systems. The City hopes that Local Laws 84 and 87 will encourage other buildings to do the same.

The Empire State Building is one of many properties in New York City that have greatly improved their energy efficiency through extensive upgrades of their insulation and mechanical systems. The City hopes that Local Laws 84 and 87 will encourage other buildings to do the same.

City’s New Recycling Initiative Will Save Money, Reduce Waste

On April 24th, Mayor Bloomberg announced an expansion of the City’s Apartment Building Recycling Initiative Program. The Mayor’s Office refers to this as the largest expansion of the city’s recycling program in 25 years; adding toys, plastic yogurt and coffee cups, food containers and all rigid plastics as part of the list household recyclables.  This new curbside recycling program will be as inclusive as any in the nation.

As recycling is cheaper than shipping waste to landfills, the city will save almost $600,000 in annual export costs by reducing an estimated 50,000 tons of recyclable waste a year.  Further, it takes 70 percent less energy to make plastic from recycled plastics, rather than from raw materials, this effort will reduce the city’s carbon footprint and improve its sustainability.   In partnership with Sims Municipal Recycling (SMS on the NYSE or SGM on the ASX) the program will create 100 jobs at the largest recycling plant in North America opening this summer at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.  The plant will be powered by one of the largest solar installations in the city and house an education center to teach children about recycling.

To sum it up, there will be no more worrying about confusing numbers on the bottom of the container; you need not have to think twice about what can and cannot be recycled.  By mid-summer, every resident will receive instructional mailers describing the expanded recycling program with easy-to-understand illustrations of what you can recycle and how.  Douglas Elliman Property Management will assist building managers and their staff members understand these new regulations as well as replacing the current labels on the building’s recycling bins and mandated signage. While the program already started, the City won’t begin enforcement until rules are formally adopted in mid-July.

We encourage each resident and building to participate in this Apartment Building Recycling Initiative Program ( to make New York a cleaner place to live.


Under the newly expanded Recycling Initiative, the City expects to save almost $600,000 a year, reduce its carbon footprint, and improve sustainability.