With the green movement in full swing across the country, it is not surprising that incorporating energy saving and efficient measures has trickled into condominium development. Today, many buildings in the New York area pride themselves for having a variety of eco-friendly features ranging from green roofs, the use of sustainable materials and recycling on-site.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative, which focuses on six of the principal areas affecting green building, namely land use, water, transportation, air quality, energy efficiency and climate change, has certainly become one of the nation’s model sustainability plans. Several legislative initiatives have been adopted to encourage the greening of the Big Apple.
“The feedback I have heard concerning the need for the residential real estate sector to comply with the new Energy Code and other recent green initiatives is increasingly more positive,” says Peter Zlotnick, an attorney and a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold, LLP. “This is especially true as buildings appear to be recognizing, albeit slowly, that the return on their capital investment in these more efficient and cleaner technologies and materials is growing shorter,” said Zlotnick, whose practice focuses on real estate, construction, green building and renewable energy. “In other words, the regulations appear to be less egregious than many in the industry first thought, because the operational cost-savings derived from clean technologies can be readily seen on a co-op or condo’s financial statements.”
Many New York City buildings are also taking advantage of national and local programs to help make them more energy efficient. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $3.6 million dollars to a 198-unit building at 107-145 135th Street in Central Harlem. Retrofits included Energy Star refrigerators, replacement of 32 old boilers with 10 high efficiency ones, rooftop solar photovoltaic and recycled material kitchen counters according to a press release from the New York HUD. This was the first affordable preservation project financed under Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan to make use of the U.S. HUD Green Retrofit Program.
There are numerous national and statewide energy efficiency, energy conservation and sustainability-encouraging programs available to residents. These programs often offer large rebates to help offset the initial costs of implementing the green products and technologies and doing so can greatly ease the burden of large utility bills.