Energy Conservation

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Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Energy

By Nate Kessman

Legal issues, maintenance challenges and the ever-present Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and Department of Buildings (DOB) compliance requirements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the obstacles condo and co-op boards, along with their owners and building managers, struggle to navigate. With challenges constantly mounting, it’s easy to understand how energy management can fall to the bottom of the proverbial “I’ll get to it later” pile. Unfortunately, this lack of focus can often cost boards thousands of dollars. Read More

The Recycling Cycle

By Danielle Braff

New York City is trashy. Literally. Every day, the people living in the Big Apple produce hundreds of tons of trash—12,000 tons, according to GrowNYC, a nonprofit organization that strives to improve New York via environmental programs. That is enough trash each day to fill up the Empire State Building. The diesel trucks that carry Manhattan’s garbage rack up almost 8 million miles every year, which is the equivalent of driving more than 312 times around the earth. Read More

Submetering for Savings

By Lisa Iannucci

It’s a beautiful Friday night and you’re out to dinner with four of your best buddies. The restaurant's ambiance is exquisite and the food is divine. You’re on a budget, so you stick to ordering a delicious appetizer and some tasty soup, while your friends go all in on surf and turf, quaff glasses of the restaurant’s best champagne and devour decadent desserts. The fun and laughter lasts for hours. You’ve had the time of your life—but when the check comes, your friends insist upon dividing it equally among the five of you, despite the fact that your meal cost only a fraction of theirs. Sighing, you hand over your credit card, feeling distinctly taken-advantage-of. Read More

Top 10 Energy Tips

By Keith Loria

There’s probably not a condo, HOA or co-op board that doesn’t worry about money at some point or another, which is why staying on top of the latest money-saving opportunities is vital for any building or community to be successful. One of the biggest ways to save money is to cut energy costs, and there are a number of things that can be done to achieve that. Read More

Energy Efficiency Improvements

By William Sosinsky

Let’s face it. Every multifamily or commercial building owner would like to substantially lower their utility costs. Prices for energy and water are projected to go nowhere but up in the future. When you start to factor in the new regulations going into effect across the country mandating higher levels of building energy efficiency, paying for these required improvements presents a real challenge. Read More

Making the Switch

By Hannah Fons

Saving money is always a top concern of any co-op or condo board, but with tough economic times and high fuel prices, saving on energy costs can be a challenge. Thanks to deregulation of the New York energy market a little over a decade ago, boards and managers have a wide array of options for energy delivery—many of which can yield significant savings. Read More

Green Myths

By Pat Gale

Mom was right. Her admonition to “Turn out the lights when you leave the room!” is as valid today as it was a generation ago. And yet many co-op and condo buildings, while energy-conscious in so many ways, seem to feel it’s better to just leave the lights on—sometimes, 24/7. Read More

Investing in Green

By Keith Loria

With today’s condo and HOA residents much more conscious of their impact on the environment and looking for ways to reduce it, smart boards and property managers are looking to help. Simple tasks like turning down thermostats, shutting off air conditioners during the day, and shutting lights when not in use all help, but there’s more that can be done. More and more buildings and associations are deciding to invest in greener equipment and devices that use less energy and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Read More

Garbage Can Be Gold

By Thomas Lisi

It’s hard to believe that recycling was a pretty novel concept not too long ago, especially for municipalities. In the 1970s and ‘80s, local governments started to establish recycling programs due to rising energy prices and a growing concern for the environment. Little by little, in the last 40 years, more and more Americans have made recycling a regular part of their daily lives. When you take out the trash, you also sort the recycling—they’re part of the same routine. Read More

New York City Takes the LEED

By Greg Olear

There are two ways—and only two ways—to balance a budget: increase revenue or decrease spending. Whether you’re the treasurer of a co-op board or the President of the United States, those are the only two levers at your disposal. Read More

Energy Auditing Your Building

By Daniel Karpen, P.E.

 There are a number of consultants out there that are “pretending” that they can prepare the energy audit and energy efficiency reports required  by Local Law 87. Read More

Cutting Heating Costs

By Charles Viemeister

 As winter looms, property owners can cut costs and save on their heating bills  with preventive maintenance and upgrades to their steam systems. Here are some  suggestions for savings from Con Edison.   Read More

Water Filtration for New York City Buildings

By Neil Skidell

 According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New  York City currently has the largest unfiltered surface water supply in the  world. Every day, some 1.3 billion gallons of water are delivered to more than  eight million New York City residents, a million more consumers in four upstate  counties, and hundreds of thousands of commuters and tourists. The system  includes a watershed of 1,972 square miles across eight counties north and west  of the city. The system’s 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes contain a total storage capacity of  580 billion gallons. Approximately 97 percent of this total water supply is  delivered to the residential and commercial populace by gravity—the remainder is pumped upwards to maintain the desired pressure. Read More

Top Ten Hot (and Cool) Tips

By Lisa Iannucci

 Saving energy does a lot more than just reduce a building’s carbon footprint and toxic emissions—going green can save a building some green too. The steps a co-op or condo  building can take to reduce energy consumption and save money range from the  very simple to the very complex. We’ve asked various energy experts to offer their top 10 tips for saving energy and  money. Remember, the list is just a start—there are many ways in which you can go green, but following some of these ideas  is a great place to start. Read More

Garbage In, Garbage Out

By Raanan Geberer

 We as a culture produce a lot of trash—and not just in the form of reality television shows, late night infomercials,  and bad romance novels. Whether it’s the candy wrappers we toss into the trash bins outside on the sidewalk, the  newspapers we take downstairs to the recycle bin, or half-eaten food we throw  down the convector chute, we dispose of tons of trash annually. But where does  it go from there? Put another way: how does a city of nine million people take out its trash?   Read More

Green Pioneers

By W.B. King

 Going green doesn’t have anything to do with choosing a natural paint color for your kitchen, or  planting herbs in your community garden. But the phrase can have many different  meanings and can be done across a broad spectrum. Turning off lights in rooms  you’re not occupying is a small green move; installing a gigantic wind turbine on  your building’s rooftop is a bigger one. Different communities throughout New York place green  practices and programming at different positions on their lists of priorities—and the steps they take depend on funding, community interest, feasibility and  other factors. Read More

Help with Going Green

By Maggie Puniewska

 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. Read More

Controlling Your Building's Energy Usage

By Ted Bier

 Charged with managing their properties’ expenses, boards of co-ops and condo complexes place a high priority on  controlling energy consumption. In some regions, multi-family properties are  being aided by local utilities and incentive programs that encourage building  retrofits that improve energy efficiency.   Read More

Collecting Unpaid Debts

By Stacey R. Patterson

 Consider the following all-too-common scenario: your condominium association has  one delinquent unit owner who owes three months of common charges totaling  $915.00 before late fees. Statements have been sent without response, and  telephone calls are not being answered. If you're like most buildings, your  operating expenses hinge on reliable cash inflow from owners' fees every month—and that $915.00 is being sorely missed. What steps can your building take to  collect this debt? Read More

Privacy Liability Insurance

By Alex Seaman

 Phone hacking. Password hijacking. Virtual identity theft. With new technology  comes new challenges, and online security threats are chief among them. When it  comes to protecting and insuring the privacy of one's residents, it's  imperative that co-op and condo administrators know the stakes and take  appropriate steps—not only for the sake of their residents and clients, but for their own as well.   Read More

Making a Smart Building

By Jordan L. Dentz

 Two research and development projects are currently underway in Manhattan where  the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the  state agency that promotes energy efficiency, is supporting the development and  installation of groundbreaking smart air conditioners and heat pumps for smart  multifamily buildings. Both projects, one in an Upper West Side Mitchell-Lama  cooperative and one in a downtown all-electric multi-building cooperative  complex, integrate new smart air conditioners or heat pumps via an existing  advanced electrical submetering system to a smart building load management  system. These two projects have similar objectives: the development of  equipment that will improve energy efficiency, reduce electric bills and  provide the capability for participation in utility and state sponsored demand  response and curtailment programs. Demand response programs reduce the demand  on the Con Edison grid when necessary and offer buildings financial incentives  in return for their participation. Since the demand charge in master metered  buildings represents a significant component of the total electric bill, the  use of the smart air conditioners or heat pumps also provides each building the  ability to further reduce its demand charge. Demand response capability is  strongly advocated by both Con Edison and NYSERDA to provide a mechanism to  relieve the stress on the utility grid during high demand periods, thereby  reducing the likelihood of an interruption of power. Read More

A Co-op Lawyer Discusses Subcontractors

By C. Jaye Berger, Esq.

 Most boards of co-ops and condominiums spend a lot of time negotiating the terms  of their contracts with general contractors; however, it is often  subcontractors who do most of the work. Sometimes the Boards are not even aware  of how much work they are doing. Despite this fact, their contracts, if they  even have one, are the least thought out and the terms of their work are often  very unclear. However, the legal issues that can arise from work by  subcontractors can be profound for buildings and general contractors who have  not been well-briefed by knowledgeable legal counsel. Read More

Benchmarking Compliance

By Keith Loria

 So, did your building comply with the new benchmarking requirements that were a  part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan? Local Law 84, new legislation passed in 2009,  required all of the city’s private buildings of over 50,000 square feet to obtain benchmarking and energy  audits by an August 1, 2011 deadline. That includes most co-op and condo  buildings. Read More

Bayside, Queens

By Liam Cusack

 If it weren't for the man-made boundaries, Bayside, situated on the northeastern  edge of Queens, could be considered a Long Island town. Its manicured lawns;  sometimes tasteful, sometimes gaudy home design; and the profusion of white  kids going for the gangsta-hard thing would feel at home in the Five Towns (a  grouping of Nassau County towns from Cedarhurst to Woodmere). Read More

Greening NYC

By Stephanie Mannino

 The concept of 'greening' has become so firmly entrenched in our national  discourse over the last few years, it's hard to imagine a time when recycling,  clean energy, and reducing our carbon footprint were novel ideas with just a  few voices championing their development. But that's exactly what the U.S.  Green Buildings Council (USGBC) has been doing since the organization’s founding in 1993. Read More

Grounded for Life

By Debra A. Estock

 Most cooperatives and condominiums in New York City traditionally own both the  building and the land around it. There is, however, a real estate scenario  where the cooperative (and in rare instances, the condominium) owns the  building, but not the land on which it sits. Read More

Older & Wiser

By Yvonne Zipp

 Not so long ago, the idea of a 'retirement community' conjured images of elderly  folks in cardigans playing shuffleboard, or perhaps enjoying a placid round of  bingo in the dining hall. As the country's population ages however, ideas about  life—and quality of life—after 50 are evolving.   Read More

Too Much Stuff

By Lisa Iannucci

 In March 1947, a group of nearly 600 onlookers gathered on the sidewalk in front  of the home of bachelor brothers Homer and Langley Collyer on Fifth Avenue and  128th Street in Manhattan. Residents of the neighborhood had speculated and  gossiped for years about the two eccentric shut-ins and their crumbling  brownstone, which was rumored to be crammed floor-to-ceiling with treasures and  curiosities collected by the Collyers over the decades. Read More

Valued Volunteers

By Liz Lent

 Living in a condominium community means working together. Cooperation and a  spirit of volunteerism are visible every day in community gatherings, board  meetings, even in the scheduling of time on the tennis courts. The men and  women who volunteer their time to work as part of board committees play a large  role in ensuring that the community functions smoothly and as a whole. Read More

Green Savings and Incentives

By Liz Lent

 In an era of tight budgets and growing green consciousness, more co-op and condo  communities than ever before are moving toward energy conservation and  sustainable resources. For those residential buildings lucky enough to stand  tall in New York, an extraordinary number of resources exist for them to make  drastic changes to the way they consume energy, including education, training,  networking and even financial assistance available through a broad network of  green organizations and programs. Read More

Look Out for Old Man Winter

By Keith Loria

 The sun is hot and people are thinking about beaches and cooling off in pools  and air conditioners, and surely the last thing anyone wants to think about is  that brutal winter of snow and ice we just had. Read More

Submetering Your Building's Electricity

By Raanan Geberer

 Some multifamily buildings have direct metering—the utility owns each apartment’s meter, and each resident pays directly to the utility based on an individual  utility rate. Others don’t have electric metering of individual units—the entire building is charged as a whole. This is known as master metering. Read More

Blowing Hot or Cold

By W.B. King

 The cost of producing energy is on the rise, a seemingly never ending ascent  that places big heating and cooling bills in the hands of building owners.  These costs are then passed down to residents. As a result, many boards are  searching for ways to reduce energy expenditures. For some, cogeneration is the  answer. Read More

Green Buildings

By Raanan Geberer

With the rise of environmentalism and recycling, and the renewed emphasis on energy efficiency since the 1970s energy crisis, has come the idea of the “green building,” which are buildings that actively conserve energy. The idea first took hold in the commercial and institutional sectors, but is now gaining strength in the residential sector, including multi-family housing. Read More

Hidden C of O Items Can Cost Big

By Alyssa D. Sandman

Prior to giving owners or shareholders consent to seek work permits from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), condo and co-op boards should review their buildings' Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) for record of Class B or rooming units. Boards should also do so prior to pulling DOB permits for work in common areas. Records of such units on the C of O—regardless of whether they actually exist—may delay or even prevent outright the issuance of work permits, or may cause the placement of a “Stop Work Order” on previously issued permits. Read More

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