It’s never easy to get people to do what’s good for them. No one wants to exercise or take cough syrup or lay off the T-bone steaks, even if they know life will be better when they do. For years, it’s been the same way with energy conservation. These days, though, with oil and gas prices soaring and headlines filled with talk of global warming, it appears the time has come at last to embrace the grown-up thing and do what’s good for us.
Here’s a little secret though: it’s not that bad. In fact, in the case of co-ops and condos, it’s actually quite good, bringing significant savings to the budget and creating a better, more comfortable environment for residents. It’s the metaphorical equivalent of that cough medicine that tastes good. And thanks to new technologies, government subsidies and helpful experts, conserving energy has never been easier.
These days, the hardest part is convincing people to climb on the bandwagon. With enough education and a few revealing glimpses at a profitable bottom line, that problem should be short-lived and your building can make the jump to conserving energy and helping the environment with nary a ruffled feather in sight.
A Penny Saved…
Sometimes it pays to do the right thing—and energy conservation is one of those instances. The most important point to remember, according to Alexander Roberts, CEO of Roberts GEOSystems in Pleasantville, is that “energy efficiency is not an expense, it’s an investment.” He adds that it carries a rate of return ratio that is better than any stock on the market. And, those rates of return can vary anywhere from 15 percent to upwards of 50 percent, depending on the changes made.
When it comes to reducing energy usage, “there’s a real benefit,” says Timothy Carey, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority. New York Power just completely renovated its White Plains office space—a retrofit that cost $3.5 million but is yielding a 50 percent annual reduction in energy costs. As former CEO of the Battery Park City Project, Carey oversaw the creation of the Solaire, the first “green” residential building in New York City. He knows first-hand the potential of a truly eco-friendly structure.