Energy Audit Legislation Aimed at Co-ops & Condos In the Name of Green

 Proposed legislation by the New York City Council to require energy audits,  while a nice idea, is extremely cost-prohibitive especially in today’s economy. The bottom line is that the spending proposed in this bill (Intro  967) will be taken straight out of the operating budgets of co-ops and condos  and not the city coffers.  

 Among the legislation’s provisions are that owners of buildings 50,000 square feet or more must retain  an approved energy professional to conduct the once-per-decade audit, which the  city will require of a specified 10 percent of affected buildings each year for  10 years. The audit would identify both “capital alterations of building systems involving the installation of new  equipment, insulation or other proven energy efficiency technologies” and “reasonable retro-commissioning and retrofit measures that would ... reduce  energy use and/or the cost of operating the building.”  

 Which co-ops or condos will be most affected by this bill? Not the Manhattan  high-rises recently built with fancy names and green roofs, but the garden  style and high-rise variety built a half century ago dotting the neighborhoods  of Queens and Brooklyn where many of the working class families of our city  live. And worse yet, you will have nothing to say about it.  

 Government-mandated spending, which was once the bane of local municipalities is now spreading to the  residential housing stock of our city. City legislators, many of whom I venture  to guess probably have never stepped inside a co-op, have sponsored Intro 967,  titled “Energy Audits & Retrofits.” This bill is being sold as an environment-friendly green bill but in my opinion  it will wreak havoc on co-ops and condos by mandating huge expenditures for  green projects. The bill is on the move and is scheduled for a hearing before  the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee in mid-July.  

 Intro 967, which is part of the Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s larger PlaNYC 2030, would require that all buildings including co-ops larger  than 50,000 square feet undergo periodic energy audits. These energy audits,  however, do not come cheap, and if one finds that your building is lacking in  energy efficiency and can be retrofitted to save energy with a project payback  period of seven years or less, then you have no choice but to do the project.  What about cost? It doesn’t matter. Does it save energy and will the project’s cost be paid back in seven years through savings? Those are the only determining factors that matter.    

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3 Comments

  • I don't think once a decade is unreasonable. You have to replace your boiler every twenty years anyway. If they are going to get you finiancing, and your payback is less than 7yrs, i don't see the problem. And if you had lower operating costs, would that not lead to lower maintenance.
  • Because government projects always cost more than envisioned. "Green" always means more. Former NY In CA knows it means $$$$ & is usually a diseaste.r
  • Associated Renewable on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:52 PM
    The legislation requires energy audits and improving the efficiency of antiquated mechanical systems in buildings, which provide serious potential for energy savings and cost reductions. Instead of focussing on mandatory enforcement, property owners should look at the law's effect on lowering utility bills and carbon emissions while improving operational efficiency. Utilities and agencies are also offering rebates and grants for equipment installations and energy- efficient upgrades. The payback on these measures are relatively low and the entire cost of your investment is usually recoverable within 3 years of implementation. Turning over to a macro outlook, over the long term PlaNYC will reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality (reducing healthcare costs for the public) and create thousands (if not millions) of jobs in the clean energy sectors.