Change is good, as the saying goes. And it’s even better when that change both saves money and helps the environment. Sometimes, though, change can be difficult. That’s especially true when it affects the places we live and possibly impacts our wallets. This is why residents can be a bit reluctant when their board or management announces a shift to greener living, a change that inevitably will help save energy and improve living conditions but may also cost a few dollars to get the ball rolling.
For management, the key to a successful transition often rests with how well they can persuade residents to champion the change. With the right facts at their disposal, that effort should be relatively painless, especially when homeowners begin to see the benefits of lower energy costs and a healthier building environment.
Why Go Green?
From Governor David Paterson to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others, New York’s elected officials have been active in their support of moving the city in a greener direction. This has been evident in the number of initiatives as well as local and state enterprises established in recent years to help reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce energy dependence. Part of that ongoing effort has focused on the greening of residential buildings.
“We have a very efficient transportation system,” says Tom Lynch, director of external affairs for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). As a city, though, “that means that a much heavier portion of our carbon emissions are coming from buildings.”
This carbon footprint is comprised of energy usage, among other factors. For example, if a 50-story residential building is drawing its energy from a coal plant upstate, that counts toward the footprint—as does the use of oil for heating and any other emissions that might be emanating from the structure.