Watts Up? New York City's Energy Incentives

Seasonal spikes in the prices of fuel, oil and gas rising, higher costs of electricity, the need to bring those energy bills down—your condo or co-op will likely feel all of these, especially if it has older boilers, appliances, and so forth. Thankfully, there are strategies out there to help you conserve energy, and there are agencies and other organizations that are only too glad to help.

At one time, energy costs were so insignificant that they weren’t even factored into building expenses. Then came the energy crisis of the 1970s, with its skyrocketing prices, and people suddenly became aware of the necessity to control power costs.

Soon, manufacturers began making energy-saving lighting devices (such as compact fluorescents), energy-saving air conditioners and boilers, occupancy sensors that turned lights or air conditioners off depending on whether the room was occupied, better insulation that saved on heating costs, and more.

Utilities began incentive programs for residences and businesses that used them. This reporter worked for the trade magazine Energy User News (now Energy and Power Management) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and put together charts with pages and pages of such programs sponsored by utilities across the country.

NYSERDA’s Programs

Today, in New York City, most, although not all, of these programs are sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Sometimes, building owners combine energy-saving strategies with “green,” or renewable-energy and non-polluting, strategies.

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