New York City May Pass Legislation that Could Reduce Its Carbon Output by 5%, Plus Tips for Greening Buildings

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that New York will try to pass legislation mandating environmental changes that could reduce the city’s total carbon output by 5 percent.The proposed legislation is aimed at getting significant-sized buildings to meet tougher energy requirements any time they renovate, to conduct an energy audit every 10 years, and to make energy improvements that will pay for themselves within five years. According to the city, the energy improvements could save property owners $750 million a year—assuming they upgrade everything from their lighting systems to boilers.Mayor Bloomberg’s latest initiative is part of his plaNYC, an effort now two years old to substantially reduce the city’s carbon footprint. Among the major points of the new proposal:A new energy code that must be met by existing buildings of 50,000 square feet (approximately equivalent to 50 apartment units) whenever they make reservations. This would go into effect in 2010.The requirement for an energy audit every 10 years, which would go into effect in 2012.A requirement for buildings to upgrade their lighting by 2010. In wake of this new initiative. Jerry Pindus, CEO of U.S. Energy Group. provided MHN with some tips to make buildings more energy-efficient:Reduce boiler run-time. Most boilers operate based on just the outdoor temperature. To avoid overheating your apartment building, you need to use both the outdoor temperature and indoor building temperatures. Energy management systems can cycle the boiler on and off, keeping the building at the desired indoor temperature, while also saving fuel. Service your heating system regularly. Some building owners wait until the boiler breaks down before they repair it. Use heating system indicators, such as the stack temperature or the boiler make-up water temperature, to identify inefficiencies and repair them before they become major concerns.Monitor your heating oil. Make sure to double-check your heating oil deliveries to prevent “short” deliveries, and check that your inventory matches your usage–this will help to detect major leaks. Compare and contrast. If you handle multiple buildings that are similar, you should compare the buildings in your portfolio and try to identify any buildings that have unusual metrics–for example, a very long run-time, a high indoor temperature, a high stack temperature, etc. Listen to residents. Most residents open their windows when the building is too hot, which is throwing money and carbon emissions out that window. Make sure you encourage your residents to tell you if their apartments are too warm. Then, you can correct the individual apartment’s problems and maintain the appropriate building-wide temperature, appropriate boiler run-time, and fuel saving.(Pictured Left to Right: Tom Scali, director of sales and business development for U.S. Energy Group, and Dan Gordon, minster mechanical sales, at the 2009 Chicagoland Apartment Association Trade Show and Education Conference on April 8th, 2009 at the Drury Lane Theatre and Conference Center in Chicago. Together they showed area owners and managers how to drive their portfolios more efficiently and save money on energy costs.)