Published: Winter 2005
The extremely high cost of energy and the unpredictability
of its future cost are of great concern in cooperatives
and condominiums today. Energy issues plague the budget
planning process, with many New York buildings considering
a second — or even a third — year of fuel
surcharges to bridge budget gaps that they will incur
if inclement weather or additional increase in the cost
of oil, gas, or power foil current budgetary planning.
In addition to prudent budgeting, there are many measures
that a cooperative or condominium can institute to mitigate
energy expenditure while maintaining comfort for building
residents. New York buildings are notorious for being
over heated. City law requires a reasonable level of heat
from October through May, namely:
When the outside temperature falls below
55o between 6 AM and 10 PM, an indoor temperature of 68o
must be maintained, and when the outside temperature falls
below 40o between 10 PM and 6 AM, an indoor temperature
of 55o must be maintained.
Because conditions will differ in different parts of
a building, to ensure 68o in the coldest rooms (or 75o
in the apartments of residents who typically complain
if its any cooler), buildings tend to provide heat round
the clock in the mid 70 o range, producing so much warmth
that residents typically turn off most of their radiators
and many keep windows open to cool their homes. In extreme
cases, air conditioners are employed to restore a comfortable
There is no reason for your building to throw away energy
in this way. Setting back the boiler to heat the building’s
coldest rooms to 70o can bring considerable savings in
fuel this winter. Your super should be encouraged to maintain
the heating system in peak condition. This includes regular
cleaning of the boiler and burner, and maintenance of
steam traps and radiator valves.
The current widespread awareness of high energy costs
will help the Board as it works to educate building residents.
The building newsletter should explain that the heat is
being turned down to save energy dollars. It should encourage
residents to support fuel conservation:
1) by checking their apartments to remedy drafts and
caulking spaces around windows and door
frames and installing door sweeps to block drafts from
corridors will help make an apartment more weather resistant.
plastic internal storm windows can be
installed to seal windows that will not need to be opened
again until the spring.
2) by fostering positive reactions to lowered
inviting the building super to visit
any apartment that feels cold. He will bring a thermometer
to check the actual temperature and will help the resident
locate drafts and remedy them.
drawing window shades, drapes and curtains
at night to conserve heat and opening them in daytime
to allow sunlight to penetrate.
developing reliance upon shawls, sweaters
and sweatshirts on a cold evening rather than demanding
using humidifiers to raise comfort
levels in the dryness of winter.
The board can report the positive results of the conservation
effort (in reports of less fuel used than last year
or less fuel used per degree days).
The generation and transmission of electricity have become
increasingly costly, and State deregulation programs provide
little opportunity for savings in the purchase of power.
Instead, we must look to conservation and to the time
of power use to effectuate savings.
Whenever possible, fluorescent lighting should be substituted
for incandescent bulbs that require far more power. This
should be the rule in all building corridors and public
areas. Current technology now makes available fluorescents
that produce warm light in a wide array of tones. The
building newsletter should encourage residents also to
change to fluorescents for energy conservation.
New appliances should all bear the Energy Star label
that ensures that they will draw a minimum of power. In
buildings that purchase electricity in bulk through a
master meter, the Newsletter can also encourage residents
to run their dish washers and washing machines during
hours (generally in the middle of the day or after 10
PM) when other electrical use is low in the building.
Because electric bills contain a “demand component’
where the peak half hour of use in the month determines
the demand rate, any measure that helps flatten the demand
curve helps reduce electric costs.
INCENTIVES & EDUCATION
The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
(NYSERDA) provides funds for energy conservation projects.
Representatives from NYSERDA will describe many of these
at a workshop at CNYC’s 25th Annual Housing Conference
on Sunday, November 13, 2005. You can also get information
from the NYSERDA website at www.NYSERDA.org or by calling
Is Your Cooperative or Condominium
a CNYC Member?
Does your building have its "Dot-Coop"?
Register by clicking on this button:
850 7th Avenue, Suite 1103
New York, NY 10019-5230
Fax: (212) 580-7801