Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Energy Issues

Published: Summer 2001

On July 16, 2001, Mayor Giuliani signed into law Intro 802 which promotes energy conservation efforts by making the installation of electrical submetering and master-metering equipment eligible for J-51 tax incentives. This acknowledges the value of master metering to aggregate building power to benefit from the best possible rates. Master metered buildings have one meter to measure all electricity used in the building. They purchase energy at a wholesale rate, which varies based on time of use, with the highest rates charged for electricity used during peak periods.

The buildings which install a master meter already have individual meters measuring use in each apartment. Astute managers recognize the importance of shifting use patterns. They understand that they can achieve significant savings when they educate staff and residents to shift use from peak to off peak hours. As the building takes over reading these meters and billing residents based upon use, saving will be threefold: resident will pay only for electricity actually used in their apartment; the cost of electricity will be based on the bulk rate through master metering; and conservation measures flattening the peak will significantly reduce the rate paid at highest use.

If significant reductions in peak use can be achieved citywide, the older, less efficient energy plants which are currently maintained to meet peak demand for energy, could be retired and and replaced by smaller, more efficient, cleaner power plants.

At CNYC's 21st annual Conference on Sunday, November 11, professional engineer Herb Hirschfeld will conduct a seminar on electrical submetering and mastermetering. Mr. Hirschfeld has access to incentive funding from NYSERDA for these energy conservation programs. To register for his class, consult the Conference Brochure inserted opposite page 10 of this Newsletter.

By 2004, every building in the city of New York will pay for water based upon use. After more than a decade of meter installations, most buildings now have water meters. Upon comparing meter readings to their frontage charge, many buildings have chosen to be billed based on use, while others continue on the frontage formula, when it appears to be lower than the meter reading. These building must work to detect possible hidden leaks and to educate residents to conserve water, because the frontage option will be eliminated in 2004. Buildings that do not wish to be billed by meter readings can select a cap which is currently $420 per unit per year (and which will be increased by the same percentage as water rates each year). A prerequisite of the cap program is installation of low flow toilets and faucets throughout the building.
Buildings with high water use should study their situation now and determine whether the cap is most appropriate. Water conservation measures may bring the water bill into line.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Department Environmental Protection (DEP) are co-sponsoring water conservation seminars for building managers, superintendents, home owners and the public. All classes include a lecture on plumbing and heating systems and practical advice on how to save water and energy as well as water/sewer billing issues. Participants receive an extensive manual and readings which cover plumbing/ heating system maintenance and water/sewer billing issues. There is no charge for these classes, which are offered one Tuesday evening and one Thursday morning each month and at 100 Gold Street in lower Manhattan. For a schedule of these and other HPD classes call HPD's Training Unit at (212) 863-8830.

Engineer Herb Hirschfeld also has funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to expand and promote the utilization of cogeneration within the multi-family housing sector of New York, and specifically to cover half the cost of installing state-of-the-art pilot cogeneration equipment in a Queens co-op and to use the experience to develop a template design for use by similar buildings. The project is jointly sponsored by the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives, whose strong base of Section 213 cooperatives, built in the 1950's and 60's could all benefit from use of the template design. CNYC members of similar building characteristics would be able to adopt this template to their own use. The goal is to encourage manufacturers to design specific equipment suited to the needs of this type of residential building. The template would be suitable for buildings of 120 to 150 units which are currently master-metered; larger buildings could use multiple cogeneration units. It is anticipated that affordable cogeneration equipment suitable to the needs of smaller buildings will be developed once it is proven that a market exists for these products.

Cogeneration is the name given to the process of generating electricity for part or all of the building's needs; the heat generated in the production of electricity is used to heat domestic hot water, providing considerable savings for the building. Mr. Hirschfeld is also developing an informational package on the subject of cogeneration. CNYC will alert members when this information is available. For additional information about cogeneration or to e-mail questions to Mr. Hirschfeld, visit his website at


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