Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Current Articles
Green Issues
Green Supers; Legislation; Funding opportunities

Published: Autumn 2009

The key to successful implementation of ‘green’ programs in any building is a knowledgeable staff committed to making them work. The Thomas Shortman Fund, the joint labor-management fund which provides training to 32BJ members, has been greening New York City’s buildings since 2005 by providing intensive training courses to building service professionals. This year the Training Fund is expanding the scope and impact of its training with ambitious plans to train 1,000 green superintendents in each of the next several years to help foster a greener New York City. This 40-hour course provides building service workers with the latest, state-of-the-art practices in energy efficient operations. The curriculum trains workers to identify and address wasted energy, create a green operating plan and perform cost-benefit analysis for building owners and managers. Upon completing the course, superintendents take a test to qualify for the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Multifamily Building Operator Certification.

Energy savings from buildings is the lowest-cost method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. In addition, greener buildings will help make a tangible difference in reducing both energy use and operating expenses.

Property management companies are putting together classes of 12 to 15 supers to take this course together. It will also be available as part of the curriculum at the Thomas Shortman School at Union headquarters. Your building and your super will benefit from this program. For more information contact your management company or visit the website

The City Council is considering legislation that will require all buildings—residential and commercial-- larger than 50,000 square feet to have energy audits every ten years and to implement all of the measures that the audit determines to have a payback of 7 years or less. CNYC has objected to this bill for two major reasons, while acknowledging that it is well intentioned.

There is considerable cost associated with an energy audit. CNYC believes that now is a particularly difficult time to impose additional cost on housing cooperatives and condominiums whose resident owners may be ill able to afford any increased costs. Then, requiring that all measures with paybacks of 7 years or less be implemented is objectionable in several ways. It usurps the right of the board set its own priorities for its cooperative or condominium – what if the board prefers to start with a major project with a ten year payback, or, from an opposite point of view, what about a cooperative or condominium whose owners are all senior citizens of an advanced age and on fixed incomes who have little interest in investing in measures that will not pay for themselves in savings for seven long years.

CNYC has repeatedly asserted that incentives are greatly preferable to mandates in encouraging energy conservation in our city.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus Plan) funds have been distributed to the states, with each state developing its own programs for making these funds available. Here, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has weatherization funds available for individuals and for multiple dwellings including cooperatives and condominiums. The Weatherization Assistance Program assists income-eligible families and individuals by reducing their heating/cooling costs and improving the safety of their homes energy efficiency measures. Energy efficiency measures performed through the program include air sealing (weatherstripping, caulking), wall and ceiling insulation, heating system improvements or replacement, efficiency improvements in lighting, hot water tank and pipe insulation, and refrigerator replacements with highly efficient Energy Star rated units. Both single-family and multi-family buildings are assisted. Household energy use reductions and resultant energy cost savings are significant, with an average savings in excess of 20%. Individual households apply by contacting a local provider. These are listed by county on the NYSERDA website at under the ARRA information, or call the NYC NYSERDA office at (212) 971-5342. .



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