Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Published: Spring 2008

Green Opportunities now abound to help New Yorkers make their buildings more environment friendly. The astronomical increases in the cost of oil and gas have compelled buildings to conserve where they can and to consider alternative energy sources when possible, Here are a few interesting alternatives:

Many cooperative and condominiums currently use No. 2 heating oil. B20 biofuel is an alternative worth considering; it contains 80% petroleum diesel or heating oil and 20% pure biodieselÐmade of vegetables, usually corn). B20 has about the same BTU content per gallon and can fuel the same systems as No. 2 oil, but incentive programs make B20 less expensive in New York and it improves performance, reduces maintenance costs, and is better for the environment.

B20 burns cleaner than fossil fuel and leaves less carbon residuals that normally build up on fuel pumps, nozzles, filters, strainers and the like. Over time, this can reduce service calls and diminish annual maintenance costs. The sulfur content of B20 fuel is significantly less than that of No. 2 heating oil, and if B20 is burned instead of No. 2 heating oil, the hydrocarbon particulates released are about 50% less. Overall, its use is a sensible step to diminish costs, greenhouse gases and reliance on foreign oil while improving air quality.

In addition, to incentivize the market for bioheat in New York State, the budget for 2008-2009 includes a home heating fuel tax credit of up to 20 cents per gallon of bioheat used.designed to produce immediate positive effects on air quality.

The tax credit for bioheat will help stimulate a market for clean home heating fuel. On average, bioheat is 20 cents more per gallon than home heating fuel. This state tax credit will make the price of bioheat competitive with the traditional fuel. Consult for tax credit information.

Generating electricity from solar panels installed on roof tops is not a new idea, but it is gaining appeal for condominiums and cooperatives as the cost of fossil fuels continues to skyrocket and the desire to mitigate rising electricity costs grows. State and federal grants and tax incentives make the costs affordable: although the payback period is generally 7 to 12 years, solar panels usually come with a 25 year warranty and most will last much longer, promising low cost production of electricity for many years after the original investment has been recovered.

Condominium and cooperative buildings can also reduce their electricity costs and go green by installing wind energy turbines on their roofs. Converting to wind energy will reduce dependency on natural gas and other fossil fuels. The technology is already available in relatively small units suitable to rooftop installations. The wind energy turbines could be located where they would not be visible, and if the energy generated exceeds the needs of the building, the excess could be sold to the electricity utility.

Siting a solar collector or a wind energy project on the roof top requires careful planning. It would be wise to employ an energy management company familiar with local codes and with design requirements. Incentive programs and energy loans are available from a variety of sources, including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); visit their website at

Early this year, the City Council passed Intro. 630, which mandates the establishment of a storm water management plan by the end of the year and encourages the use of green design elements to mitigate overflow problem in the City's overburdened sewer system. Green design elements, which mimic nature's own filtering systems, will help manage runoff in existing streets, parks, and other public spaces and in existing and new development projects.

Although water quality in the harbor has improved significantly over the last few decades, most of the waterfront and its beaches are still unsafe for recreation after it rains. New York City's outmoded sewer system combines sewage from buildings with dirty stormwater from streets. As little as one-tenth of an inch of rain can overload the system, causing raw sewage to overflow into the harbor.

Green infrastructure blends simple common sense and innovative technology. Green roofs, smarter design of tree plantings, porous surfaces for parking lots and roads, and other creative uses of urban landscaping all help rainfall evaporate or soak into the ground, rather than pouring into the nearest water body and causing our city's overburdened sewer system to overflow with raw sewage.

Green roofs have proven effective in storm water management and also in insulating buildings to improve coolness in summer and heat retention in winter. Properly installed, they also prolong the effective life of the roof. The State Legislature is considering tax credits for green roof installation and funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) can also help defray costs. CNYC conducted a seminar on Green Roofs in April and will hold another at the 28th annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 16, 2008 at Baruch College. The Conference brochure will be sent to CNYC members and published on the CNYC website in August.

Million TreesNYC is one of the 127 initiatives in Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC. Launched in 2007 by the New York City Parks Department and New York Restoration Project. It calls for a collaborative effort of the city and private individuals, companies and organizations to plant one million new trees throughout the city in the next ten years. This 20% increase in New York's environmental asset of street trees, park trees and trees on public, private and commercial land is a pleasant and cost effective way to improve our city. Trees help clean the air and reduce the pollutants that trigger asthma attacks and exasperate respiratory diseases. They cool our streets and sidewalks on summer days. Trees increase property values and encourage neighborhood revitalization.

Every New Yorker can participate in Million TreesNYC individually or through their businesses, their cooperatives or condominiums, their schools, religions organizations, community groups., etc. Individuals can volunteer to plant trees, and can register for workshop training. Groups can sponsor plantings. To learn more, visit

On December 4, 2007, Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of Notify NYC, an emergency public messaging program that enables registered New Yorkers to receive timely emergency-related messages via email, text, and telephone. Since December, information about significant emergencies in any of the four pilot areas - Lower Manhattan, the northeast Bronx, southwest Staten Island, and the Rockaways - has been transmitted to those who subscribe to this service. Anyone interested in receiving emergency updates can register for Notify NYC at www.

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives is conducting a census and economic impact study of all types of cooperatives in the country, including those in the housing sector. All interested housing cooperatives are invited to participate in this census.

The purpose of the project is to research the economic impact of cooperatives. The census seeks, among other things, some basic economic information about each participating cooperative. Then, a sampling of housing cooperatives will be sent a slightly longer survey with more detailed questions.

Your participation is important. This analysis is the first of its kind in the United States, and covers all cooperative sectors of the U.S. economy. By participating in this study, you will help depict the size and economic impact of member-driven organizations in the United States.

To complete the questionnaire please go to: It should only take about 10 minutes to complete; and you may want to have a copy of your cooperative's 2007 annual financial statement on hand as you do.
You can return to this website as many times as you would like while completing the questionnaire. Once you have finished entering the information, click on the "Ready to Submit Survey" button on the last page. This indicates you have completed the questionnaire.

All information you provide is confidential and will be used only for research purposes by the UWCC, its contractors, and collaborating researchers. No data will be released that will reveal the identification of any organization. For more information on the project please visit If you experience technical difficulties, please email us at Please include your name and the name and telephone number of your institution; this will help us quickly respond to your questions.

The City of New York worked for several years to revise the Building Code. Regulations have now been promulgated and the new law takes effect on July 1, 2008 It includes a complete revamping of testing and inspection procedures required for elevators, escalators and other vertical transportation equipment.

During 2008, the existing inspection and test procedures remain in effect. Beginning January 1, 2009, the old system of annual Local Law 10/81 inspections and two-year tests will end and be replaced with a combined annual inspection and test for all elevators and escalators. This must be performed every year between January 1 and December 31 and must be witnessed by two separate parties, as licensed contractors are no longer permitted to witness a test. When a licensed maintenance contractor performs the test, a licensed third-party private inspection agency must be hired to witness it.


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