Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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For Your Building
Recycling, 'Green' Goals, Bedbugs

Published: Autumn 2008

Community Environmental Center's construction material salvage program, Build-it-Green! NYC (BIG!NYC) has launched a new initiative. Since 2005, the organization has promoted recycling and reuse by accepting donations of materials otherwise headed for landfills and selling them at its warehouse in Astoria. Last spring, BIG!NYC expanded the scope of this program by offering a removal and deconstruction service. During or prior to the demolition phase of a remodeling, BIG!NYC will come to the apartment and remove items that can be reused. Items such as cabinetry, appliances, bathroom fixtures, lighting elements, even some flooring and paneling. The owner receives a tax donation receipt for the value of these items. For information contact Community Environmental Center's BIG!NYC by phone at 718 784-1414 or send e-mail to

President Clinton launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Êin August 2006 to make a difference in the fight against climate change in practical, measurable, and significant ways. ÊIn its first phase, CCI serves as the implementing partner for large cities around the world that have pledged to accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC, issued in 2007, is a comprehensive strategy to upgrade the city's infrastructure, improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers and and reduce dependence upon carbon fuels.

Buildings are responsible for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in most cities ÊRetrofitting public and private buildings to incorporate more energy efficient products, technologies, and systems can significantly reduce energy use and pay for itself through energy cost savings. CCI has developed best practices in energy performance contracting, Êwhich will be of interest to New York buildings and the professionals who help them to upgrade systems for maximum energy efficiency (see page 5 for NYSERDA incentives).


Helping others often makes us fell better. Just in time for the holidays, here is an innovative way to do good : philanthropy on a shoestring, an ideal way to continue to make contributions to your favorite cause even in hard times. Perhaps this opportunity will be of interest to your shareholders and unit owners :

More than 60,000 nonprofits have partnered with a new Yahoo-powered search engine called, and an on-line shopping mall, to enable their supporters to generate donations just by searching the Internet or shopping online. What makes the system so compelling is that it doesn't cost the users a thing. It's philanthropy on a shoestring!

Consumers are helping their favorite causes by shopping at where they can choose from more than 700 top online retailers including Target, Apple, Macy's, Amazon, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Orbitz among others. The shopping experience and the prices are exactly the same as going to the retailer directly, but by going through GoodShop, a percentage of the purchase price is donated to the user's favorite cause.
Similarly, with every search conducted on, approximately one penny is donated to the user's favorite charity. It's used exactly like any other search engine and the pennies add up quickly. To learn of organizations using GoodSearch, contact to request a list.

Bedbug infestations are causing stress, discomfort and expense in housing nationwide. Bedbugs are small and hardy; they have infiltrated and infested homes, ships, hotels, everywhere! They are especially insidious in multiple dwellings where they can easily travel from unit to unit undetected. The banning of harsh pesticides such as DDT and the increase in global travel are credited with fostering the exponential increase in bedbug infestations in recent years. =

The common bedbug, or Cimex lectularius is a wingless, reddish-brownish, oval, flattened creature. The larvae are no larger than a speck of dust, and the adults may grow to three-sixteenths of an inch. A female can lay up to five eggs a day, and hundreds in her lifetime; these eggs are virtually invisible.. These hatch in 7 to 14 days. Bedbugs are nocturnal predators that emerge from mattresses, furniture, woodwork and even wall sockets to feed on warm-blooded animals as they sleep. Activity tends to peak around 3:00 to 4:00 am. In the morning, their victims may have red, itchy welts, and tiny red stains or brown droppings may be visible on bed sheets. Three to ten minutes of feeding time can sustain a bedbug for several months to a year before it needs to find new blood and eat again.

DO NOT DELAY! Prompt action is essential when dealing with bedbugs. The sooner an infestation is detected, the sooner it can be curtailed, controlled and eliminated. Whenever the presence of bedbugs is even suspected, shareholder and unit owners must notify building staff and management and participate in following proper protocols. Every object in the affected area must be carefully isolated and treated so as not to spread the infestation. Exterminators trained in bedbug control will be essential to proper completion of the task of identifying, isolating and eliminating all bedbugs. Repeated visits will be necessary to ensure that no dormant creatures remain.

PROPER PROTOCOLS ARE ESSENTIAL Under no circumstances should any clothing, objects, containers -- anything that might house bedbugs or their eggs -- be thrown in the garbage, as this will only spread the infestation.

The apartment where an infestation is suspect must essentially be sealed and inspected and properly exterminated. Any clothing that may be affected must be washed and dried on the hot setting in the dryer or dry cleaned after notification to the cleaner that bedbug infestation is suspected. Mattresses and furniture must be treated specially. In some cases, certain objects will have to be removed and disposed of, using proper protocols to encase the mattress or cushion or couch.

ADJACENT APARTMENTS But the process is not complete at this point. Despite everyone's best efforts, the bedbugs may have found their way to neighboring apartments, above, below and to all sides of the affected unit. Proper preventive protocol is to 'box in' the area surrounding the affected apartment to try to protect against further bedbug infestation. This can be done by preventive extermination with the same targeted chemicals in neighboring apartments above, below and on all sides. An interesting alternate approach has also been used with success. Dogs are now trained to detect the presence of bedbugs, in the same manner as canine drug or bomb-sniffers. These four-footed detectives can patrol an infested apartment to help determine whether the bedbugs are to be found in just one room or area or whether the entire apartment must be treated with appropriate chemical pesticides.

CANINE INNOVATION These bedbug sniffing dogs can also visit the surrounding apartments to see if the infestation has spread. Today, many hotels routinely have canine bedbug finders discreetly sweep the building for the earliest possible detection of the presence of bedbugs. Their services cost far less and are less intrusive than preventive chemical extermination as it enables the building to target just the affected areas for chemicals and for control protocols. The dogs can conduct follow-up inspections to verify that the infestation has been completely conquered, but this visit should be many weeks after the exterminator's final treatment, since the dogs cannot distinguish between dead bedbugs and live ones.

COMMUNICATIONS CHALLENGE New York City treats bedbug infestations as Class B violations, and, when cited, building owners are given 30 days to remove the problem, or face possible action in Housing Court. Naturally, a cooperative or condominium will move swiftly to deal with any report of bedbugs and will do its best to halt the spread of an infestation quickly. This will require the cooperation of all neighbors of the affected unit, and is best done through discreet building notices that do not seek to place blame, but that stress the urgency of obtaining access to apartments for preventive inspection. In a large cooperative or condominium, the board and management will have to make decisions as to whether to limit notification to just those units that may actually be affected.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Multiple dwellings in New York City are responsible for providing their residents with a vermin free environment, which makes the exterminator visits the responsibility of the cooperative or condominium. However, each affected shareholder or unit owner will also incur considerable cost in dealing with the contents of the apartment -- cleaning or properly discarding infested clothing, mattresses and furniture, etc. (bedbugs have even been found in an alarm clock!)

HARDY INSECTS Today, there is a limited number of effective ways to eliminate bedbugs. And the real hurdle in getting to these pests is their size, or lack thereof. Bedbugs can fit in places that are hard to reach even for an exterminator. They can lurk in headboards, picture frames, under box springs, and inside electronics. Multiple treatments are generally required to prevent bedbug infestations from recurring. Residents of the affected apartment with tendencies to allergies, should leave the area before spraying is done and should learn the name of the chemicals used, so that if they have a subsequent reaction they can be specific when seeking medical help.

MORE INFORMATION The City's Department of Health offers guidelines for recognizing and dealing with these pests; information on bedbugs can be found on the DOH posted on its website at
At CNYC's 28th Annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 16th at Baruch College there will be exhibitors who deal with bedbug infestations. The Conference brochure is inserted opposite page 8 of this Newsletter and a complimentary ticket to visit the exhibit area has been printed on the back cover. It will admit you to the exhibit area (not any of the workshops) between the hours of 8 AM and 3 PM. Simply snip this coupon and present it to Security at Baruch and then at the Conference level.


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