FirstService Residential's Sustainability Expo Stresses Capitalizing on NYC's Energy Efficiency Incentives Before They Expire
Incentive programs allow building owners to save thousands of dollars in operating costs while giving buildings a greener footprint
FirstService Residential, the premier property management company in the New York metropolitan area, recently hosted its Third Annual Sustainability Expo & Symposium. The multi-part event was held to provide board members, superintendents, resident managers, and property managers with critical information and practical solutions for increasing sustainability and efficiency in their multi-family properties.
“Every aspect of our Sustainability Expo was designed to illustrate how efficiency measures can not only deliver significant energy and maintenance savings to a property, but equally important, how these actions can also reduce a building’s impact on the environment while increasing property values and improving residents’ comfort,” explained Dan Wurtzel, President, FirstService Residential New York. “Our ultimate goal is to help ‘green’ the 500-plus properties we manage across New York City.”
Evening Session for Board Members
The expo was held in two sessions. On Thursday, May 15, FirstService Residential organized a panel discussion of green-minded industry experts exclusively for its co-op and condominium board members and building owners. The session focused on the New York City agencies that have developed energy efficiency incentive programs to entice multifamily buildings to reduce their carbon emissions.
The panel, which was moderated by FirstService Residential, comprised Michael Colgrove, Director of Energy Programs, NYSERDA; John Skipper from Con Edison; Jenna Tatum from the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge; and William C. Ragals, Jr., former energy attorney and Board President of The Strand Condominium, which is managed by FirstService Residential.
Among the most abundant incentive programs currently available to New York building owners is NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program (MPP), which allots building owners $500 to $1,000 per unit to help reduce energy use by 15 percent – “which is equal to about a 15 percent cost reduction,” said NYSERDA’s Colgrove. In addition, Con Edison provides rebates for energy efficient equipment and other incentives that can help fund up to 50 percent of a green capital improvement project. “Some programs have quadrupled the amount of programs and funding available,” said Con Edison’s Skipper. Each of the panelists stressed the importance of taking advantage of these incentive programs before they expire.
Ragals of The Strand explained that by taking advantage of NYSERDA and Con Edison incentives for an oil-to-gas conversion, his building was able to help fund the installation of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or co-generation system, that allows the building to produce energy at below Con Edison rates. “With the money that they gave us and the efficiencies that we received in operating expenses by switching to natural gas, the balance of our out-of-pocket expenses was recovered in about five months,” he said.
The panelists unanimously agreed on the importance of measuring how much energy a building uses, and how it compares to similar buildings, in order to identify which efficiency upgrades to undertake. To support this effort, “FirstService Residential provides each of our managed properties with an annual Energy Report Card that analyzes the property’s energy data and benchmarks it against similar properties,” adds FirstService Residential’s Wurtzel. “By using our advanced analytics, we are able to arm our clients with the information needed to seize opportunities and make decisions that make the most sense for their building.”
Morning Session for Building Staff
On Friday, May 15, more than 300 building superintendents, resident managers and property managers visited FirstService Residential’s midtown headquarters for day two of the event which included a supplier expo and seminar series. Presenters covered topics ranging from “Resiliency and Energy Savings Through Local Law 87” and “Cogeneration and Emergency Generators,” to “Efficiency Incentive and Rebate Programs” and “Green Training for Building Operators & Managers.”
In addition, demonstrations by nearly 30 suppliers covered a spectrum of goods, services, and technologies addressing sustainability. These ranged from environmentally friendly cleaning products, water management, and roofing systems, to efficient lighting, heating controls, pest extermination and solar and wind solutions. Also presented were clean fuels, tankless water heaters, combined heat and power (CHP), landscaping, car sharing, and all of New York City’s recycling programs.
More than $2,500 was raised through the purchase of homegrown herbs and plants at the events. Proceeds benefitted GrowNYC, a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City's quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations