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What the Empire State Building is telling us about sustainable development in NYC!

The Empire State Building in New York City is literally a brilliant symbol of sustainability. The lights that define the skyline of the building are driven exclusively by green energy at night. Given the status of the landmark as a recognized global icon, its change to sustainability is a clear sign of the silent development of New York City into an environmentally friendly hub for innovation. properties for sale in qatar

In January, when the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), which owns the skyscraper and 13 office buildings in the town, signed a multiannual wind power contract with Green Mountain Energy and Direct Energy, it was the nation's largest full-renewable energy user. In all, these contracts will provide electricity of 300 million kilowatt-hours over 10 million square meters of New York property — enough to illuminate each house in the State of New York for one month.

The ecological impact will be significant. "By extending its Renewable Energy commitments to its entire portfolio, ESRT will avoid the production of some 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide which will remove all New York City taxis for an entire year," the Washington Post stated.

The Empire State Building sheds light on the future of New York City. But will the rest of the city, especially its residential property providers, follow?

It's not too optimistic to think, yes, yes.

Understanding NYC Transition to Sustainability Residential Real Estate

Making a green transition offers significant cost advantages. A MacArthur Foundation research brief notes that the refurbishment of all households in the USA could save up to 8 billion dollars a year and reduce power consumption by 15 percent. Changing to renewable energy could help in particular family owners who serve low income families reduce their unpredictable costs and contribute to climate change.

In addition, multi-family buildings are probably better off than single-family houses by sustainable upgrades.

As writers of the MacArthur Foundation explained in a short letter, 'Multifamily buildings are an important goal for rehabilitation because they are typically old buildings and have less efficient cooling and heating systems, older windows and other energy-intensive features. However, relatively few such buildings are updated because the owners — and the banks that lend them for upgrades — have little evidence of the cost efficiency of investments."

But in recent years, real estate investors in NYC have a real impetus for sustainable development: regulating.

Regulation is the start of sustainable development in the multi-family sector of NYC

In 2019, the Climate Mobilization Act was adopted in New York which introduced a series of policies aimed at making the city's skyline the most sustainable in the world. Two of these policies — local laws 91 and 95 — require the inclusion of a solar panel system or green roof for all new buildings and for those undergoing substantial renovation. The choice of options depends on their preferences and logistics; if the design of a building excludes a green roof, manufacturers have to install solar panels.

These laws are not entirely universal – certain public properties and affordable housing complexes have been explicitly exempted. But some property managers choose to upgrade to reduce emissions and save residents on their utilities anyway. Even before the Climate Mobilisation Act came into force, affordable housing providers led to the cost of sustainability.

In 2016, the Manhattan-based WE ACT Environmental Justice organization collaborated with Solar one, a non-profit organization providing technical aid to solar projects in New York, to launch the Solar Uptown Now (SUN). To date, SUN has brought solar panels to 11 Manhattan buildings and trained more than 100 solar plant residents. Co-ops often have high energy costs due to the volume of power generated in common areas like laundry rooms, boiler rooms, elevators and lighted corridors.

"Solar for homes with a single family is very easy — you can do it in one day if you want to," said Anika Wistar-Jones, Solar One's affordable solar program manager. "Solar installation in New York is more complicated and solar installation still more complicated in multi-family buildings in the city. And solar for affordable multi-family homes in New York City is the most complicated, so we do what we do."

Solar is increasing in New York City, not only because sustainability is a necessity for new buildings but also because investors in residential real estate recognize that sustainability can improve cost savings and experience.

What multifamily real estate owners can do to make retrofits easier?

Today it is easier than ever to shift to sustainability. New York property owners interested in solar energy can initially evaluate their property for solar energy by inspecting the NY Solar Map.

Owners can also use local governments to support and provide financial support for sustainable retrofits. For example, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is partnering with energy experts, who can provide guidance to qualified family owners through each step of installing energy-saving upgrades and green power systems. NYSERDA also organizes incentives in its Multifamily Performance Program to specific construction projects and heat pump upgrades (MPP).

Solar communities are also an option. New Yorkers living in a building without solar panels can get electricity from panels located outside of their homes under this arrangement. This model can be used by co-op organizers to set up solar panels on the building and to enroll people into an affordable solar plan. This model can help coop managers quickly recover investment costs and provide residents with value.

A renewable future is not far from New York. The Empire State Building has already shown that it is possible to rely on full sustainable power — real estate investors and owners now have only to follow suit.


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