Advisory Role

Peter Funk Advises Mayor's Carbon Challenge to Residential Co-ops and Condos Program

NEW YORK, NY (June 18, 2013) — Peter V.K. Funk, Jr. is advising the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability on the development of a new, voluntary energy-related program in multifamily apartment buildings, the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge to Residential Co-ops and Condos. The goal of the challenge is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by co-ops and condos in ten years, which builds on similar, existing PlaNYC programs for universities, hospitals and companies with office space in NYC.

NYC buildings’ energy use contributes approximately 75% of the city’s GHG emissions, one-half of which is attributed to residential buildings. Co-ops and condos represent 17% of residential square footage. Reducing their energy use would result in achieving significant reductions in energy use, and numerous opportunities exist to increase the efficiency of these buildings. NYC’s first benchmarking report showed that the highest energy-consuming residential buildings consume nearly 4.5 times more energy than their energy-efficient counterparts.

The Residentail Co-op and Condos program will target building management firms. Participating management firms will identify co-op and condo buildings to include in their Mayor’s Carbon Challenge portfolio. To be included in a portfolio, a building will have to commit to reduce emissions by at least 15%. Building management companies participating in the challenge are to monitor energy efficiency and energy conservation improvements in participating buildings based upon whole-building data for electricity, steam and natural gas use together with heating fuel oil purchases.

Opportunities to increase energy savings by reducing energy use include energy efficiency measures such as:

  • upgrades to outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • installation of energy efficient lighting and controls
  • improvements to the building envelope.

Case studies from NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program routinely demonstrate energy savings of 30% or more from these and other strategies, generating thousands of dollars in cost-savings as a result. In addition, more than 1,200 co-op and condo buildings still burn heavy heating oil in NYC. Switching to cleaner burning heating fuels such as sulphur No. 4 or the ultra-low sulfur No. 2 heating oil or natural gas will be another effective way to cut emissions from these buildings.

Funk is co-founder of the energy law boutique Funk & Zeifer LLP based in New York City.