New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Get Busy

Avoiding a big fine. St. James
Tower Condominium, a 32-story
building located near Sutton Place
in Manhattan, faced a serious penalty
for failing to meet Local Law
97 carbon-emission caps—about
$140,000 per year. We started
working closely with a building
engineer, Robert Germain, who
designed a system that removed
two 41-year-old boilers. Those
boilers had been converted from
oil to natural gas about 10 years
ago, but they were already obsolete
because of the excessive
amount of fuel they consumed.
We then installed a new Scotch
Marine boiler that was one-third
the size of those two boilers
combined, along with a separate
electric boiler to handle the heat
and hot-water requirements for the
upper floors of the building.
We’re now installing a 65-kilowatt
cogen system, which will
produce all of the hot water for
the building. The boilers will be
a backup for hot water for the
upper zone and for the lower zone
when the cogen is having issues.
And we have window heat pumps
as well as ones inside the units,
which use hot water in the wintertime
and cold water in the summertime
to produce the hot and
cold air as needed.
A big ticket. The cogen and boiler
installation ran about $1.7 million,
and the building did an assessment
for over $2 million. We got
a $540,000 federal tax credit,
which the building can use or sell.
NYSERDA is still calculating
what it is going to give the building,
but it will be a substantial
credit. We’ll also get money from
Con Edison because now we’ll
have a reverse meter, so energy
created by the cogen will go back
to Con Edison and further reduce
the bills for the building. This
project has a return on investment
of about 25%. So that the payback
will be between four and five
years, which is fantastic.
Get busy now. I think that anyone
who has not already started
preparing for Local Law 97 could
have some serious financial
repercussions, so it’s important
for boards and managers to be
aware of these funding sources.
It’s important to start early and
complete the job as quickly as
possible. The takeaway here is to
get busy and have a consultant or
managing agent who understands
what they’re doing.

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