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Co-ops and Condos, Like Restaurants, to Get Letter Grades

New York City

Letter Grades
Dec. 20, 2017

In a flurry of activity on its last work day of the year, the New York City Council on Tuesday passed several-housing related bills – including one that will require large co-ops and condos to post a letter grade that rates their energy efficiency. 

The bill, known as Intro 1632, was introduced by Manhattan city councilman Dan Garodnick, who will leave office at the end of the year because of term limits. The new law, which goes into effect in 2020, will require all buildings 25,000 square feet or larger to use their water- and energy-use data, now compiled annually under Local Law 84, to create a letter grade on their energy efficiency. The grades, similar to those in restaurants that reflect compliance with health regulations, must then be posted by all public entrances of the buildings. 

“This legislation will equip companies and individuals with the data they crave to make more informed decisions about the best place to buy or rent,” Garodnick said. 

Russell Unger, executive director of the nonprofit Urban Green Council, was among the first to applaud the new law. “Just as most people prefer to eat in A-rated restaurants,” Unger said, “we hope New Yorkers will prefer to live and work in A-rated buildings.” 

An early supporter of Intro 1632 was Danielle Spiegel-Feld, executive director of the Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law at New York University Law School. Writing in the New York Times, Spiegel-Feld noted that after the European Union adopted such a law in 2010, energy-efficient buildings have enjoyed a significant increase in value. “In Denmark, for instance,” she wrote, “properties with high grades have sold for an average of 10.1 percent more than low-rated properties.” 

Adds Donna De Costanzo of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “These grades will showcase energy-efficient buildings, which are not only better for the environment, but are better for New Yorkers’ wallets.”

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