New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021




A Simple New Tool for Calculating Carbon Emissions

Bill Morris in Green Ideas on July 23, 2020

New York City

Climate Mobilization Act, building emissions, Carbon Emissions Calculator, Building Energy Exchange.
July 23, 2020

For the past four months, most co-op and condo boards have been laser-focused on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. But other concerns haven’t vanished. Chief among them is the Climate Mobilization Act, which will require many boards to reduce their building’s carbon emissions to increasingly stringent thresholds, beginning in 2024. The law’s goal is to help reduce citywide carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

To help boards get started on this daunting journey, the Building Energy Exchange, working in concert with the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and the engineering consultancy AKF Group, has put together a user-friendly computer tool that allows boards and their property managers to determine how much carbon their buildings are emitting now, how much they’ll need to reduce those emissions, and how much they’ll be fined if they fail to meet those thresholds before the deadlines in 2024, 2030 and 2035. It is estimated that about 80% of buildings will meet the 2024 threshold without performing any retrofits; but by 2030, that number will drop to about 25%, meaning that three out of four buildings will need retrofits in the next decade.

The Carbon Emissions Calculator (link here) helps the user perform this complicated math by following a few simple steps. First, you enter the building type and its square footage. (Only buildings larger than 25,000 square feet are required to comply.) Then, using annual energy benchmarking data gathered under Local Law 84, you enter the amount and cost of the building’s yearly energy consumption – electricity and gas, steam or oil. The calculator then produces maximum allowable carbon outputs and estimated energy costs for the three threshold periods – 2024-2029, 2030-2034, and 2035 and beyond. Finally, the calculator estimates the penalty for each period, if any, for boards that take no action to reduce their buildings’ carbon emissions.

“This is a natural first step for building owners and their managers who are aware of the Climate Mobilization Act but haven’t really gotten engaged yet,” says Will DiMaggio, programs associate at the Building Energy Exchange, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the impacts of climate change by improving the built environment. “This is the beginning of a process that’s going to be long-term.”

DiMaggio adds that there will be an online demonstration of the Carbon Emissions Calculator on Mon., Aug. 10 from 1 to 1:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session with the team that developed the calculator. Register for the demonstration by clicking here.

“Our mission in creating the Carbon Emissions Calculator is to help building owners, managers and other stakeholders get a sense of where they stand,” DiMaggio says. “By doing so, they’ll be able to engage in long-term planning.”

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