New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Radiator Cozy Saves Co-Op $37,000, Cuts Carbon Emissions

Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Local Law 97, radiator Cozy, co-op and condo boards, building carbon emissions.

A radiator Cozy at the Fordham Hill Oval co-op in the Bronx (photo courtesy Kelvin).

May 14, 2024

For co-op and condo boards struggling to cut their buildings' carbon emissions enough to comply with Local Law 97, the solution might be a prosaic piece of equipment that's hiding in plain sight: the humble radiator.

Tired of having to open windows in overheated apartments in mid-winter — and literally watching money fly out of those open windows — the board at the 175-unit co-op at 2 Charlton St. in Greenwich Village has embraced a new technology called the radiator Cozy. Manufactured by Brooklyn Navy Yard startup Kelvin, these "smart" radiator covers trap steam heat, then use sensors to release heat based on the desired temperature of the room. When the room needs heat, the fan within the Cozy circulates hot air through the room. The trapped steam can also be sent to other parts of the building that may need heat — a welcome fix for the many New York City buildings where some apartments are sweltering hot while others are underheated.

More than 60% of the units at 2 Charlton St. have installed Cozys, Crain's reports, and the building has recouped its investment, having saved $37,662 in fuel costs and 168.2 tons of carbon emissions. That's enough to bring the building into compliance with Local Law 97. As a bonus, apartments are now comfortable.

“It's New York City, life isn't exactly perfect, but this is a major step in the right direction,” says Chris McGinnis, a member of the co-ops board who first brought the Cozy to the attention of his fellow board members in 2021.

The Cozy costs about $850 per unit, including installation, but there are ways to shrink that number. The cover qualifies for incentives in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, and combined federal and state incentives cover between 50% and 70% of the Cozy’s cost, making the potential price tag of each radiator cover around $200.

As Habitat reported recently, there's another funding option. The board at the 1,130-unit Fordham Hill Oval co-op in the Bronx became the first property in the city to take advantage of a no-money-down subscription model offered by Kelvin in conjunction with ClearGen, part of a portfolio set up by the Blackstone investment management company to fund clean energy projects. The co-op will pay for 2,400 Cozys  through a  monthly $15 fee per unit for 15 years. The cost will be offset by the estimated 24% savings in annual energy bills, amounting to more than $170,000.

“Based on future revenue from projects, ClearGen will fund the entire project upfront,” says Marshall Cox, Kelvin’s CEO and founder.

Already stretched thin by numerous capital projects, including electrical upgrades, facade repairs and the installation of smart building-wide sensor technology, the Fordham Hill Oval co-op board jumped at the chance to cut carbon emissions by installing radiator Cozys without putting a penny down.

"That,“ says board treasurer Blandon Caenave, "was why board members were convinced it was the way to go."

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