New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

TOWER EAST

In 2011, the Upper East Side co-op Tower East took a major step toward improving its energy efficiency. It had always used a master-meter to track electricity usage, dividing the electric charges among residents based on their shares. The problem with relying only on a master-meter is that, because they never see an electric bill, residents tend to waste electricity. By installing a meter in each unit, residents know what they use and, consequently, have to pay more if they forget to turn their lights off. So how do co-op and condo boards convince them to switch from master meter to submeters?

A major challenge when submetering a building is that workers must get access to each apartment. If crews have trouble doing that, it can delay the entire process, adding to the final cost. Installing submeters in 132 units, as was done at the Upper East Side co-op Tower East, can take two months, as resident schedules need to be accommodated and damage to paneling and walls might need to be repaired.

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