Turn crisis into opportunity: How NYC Building Owners can use Smart Building Technology to meet the City's new building emission limitations

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To compensate for the lack of action taken by the federal government, many major cities in the US are taking matters into their own hands in the fight against global warming. New York is one of the pioneering cities of this movement. New York’s billions of square feet of private real estate accounts for 70 percent of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. To tackle this problem, the local government approved a revolutionary Climate Mobilization Act on April 18, 2019 aimed to reduce NYC’s carbon emissions, primarily by cutting power and fuel consumption.

The Act sets limits on emissions of residential properties based on occupancy, class and other factors. Inability to confine energy consumption within these limits will result in significant fines after it takes effect in 2025. 

The Mayor’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor, Daniel A. Zarilli recently tweeted, “we’re advancing a program of deep energy efficiency retrofits for our own buildings, leading by example as the rest of the city is now mandated to do, for its biggest, most polluting buildings.” Following this statement he stated their goal to divest the city from fossil fuels and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. While the plan is being praised as a big step towards reducing the City’s carbon footprint, there are many concerns about its potential costs and overall feasibility.

Many building-owners worry the new law will negatively impact their business. But there are a few strategies that will help buildings deal with the new regulations. Among them, the most efficient and viable solution is to install energy-saving upgrades and smart building control solutions. These smart technologies utilize data to optimize your buildings’ energy use, allowing you to monitor and control your building’s energy consumption from a secure central network. 

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Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, estimated that retrofitting the city’s existing buildings to meet the new standards will still cost owners upward of $4 billion. Nevertheless, forward-thinking developers understand the long-term returns that smart green-building solutions can provide. Smart home technology has been proven to shorten sales cycles and increase high-end property values. More importantly, increased energy efficiency means reduced utility costs, saving you money in the long-run. These developers view technology as an investment rather than an expense.

Emission limits will be calculated based on the area and category of the building. Exceeding the designated limit, each building will be fined $268 per metric overage annually. At this time, only about 20% of buildings exceed the initial carbon limits, so in the short-run the real-estate market will not have a lot of trouble adopting the new laws. However, restrictions will get tougher in the second phase of the act which goes into effect in 2030, putting nearly 75% of NYC’s existing buildings in excess of these limitations. Developers and property owners would be wise to start planning their upgrades now. 

Luxury residential buildings usually have the highest emission rates and will therefore be hit hardest by the imposed limits. A prime example of this is Trump Tower, which according to ALIGN-NY emits more carbon than 92 percent of city buildings. At Techmenity, we know that luxury and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Technology provides energy-saving solutions that can be applied at any stage of a property’s lifecycle; whether developing a new property, or repositioning a new address. 

At Techmenity, we also strive to be responsible citizens of this planet. By increasing energy efficiency of homes and offices, smart technology is helping us build more sustainable cities. We support the city of New York’s climate campaign and are proud to be a part of the change. Our company works with, developers, property owners, architects, and management companies to design and build sustainable, cutting-edge connected buildings. Whether developing a new property or repositioning an existing address, by implementing smart building and energy management technologies, Techmenity is showing developers that they can do good by their tenants, the earth, and their bottom line.