Home sales are down, transfer taxes are up, and more regulations are rolling out daily. But there are still plenty of ways to make a buck in this town
Given today’s tightening margins, saving money may be just as lucrative as making more of it. Under the city’s version of a Green New Deal, landlords who invest in cutting carbon emissions are poised to profit in the long run. Paying extra for more efficient equipment today will avoid fines down the road—and reduce power costs in the short term. That means if a boiler dies, wise property owners should “spend a little more money on a new one that improves efficiency,” advised Jeffrey Perlman, president of Bright Power, which specializes in green retrofits.
Another cost-cutting option, especially for the roughly 80% of city buildings that are steam-heated, is to install temperature-controlled radiator covers. The galvanized- steel insulators designed by Radiator Labs, for instance, trap heat until a thermostat activates a fan, which then blows the hot air into the room. Residents can set each radiator at a different temperature, giving them less reason to cool off by opening windows. Buildings typically cut their heating costs by 25%, said Radiator Labs founder Marshall Cox, and its sensors can help figure out where else in the building money is flying out the window.
But for the biggest savings, builders can turn to so-called passive house design, which reduces energy use by 75% compared to conventional construction, while adding from zero to 10% to building costs, according to the experts at 475 High Performance Building Supply. The relatively modest increase comes partly from more builders using the sort of materials, such as triple-pane glass, that go into passive house design and make the buildings virtually airtight. But it’s also because it doesn’t take a lot to heat or cool a passive house building.
“You size your mechanical systems based on how much heating and cooling your building needs,” said Asok Thirunavukarasu, a passive-house designer at Manhattan architectural firm Paul A. Castrucci. He thinks the added cost could be held to 5%: With airtight buildings reducing energy demand, “mechanical systems become much smaller.”
— Matthew Flamm
Read the full article on the Crain’s New York website.