The UN Climate Action Summit – 2019

The 2019 UN Climate Action Summit was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 23rd, 2019. The target of the summit was to advance climate action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also aimed to prevent the mean global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. Sixty countries were expected to “announce steps to reduce emissions and support populations most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

 

The Zero Carbon Buildings for All Initiative

 

Zero carbon buildings (ZCB) are integral to developing a sustainable future. Buildings – of all types – are responsible for nearly 30% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately the reduced energy demand in buildings also represents the most cost-effective way to tackle climate change. Better buildings can add important co-benefits, such as improving health and quality of life for residents and workers. The Zero Carbon Buildings for All initiative, proposed for the 2019 UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, unites leaders across sectors in a strong international coalition to decarbonize the building sector and meet climate goals. Zero Carbon Buildings for All’s core components include securing commitments from two audiences:

  • National and local leaders – to develop and implement policies to drive decarbonization of all new buildings by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050
  • Financial and industry partners – to provide expert input and commit $1 trillion of market action by 2030

These commitments join and complement the corporate real estate and sub-national commitments galvanized by partner World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

 

What Are Zero Carbon Buildings (ZCB)?

 

ZCBs are buildings with a net zero amount of carbon emissions associated with their annual energy demand. ZCBs achieve this by:

  • Implementing high levels of energy efficiency
  • Meeting energy needs with on- or off-site renewable energy sourcing

In some cases, buildings can also partly achieve net zero emissions through carbon offsets, which often come in the form of renewable energy investments elsewhere. Offsets, however, are only recommended for cases in which a 100% renewable energy supply is not feasible.

While in the past the ZCBs have been seen as a target only wealthy countries could reach, there are policy pathways today to reach zero carbon buildings regardless of location or development status.

 

 

How Do We Achieve ZCBs?

We have the technology to achieve ZCBs in nearly every context; what national and local leaders need are policy pathways and financing solutions. There are multiple ways to achieve ZCBs through combinations of energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon offsets. They are found in the following order of priority:

Zero Carbon Buildings

The more carbon avoided through efficiency, the better. Energy efficiency is generally the cheapest approach and the remaining energy needs can then be met with greener energy supply.

In addition to the set of principles shown above, municipal, national and state governments have different roles and degrees of influence in achieving ZCB pathways. These guiding principles lay the groundwork for a menu of pathways to arrive at net zero carbon for individual buildings, districts and building portfolios – turning carbon neutrality from an aspiration into a target well within reach. If you want to know more, or if you would like to make your building Zero Carbon, get in touch with us today.

 

Carbon Emissions

 

There is so much talk about carbon emissions in today’s world, in relation to climate control and global warming.  There are many ways to decrease these emissions in our daily lives.  There are both natural and human sources of carbon emissions, natural sources include; decompositions, ocean releases and respiration.  Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

 

Carbon emissions contribute to climate change, which can have serious consequences for humans and their environment.  According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, emissions in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), make up more than 80 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted in the Unites States.

 

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United States CO2 Emissions

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency attributed recent decreases to a reduction in emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which was a result of multiple factors including switching from coal to natural gas consumption in the electric power sector; warmer winter conditions that reduced demand for heating fuel in the residential and commercial sectors; and a slight decrease in electricity demand

 

Carbon affects the climate according the the theory, carbon dioxide controls temperature because the CO2 molecules in the air absorb infrared radiation.  The CO2 and other gases in the atmosphere are virtually transparent to the visible radiation that delivers the sun’s energy to the earth.  Rising CO2 concentrations are already casing the planet to heat up, Greenhouse warming doesn’t happen right away because the ocean soaks up heat.  This means that Earth’s temperature will increase at least another 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) because of CO2 already in the atmosphere.

 

Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

  1. Water Usage
  2. Reuse and Recycle
  3. Clean Energy Sources
  4. Insulate Your Home Properly
  5. Energy Star Appliances
  6. Adjust Lighting
  7. Moderate Thermostat
  8. Add Solar Panels
  9. Fly Less
  10. Walk More – Drive Less
  11. When Driving – Don’t Speed!
  12. Avoid Traffic
  13. Eat Locally Produced and Organic Food
  14. Cut Out Beef and Dairy (Food produces about 8 tons of emissions per household, or about 17% of the total. Worldwide, new reports suggest that livestock agriculture produces around a half of all man-made emissions.)

 

Call us for more information on how to do your part in decreasing your carbon emissions to build a better environment, (212) 889-6566

Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP)

 

The Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP) is a plan implemented by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) in 2014, to improve new construction and renovations.  To proactively address energy waste in its existing structures, a problem that had been a difficult task because of the enormous amount of buildings inside of NYC.  After some digging, the city’s square footage is highly concentrated, (in less than two percent of its properties) two percent translates into 15,000 properties over 50,000 square feet, which account for almost half of NYC’s total energy consumption.

After these findings, NYC executed the GGBP, whose objective is energy efficiency in these large existing buildings. Local Laws were put in place as an energy conservation effort that has been industry-transforming, and internationally recognized.  GGBP is designed to ensure that information about energy is provided to decision-makers and that the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures are sought after and maintained.

The GGBP was the most comprehensive set of energy efficiency laws in the U.S., (prior to the NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act) targeting New York City’s largest existing buildings which constitute half its built square footage and 45 percent of citywide energy use.

For these buildings, the policies require an annual benchmarking of energy and water use with public disclosure(Local Law 84 of 2009); an audit and retro-commissioning every ten years(Local Law 87 of 2009); for non-residential spaces, upgrades for lighting to meet the energy code (Local Law 85 of 2009); and the installation of electrical meters or sub-meters for large tenant spaces (Local Law 88 of 2009).

Goal: Reduce GHG Carbon Emissions 30% by 2030.

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Increase Your Building’s Value

Benefits:

Environmental:

  • Encourage the reduction of water use
  • Inspire the use of renewable resources
  • Reduce the use of oil and gas

Community:

  • Create thousands of construction-related jobs
  • Building owners benefit from energy savings (Those that comply in advance will reap benefits earlier)
  • Enhance Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Improve public health by reducing air pollution
  • Boost energy technology
  • Enhance indoor temperature
  • Regulate lighting
  • Improve indoor environment
  • Lower demand for electricity = Citywide electrical systems are more reliable

 

For more information contact us at (212) 889-6566

NYC Local Law 55

& Tenant Safety

 

New York City tenants can breathe easy because of Local Law 55 that was put into effect in January of 2018.  This Local Law requires all multiple-dwelling property owners in NYC to investigate and remove all indoor health hazards which trigger asthma like, mold, rodents and cockroaches.  Landlords must also apply safe and successful measures to ensure that their properties remain free of indoor health hazards.

The NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) is responsible for carrying out Housing in New York.  This is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.  The agency’s mission is to promote the quality and affordability of the city’s housing and the strength and diversity of its many neighborhoods.  HPD strives to achieve this mission by:

  • Preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants
  • Developing new affordable housing
  • Enforcing the Housing Maintenance Code
  • Engaging neighborhoods in planning

In NYC tenants have many rights relating to the safety and quality of their housing.  HPD works to protect these rights by preventing harassment, displacement, and ensuring low-income tenants facing legal proceedings in housing Court have universal access to legal representation.

 

Maintenance Requirements by Landlords

  • Gas
  • Heart and Hot Water
  • Indoor Allergen Hazards (Mold and Pests)
  • Bedbugs (Local Law 69 of 2017)
  • Lead-Based Paint (Local Law 1 of 2004)
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Window Guards (Local Law 57 of 2011)
  • Basement and Cellar
  • Signage, Filling, and Notices
  • Outlet Covers in Public Areas
  • Fire Safety (Local Law 10 of 1999)
  • Stove Knob Covers

 

Violations For Noncompliance

Properties are subject to the penalties described below unless violations are corrected and the correction is certified to the Department by the dates indicated on the front of the Notice of Violation(s) mailed to the property owner or, in the case of heat and hot water violations, from the date the violation is posted at the building.

Class A Violations (Non-Hazardous)

  • Failure to post a notice regarding the housing information guide: $250 each
  • All other Class A violations: $10-$50 each

Class B Violations (Hazardous)

  • $25-$100 each, plus $10 per violation per day

Class C Violations (Immediately Hazardous)

  • Not related to heat, hot water, or illegal devices or lead-based paint:
    • Buildings with 5 or fewer units: $50 per violation per day
    • Buildings with more than 5 units: $50-$100 per violation plus $125 per violation per day
  • Heat and hot water violations:
    • $250-$500 per day for each violation from and including the date the notice is posted at the building until the date the violation is corrected
    • $500-$1000 per day for each subsequent violation at the same building that occurs within two consecutive calendar years or, in the case of (hot water) during two consecutive periods of October 1st through May 31st (heat)
  • Illegal Device on a central heating system:
    • $25 per day (from the date the violation was posted on the building until the illegal device is removed) or $1,000, whichever is more
  • Lead-Based paint violations:
    • $250 per day violation, up to a maximum of $10,000
  • False Certification: (can result in criminal charges)
    • $50-$250 for non-lead violations
    • A minimum of $1000 with a maximum of $3000 for lead violations.

 

Need to Correct a Mold Violation?

If your inspection reveals the existence of mold in your building, you’ll need to take immediate steps to correct it so that you’re not issued a violation.  HPD has very specific criteria for whom can perform a remediation for mold.  According to Local Law 55, a mold hazard must be assessed and remediated by both the NYS licensed Mold Assessor and a NYS licensed Mold Remediator.

 

Contact The Cotocon Group for more information, (212) 889-6566.

Bills Within The Act

 

By now almost everyone has an idea about what the Climate Mobilization Act, i.e the Green New Deal entails.  It’s all over the news and social media, but what’s not there is the fine print.  The laws within the Act are precisely the most important pieces of the entire puzzle.  There are several bills or Local Laws in the Green New Deal,that we at The Cotocon Group have carefully put together for you.

 

Local Law 97 of 2019:

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Starting in 2024, buildings over 25,000 square feet will be mandated to meet carbon emission limits.  Buildings that exceed their designated Energy Use Intensity (EUI) limits will face steep penalties, depending on their facility.  There are initiations of emission trading systems to be updated by 2021 as well as renewable energy credits (RECs) limited to NYS electric generation for up to 10% of compliance with the emission limit of a building.

 

Local Law 96 of 2019:

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Voluntary Finance Program

Establishes a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, i.e PACE.  A sustainable energy loan program which is a voluntary financing mechanism that will provide low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency projects. P  PACE will help building owners finance energy efficiency projects that are required by the new legislation in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions citywide.

PACE financing will be repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill and can be used for commercial, nonprofit, and residential properties.

 

Local Law 94/92 of 2019:

Requirement of Green Roofs on NYC Buildings

Requires the inclusion of a green roofing zone in new construction and for buildings undergoing certain major renovations.  This roofing zone must be comprised of a photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system (Solar Panels) or a green roof.  Buildings with greater than 200 square feet of usable roof space must install a minimum of 4kW PV electricity generating system.  If a building is unable to install a PV electricity generating system, a green roof system must be utilized.

 

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NYC Green New Deal

 

These package of bills aim to significantly reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions and fight against climate change.  The NYC Climate Mobilization Act includes local laws, introductions, and resolutions.  We can only hope that these bills as well as property owners compliance will lead to a productive and positive outcome for our planets future.

 

The Cotocon Group believes firmly in a sustainable environment and works side by side with developers,  building owners, and property managers to guide them into compliance.  For any questions or information, please call us at, (212) 889-6566.

What is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is the process of identification, survey and the analysis of Energy usage in a building. It is done to optimize the energy usage of the system i.e. Keeping the outputs the same while reducing the energy consumption. A successful energy audit results in energy and cost saving while also reducing the overall carbon footprint.

During an energy audit, health and safety are the primary concerns, while reducing energy consumption and maintaining human comfort. An energy audit seeks to prioritize the energy uses according to the most cost effective technique while keeping in mind the comfort levels.

 

Purpose of Energy Audits:

  • Verify that a facility and its systems meet the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
  • Enhance building performance by saving energy and reducing operational costs
  • Identify and resolve building system operation, control and maintenance problems
  • Reduce or eliminate occupant complaints and increase tenant satisfaction
  • Improve indoor environmental comfort and quality + Reduce associated liability
  • Document system operations
  • Analyze the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) personnel training needs and provide such training
  • Minimize operational risk and increase asset value
  • Extend equipment life-cycle
  • Ensure the persistence of improvements over the building’s life
  • Address code issues

 

HOME ENERGY AUDITS in New York

A home energy audit is a service where the energy efficiency of a house is evaluated by a person using professional equipment (such as blower doors and infrared cameras), with the aim to suggest the best ways to improve energy efficiency in heating and cooling the home.

A home energy audit is a process of analysis carried out by a professional. A professional with various equipment to suggest the best methods of energy usage.

Various factors, such as the local climate, the number of residents and building orientation are considered before making final suggestions. The equipment that is in place is checked for optimal performance as well as the life of building.

 

The Cotocon Group has energy audit professionals with vast experience. Use of technology such as thermal simulations and the use of experience goes a long way in creating the best audit report.

In New York City, laws like the Local Law 87, require buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. to have an energy audit once every 10 years. The Local Law 87 requires a licensed Professional Engineer to oversee the work and The Cotocon Group handles these regularly. Similarly, Local Law 84 states that as of May 1, 2011 all buildings 50,000 square feet and larger must be ENERGY STAR Benchmarked and report their building’s energy & water use. These laws are the results of New York City’s PlaNYC.  o reduce wasted energy used by buildings.  hich are the greatest source of pollution in NYC.

The Cotocon Group can manage Local Law 84 requirements and start saving you money on building operations, making your building more competitive. We have a group of experienced professionals qualified to carry out these tasks.

 

Benefits of Energy Audits

 

 

 

Greater Comfort

Energy Efficient homes are inherently comfortable because of better insulation, better cooling and fixed heating leaks.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

During an energy audit, focus is also given on how the indoor air quality can be increased. The ventilation and Air Conditioning is scrutinized for proper operation.

Greater Building Durability

One of the major aims of an energy audit is to ensure building longevity and durability. Attention is paid to leaks, moisture levels, ventilation and sun-proofing so as to maintain the buildings health.

Higher Resale Value  

With the energy prices increasing all the time, the value of energy efficient buildings always ensures high market value of your house as much as 20%. A little investment now ensures your home is valued higher than its counterparts down the road.

 

HOW TO GET AN ENERGY AUDIT DONE?

The Cotocon group caters to Energy Audits, LEED Certifications, ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Certifications and more. Get in touch with the Cotocon Group for a detailed explanation on how you can get your home LEED certified. You can also call us at (212) 889-6566.

 GOING GREEN WITH LEED

 

What Is a Green Building?

Green building simply refers to a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle.  From design, construction, operation, maintenance and renovation.  It is designed to have a positive effect on the environment and its residents.  Green buildings have also proven to be very cost effective, in some cases provided financial and other rebates upon going green.

 

LEED Certifications: A Way To Build Green

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  It is one of the most popular Green Building Certification programs used worldwide.  Developed by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

Any Building can be a Green Building, ranging from a house to a large factory.  The good thing about LEED is that it has designed its guidelines for both, new buildings and existing buildings.  LEED constantly comes up with rating systems customized according to the type of building, for example, the guidelines for a home will be designed keeping in mind the residents comfort and optimal usage of the resources.  A large building has to comply with more stringent guidelines to reduce its negative effect on the environment.

 

LEED Green Homes

Simply put, a green home uses less energy, water and natural resources compared to a standard home.  It is more efficient, and thus creates less waste.  In addition, a green home can be a much healthier habitat for the people living inside.

LEED Certification: A building is categorized into 4 types of certifications according to how well they perform on the set guidelines.

Points are awarded under six credit categories:

  1. Sustainable Sites
  2. Water Efficiency
  3. Energy and Atmosphere
  4. Materials and Resources
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality
  6. Innovation in Design.

According to the total score, a building is then certified as

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver: 50–59 points
  • Gold: 60–79 points
  • Platinum: 80 points and above

 

Benefits of a LEED Green Home Certification:

 

LEED Green Home Benefits

LEED Green Benefits

 

Now the question arises, what are the benefits of going for a LEED certification and spending money on a consultant? Well, here are just some of the benefits:

1- Savings: You will be saving money!

LEED-certified homes are:

  • Built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that the home can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage; Designed to minimize indoor and outdoor water usage.
  • Predicted to use an estimated 30-60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code.

Based on some studies, these homes could potentially see energy reductions of:

  • Up to 30% (for LEED Certified homes)
  • Approximately 30% (for LEED Silver homes)
  • Approximately 48% (for LEED Gold homes)
  • 50-60% (for LEED Platinum homes)

 

**Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings and $54.2 million in waste savings.

Several government bodies provide financial and other type of benefits to Green Building owners. Financial, extra Floor Area Ratio or tax rebates are just some of the incentives.

 

2- Value: Green Homes Create Value

Researchers found that between 2007 – early 2012, the value of homes in California with a green certification label was an average of 9% higher than comparable, non-certified homes.

Consumers ranked green/energy efficiency as their top requirement for their dream homes.

  • Green homes sell at higher prices and faster than comparable, conventional homes. In 2011, the Earth Advantage Study found that, on average, green-certified, new homes sold for 8 percent more than non-certified green homes. Additionally, resale prices of existing green homes were about 30 percent more than conventional homes.
  • Today’s tenants understand and are looking for the benefits that LEED-certified spaces have to offer. The new Class A office space is green; lease-up rates for green buildings typically range from average to 20 percent above average.

 

3- Well Being 

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is two to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified homes are designed to maximize the quality of indoor air and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. They require proper ventilation, high-efficiency air filters and measures to reduce mold and mildew.

Each LEED-certified home undergoes onsite inspections, detailed documentation review and performance testing to ensure the health and safety of home dwellers.

 

4- Saving The Environment

The LEED Certified Buildings have an overall positive impact on the environment. The guidelines ensure that the impact of the building is positive as compared to other buildings.

Some green homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy by using alternative sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Similarly, there are other sustainable methods that can be adopted to ensure the positive effect on environment.

Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year; Green Buildings use fewer resources and minimize waste. LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and by 2030 that number is expected to grow to 540 million tons.
So you will be saving costs, creating more value and doing your bit for the environment in the process.

 

How to go about a LEED certification?

The Cotocon group caters to LEED Certifications,ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Certifications and more. Get in touch with the Cotocon Group for a detailed explanation on how you can get your home LEED certified or call us at (212) 889-6566.

 

NYC Climate Mobilization Act

What is it?

In NYC on April 18 2019, the Climate Mobilization Act was passed in the hope of reducing the city’s built environments gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.  New York City is calling this the “Green New Deal”, the law will take full effect in 2024.

Climate Emergency: A cascading breakdown of the climate system due to unsustainable extractive economic and social forces, posing an existential risk to humanity and life on earth.

Annual energy and water benchmarking data is required for these buildings in order to assess their usage levels.  The NYC Local Laws such as; Local Law 133, Local Law 84 and Local Law 87 (which had become Pilars throughout the country) have been put in place to audit these levels of usage for the past years.  The NYC Climate Mobilization Act is the aggressive action of passive results to make a change.

For those structures that can’t be brought up to code on schedule, their owners can offset a portion of their emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits.  If an owner still isn’t in compliance, they can be hit with an ongoing fine based on their actual emissions versus the cap.

 

 

How much do NYC buildings waste?

According to the Urban Green Council, NYC produces 50 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, and buildings account for approximately 67 percent of that—meaning buildings over 25,000 square feet produce 35 percent, or about 13 million tons of carbon dioxide, a year.

— That’s a lot.

How do buildings waste energy?

  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Inefficient Equipment
  • Leaky envelopes

 

New York City Climate Mobilization Act

Benefits:

  • Job opportunities for clean energy industries
  • Decrease in carbon emissions
  • Sustainable environment
  • Green solutions
  • Cleaner NYC

Concerns:

  • Expense to building owners
  • Tenant retention
  • Time & effort
  • Annual violations
  • Replace coal, oil, & natural gas (electricity & transportation)

The Cotocon Group is an impartial third party consulting firm that specializes in helping you optimize your energy consumption while reducing your energy costs.  We are energy management specialists who have extensive expertise in large-scale contracting and construction.  In addition, because we have a clear understanding of the financial benefits of energy efficiency.  We stand out as a leader in the green building community.  Our team consists of Architects, Engineers, Certified Energy Managers, Certified Building Commissioning Professionals, and LEED Accredited Professionals.  Our company is here to help benchmark, audit and get your building up to compliance with NYC regulations.  Call us for more information, (212) 889-6566

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