The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Green Buildings in NYC

Realistically, since most people in the Tri-State can use mass transit for most of their transportation, rising oil prices will most affect the NYC area first in home heating costs. Home heating oil prices have tripled since 1999 and so has natural gas. One advantage New Yorkers have is relatively smaller living spaces and more dense housing made of stone and brick which makes more efficient use of heating than old wooden houses in the suburbs.

For those who own their house are in a co-op or a condo situation, expect that you will probably have an increase in your common charges this winter as fuel prices increase. One suggestion to lock in prices now before they increase later this year is to sign yourself or suggest it to your building up for the NYPIRG Fuel Buyers Group.

For those of you renting, like me, we don't have to pay directly for fuel, but don't be surprised if the heat is a little lower this year than last.

As a result of this, I've been thinking about finding more efficient buildings in the city that will be able to weather the winter a little better than some of the older less efficient buildings. Two large scale residential buildings that are listed on the Green Home NYC site are The Helena and the Solaire which both offer a wide array of environmentally friendly amenities from energy efficient electrical systems (including solar panels) and appliances to high performance windows and water capture and reuse systems. I am investigating how much higher rents are at these places.

Another model that may be more realistic for the rest of low rise NYC is the building recently constructed at 228 East 3rd Street which has many of the same amenities in a smaller building which only has 22 apartments.

I will try to find some more of these and find out the relevant rents for them. I suspect that many New Yorkers would be willing to pay more in rent to live in a more eco-friendly building. Eventually as heating and electric prices rise, real estate companies may have wished they had started retrofitting some of their old buildings with these efficient systems.

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