Did you know that a incandescent light fixture replaced with a LED light fixture saves about 80% of energy consumption.
So while the world seeks some miraculous new source of energy, the rest of the world has discovered that ENERGY TECHNOLOGY is the new INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. Yes, the ability to use the energy resource we already have, but create efficiencies within these resources is where significant strides can be made to reduce consumption and ultimately benefit the quality of life on earth.
I have friends currently in NEPAL where the air pollution is chronic: A visit to this part of the world would convince anyone that we have a responsibility to clean up our environment, and FAST. We have addressed this issue before in LUXURYLETTER, so what can owners of New York real estate do to incorporate ET into their world to individually and collectively make a difference? Here is out list:
1) Refine your heating and cooling systems: Converting a building from oil to natural gas to supply heating is a big one. Balance distribution throughout the building so that some aren’t cold and others aren’t opening their windows in the middle of winter to release excessive heating. Window AC units are grossly inefficient…..yes, someone at Historical Landmarks thinks these antiquated systems are good for facades (are they blind, or do the rest of us agree window unit are HIDEOUS!) but they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Units that go through the wall can be better, or best is a central system for efficiency. Thermostats timed to reduce useage when not at home can make a huge difference too.
2) Soon the cost benefits of Solar and wind generated systems will become meaningful. Already SOLAR GLASS is on the horizon: Imagine replacing all the glass in a building so that it generates about 50% of the electrical consumption? Yes the costs to do this will be high, but what is the cost of air quality that is so foul it kills us? What is the cost of treating lung cancer or asthma?
3) Replace incandescent lightbulbs with LED lightbulbs: yes, they are expensive to buy, but in Manhattan lots of us can afford this, and the longterm benefits are huge. They last 25,000 to 50,000 hours while regular incandescent bulbs last 1,000-2,000 hours. We don’t want to even mention fluorescent bulbs because they emit a vile quality of light, although for utility closets or laundry rooms they are super-efficient and with a decent tint, somewhat acceptable for humans. Regular fluorescent makes humans look ugly and we should boycott them in living spaces.
4) As electrical vehicles hit the streets, our needs for more electricity will rise rapidly: we had better be prepared before the next ‘brown outs’….. We have clean nuclear, wind, solar, gas, etc: lets use it wisely.
5) Insulation: properly insulated windows are a huge energy saver. New York real estate is notorious for cheap, bad windows: its time to replace them and insulate them properly when installed. Additional insulation throughout apartments can double energy savings. Anything that is leaky or drafty is no longer charming: it is damaging.
6) Use what you need when you need it: leaving a host of appliances running while away or not in use consume electricity: new technology will help you manage this better, but simple fixes are easy too. Un-plug that appliance with the bright green light that runs regardless of whether its being used!
7) New construction that ignores green building technology will probably sell for less than those developed by smart developers who see that energy efficiency is not only good common sense, but also REALLY GOOD BUSINESS.
In New York we do have the wealth advantage: remember, its not about the cost of money, its about the cost to our health and the health of future generations. Big buildings are much more energy efficient than individual suburban homes, so in that regard we are ahead of the game, but many older buildings, or cheaply constructed buildings have to do their part. Stop talking, and start doing. LEONARD STEINBERG