A new study highlights what many New Yorkers already know: apartment buildings often distribute heat unevenly causing many residents to crack a window and waste energy.
In order to get heat distributed throughout an apartment building, steam boilers kick into gear and heat rises in the building leaving many at the top no choice but to open their windows. With Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 this building waste must be addressed.
A new study written by Energy Efficiency for All says cutting back on energy waste could be addressed with a couple simple fixes. Installation of a plate in the valve of a radiator to slow the release of steam, adding insulation, installing temperature sensors, and adding a control knob on each radiator would all go a long way in making them more efficient. While this seems easy, as noted in the New York Times, getting access to resident’s apartments is often the hardest part.
Despite the potential logistical difficulties, these upgrades could lead to huge savings. At 460 Second Avenue in Manhattan, 95 percent of the apartments have been retrofitted and energy consumption plummeted. With apartment buildings contributing one of the biggest shares of carbon emissions in New York, it’s important to address these easy fixes quickly.
As the New York Times article notes: New York City’s sustainability plan, “One City Built to Last,” sets a goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by nearly 3.4 million tons a year by 2025, the report says. “It is difficult to imagine an economically viable pathway to 2025 or 2050” in reaching the city’s carbon reduction goals, the report says, “that does not address stream distribution systems” in residential buildings.
Now that some solutions have been identified, let’s hope some of these upgrades can be implemented soon!