What We Heard: NYC Sustainability Summit

RDM was in attendance at the Bisnow 4th Annual NYC Sustainability Summit.  The event brought together leading real estate and environmental experts who analyzed the challenges and opportunities for firms looking to enhance their environmental policies.

The panel included specialists and directors from SL Green, Related, Honest Buildings, Brookfield Office Properties, Jonathan Rose Companies, Edwards & Zuck, Code Green Solutions and Con Edison.

• Katherine Kluefer (Con Edison) notes that ConEd’s Demand Response programs seek to lower the usage of electricity during peak hours and offer financial incentives for participants.

• Zoe Reich (Edwards & Zuck) believes CoGen solutions are a sustainable way to generate power, reduce emissions, and save money.

• Charlotte Matthews (Related) thinks full disclosure regarding material toxicity levels is extremely important however not a big focus yet in NYC.  She also sees too often oversized water and electrical configurations.

• Hudson Yards will have a large CoGen facility to support both residential and commercial facilities, a thermal loop, and energy center.  This set up will help regulate and distribute energy from a central location rather than each building having its own system.  The end result will be less energy consumption and cost savings.

• Jay Black of SL Green notes that LED lighting retrofits was the first step in SL Green’s sustainability plan which has thus far reduced risk and costs.  He also noted that the use of elevator screens is a good medium for educating tenants on sustainability.

• Wendy Rowen (Jonathan Rose Companies) mentioned you should start with the windows, roof, and building systems to create energy efficiencies.  She also noted that employing “gamification” with tenants to reduce energy consumption works.  For instance, they had a “Turn it Off Challenge” which produced favorable results and modified tenant behavior.

• Roman went on to say that she anticipates increasing levels of energy regulation and feels its prudent for owners to fully get onboard or their buildings will lose value.

• Christopher Cayten (Code Green Solutions) is seeing owners of all sizes placing a greater emphasis on energy star and benchmarking in NYC.

• Stefan Dembinski (Brookfield) hasn’t always seen LEED certification for buildings having a significant impact on leasing decisions for tenants. He also mentioned that there’s many green energy options tenants can take advantage of NYC. 

• Yusha Hu (Honest Buildings) thinks owners need to focus on sustainability to attract tech tenants to their buildings as this is important for the image of these companies.