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GREEN BIG APPLE: Death To Dirty Oils

New York
GREEN BIG APPLE: Death To Dirty Oils
Trucks are nothing compared to buildings. For one, we wouldn't trust an 85-story truck. But the point FS Energy and Cooper Square Realty CEO David Kuperberg was making (during a recent discussion onoil-to-gas conversions in NYC residential buildings) had to do withgreenhouse gas emissions.
FS Energy and Cooper Square Realty CEO David Kuperberg and Environmental Defense Fund attorney Isabelle Silverman
David with Environmental Defense Fund attorney Isabelle Silverman. A major focus in NYC is mandatory phasing out of dirty heating oils No. 4 and 6 (Local Law 43), led by initiatives like theGreener, Greater Buildings Plan, which affects 10,000 buildings. Converting to No. 2 oil reduces soot pollution by 95% and sulfur dioxide emissions by 65%; converting to gas changes those respective numbers to 96% and 99%. But the upfront cost of the retrofit is one of the biggest deterrents, he says: Some buildings have limited reserve funds, reluctance to increase carrying costs, and difficulty in borrowing funds.

Strand board prez Bill Ragals
The Strand Condominium on W 43rd Street converted from oil to gas (pictured: Strand board prez Bill Ragals), but NYSERDA andConEd incentives paid for 89% of the overall cost of the retrofit; the total net cost was $94k and the estimated annual cost savings is nearly $137k. The 42-story, 300-unit building (built in 1989) burned about 130,000 gallons of No. 6 oil per year. A natural gas conversion saved more than 35% (that's a payback period of less than a year) and had an IRR of over 145%.
Heating oils
The dirty heating oils. (One word: Ewww.) “You don't have to be arocket scientist to know that breathing this in is bad for you,” says Isabelle. Dirty oil is responsible for 86% of soot pollution in NYC, and contributes 50% more soot and 17 times more sulfur dioxide than all the cars and trucks in the city, the panelists say. NYC's asthma hospitalization rate of children is twice the national average, with the Bronx four times the national average.