Free Resource Helps Small Co-ops and Condos Save Big on Energy

The energy-saving and cost-cutting campaigns of many large co-ops and condos are getting a boost from the city’s Retrofit Accelerator program, which advises boards on how to become more energy-efficient. Now the little guys are getting a boost, too. A free city program called Community Retrofit NYC is tailored to small co-ops and condos and other multi-family dwellings – of five to 50 units – in a swath of central Brooklyn and southern Queens. Like its big brother, Community Retrofit NYC helps boards identify their buildings’ cost- and energy-saving potential, finds incentives and affordable loans, then locates contractors, reviews bid proposals and even trains the building staff. “There are a fair number of incentives,” says Laura Tajima, a policy adviser in the mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “But small buildings and mom-and-pops don’t always have the resources. Often boards and building owners feel overwhelmed, so what we’re trying to do is curate resources for them, so they know who to go to, who to talk to. We’re directing people to the right resources.” BlocPower, a tech start-up, is the lead contractor on Community Retrofit NYC, which was launched last summer. “We’re learning about buildings’ needs,” says Donnel Baird, founder and chief executive of BlocPower. “We’ve sent out a team of engineers to 175 buildings so far to create profiles of energy use.”