We’ve been talking so much about real estate trends and all the swanky new condo developments that we can expect to see in 2015, but there’s another, more subtle trend that’s already taking shape. And it’s environmentally friendly.
As CNBC reports, “New York City is experiencing a solar renaissance.” The city has seen a recent flurry of initiatives that advocate for green building, including Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion commitment to solar projects and his law that doubles tax breaks for those who install solar panels on their properties. Plus, in November, the City Council passed a bill that says New York City must cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
This green movement was spurred in 2008 when Mayor Bloomberg introduced a list of incentives–known as NYC Solar Electric Generating System Property Tax Abatement Program–for incorporating solar energy into building projects. Since then, more than 1,260 solar energy systems have been installed in both commercial and residential properties throughout the city. And according to a study by environmental advocacy group Environment Ohio, “The Big Apple has a solar capacity of over 30 megawatts. That’s enough energy to power more than 4,500 homes, and is up from about 10 megawatts just four years ago.” While Los Angeles has a 132 megawatt capacity, NYC is still the country’s eighth most solar-friendly city.
A rendering of the solar skylights at the Lowline
The Atelier, a luxury building in Midtown West, installed solar panels on its roof in 2011. The system generates roughly 5% of the building’s energy, cutting annual utility costs by $40,000. River 2 River Realty, which operates the Atelier, plans to add 100 panels to the side of the building in 2015, providing another 10 percent of its energy and increasing the cost savings to $120,000. The company has used the extra money to reinvest in the building and attract new tenants. They’ve added perks like free breakfasts, the addition of a tennis court and a simulated ice skating rink on the roof. But it’s not just tall buildings that are incorporating the technology. The proposed Lowline underground park would utilize solar energy to create remote skylights to bring light into the space, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. hopes the LinkNYC kiosks, which will replace old pay phones, will operate with solar power.