Saturday, November 21, 2015
The all-purpose cudgel of climate fraud and environmentalism. As I read this I couldn't help thinking that this was straight out of the Communist revolution at the turn of the 20th century
The city’s ritziest apartment buildings are also the worst for the environment.
A new report titled “Elite Emissions: How the Homes of the Wealthiest New Yorkers Help Drive Climate Change” examined New York’s most luxurious buildings and found that many have terrible energy-use records. Seventy percent of NYC’s greenhouse-gas emissions come from buildings, while the rest come from transportation and other sources, like landfill and wastewater treatment.
“Further zeroing in on the problem, a mere 2 percent of the city’s 1 million buildings use 45 percent of all of the city’s energy,” says the report, which was prepared by the Climate Works for All coalition, made up of groups like ALIGN (The Alliance for a Greater New York), the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and the New York City Central Labor Council.
“It is no surprise that, without energy efficiency measures in place, luxury buildings will have enormous impacts on climate, especially given their supersize amenities,” the report says. “Inefficient buildings with heated indoor pools, private fitness centers, and private performance rooms all require energy resources above and beyond the typical residential building.” Beyond all these swanky amenities, basics such as heat, air conditioning and electricity only further contribute to the city’s greenhouse-gas emission problem.
The coalition came up with the list of buildings to investigate by looking at the residences of those Gotham honchos on Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list, as well as those buildings on Business Insider’s roundup of the 20 most expensive buildings in New York City. (That list, in turn, culled data from research site CityRealty’s ranking of the top condos in NYC, which is updated in real time).
So the coalition started its study with a limited pool of buildings — excluding, for example, older buildings that aren’t so pricey and giant complexes like Stuyvesant Town — and then looked into these addresses’ emissions and energy records. The Top 4 buildings on the list are in the 90th percentile when it comes to energy use among multifamily residential buildings. And, not surprisingly, it turns out that each of the 10 of these “elite emitters” scores above the city’s median energy-use rating.
The biggest culprit is 838 Fifth Ave., a luxurious prewar condo building across the street from the Central Park Zoo on the Upper East Side. It’s followed by 101 Warren St. in Tribeca, which is a 2008-built rental-condo complex where Jim Carrey once scoped out an apartment. 101 Warren pads come with amenities like a gym and spa, attended parking, and indoor and outdoor children’s play areas.
Next up on the list are a pair of Trump buildings: first, the Trump Park Avenue at 502 Park Ave. — a prewar building, completely renovated in 2004, where residents enjoy valets and laundry service as well as daily maid service. It’s where The Donald himself once owned a five-bedroom penthouse before selling it for $21 million earlier this year. (Yankee Alex Rodriguez also lived there.)
Then there’s the Trump Tower, a dark, glassy Goliath at 721 Fifth Ave. in Midtown, where Trump himself still hangs onto a pad. Most recently, Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo shelled out $18.5 million for a three-bedroom there. Past residents include restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and musical theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The next worst emitters are 820 Fifth Ave. on the Upper East Side (where there’s only one apartment per floor) and Jean Nouvel-designed 40 Mercer St. in Soho (where past residents include Daniel Radcliffe, Meg Ryan and Marc Jacobs, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have checked out a place there). Next up, CitySpire, at 150 W. 56th St. in Midtown, where Long Island developer Steven Klar has tried to offload a massive penthousefor $100 million.
Following that, the eighth-greatest energy-hogging address is 515 Park Ave. A year ago Walmart heiress Alice Walton bought a $25 million duplex at 515 Park, while legendary Broadway producer Hal Prince spent $16.5 million for his 515 Park pad in 2013. Amenities there sure are alluring: CityRealty reports that they include “15 private, climate-controlled wine cellars, 38 storage rooms, a private gym with state-of-the-art equipment, a full-time doorman, a concierge, valet services, a dining room and individual staff suites on the second floor for residents’ use. There’s also a kitchen for Chef Daniel Boulud, the exclusive caterer for 515 Park Avenue.”
Coming in at No. 9 is 740 Park Ave., known for old-world residents with last names from Vanderbilt and Rockefeller to Chrysler and Houghton. Current denizens of “The World’s Richest Apartment Building” include 75-year-old billionaire David Koch, CIT Group CEO John Thain, Bernie Madoff associate Ezra Merkin and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman.
The 10th-worst high-end building, according to the report, is 635 W. 42nd St., a glassy tower near the West Side Highway that boasts a roof deck, a gym, a pool and a private party room.
After listing these buildings and their environmental transgressions, the report recommends that the city take immediate action to address their outsize carbon footprints, in line with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s stated goal of reducing NYC’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Part of the coalition’s point in highlighting (or, perhaps, shaming) these particular buildings stems from the belief that these 1-percenters have the resources necessary to effect change. But they won’t do it if it’s voluntary, the report’s writers say, so there should be directives to ensure these gas-guzzling buildings become more efficient.
The report concludes: “When so much is at stake, and so many people at risk, it is imperative that, at the very least, our city mandate energy efficiency retrofits on all large buildings, rather than leave important public policy goals to the voluntary goodwill of the private sector.”
So, if these buildings didn't have gyms and the people went to an outside facility how would that change emissions?
Notice how they focused on Trump. A back door political hit piece for sure and a hate the rich narrative.