New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Bronx Co-Op Installs Smart Radiator Covers to Cut Fines and Save on Energy Costs

Taking the lead. Faced with a projected six-figure annual carbon emission penalty starting in 2030, Fordham Hill Oval, a 1,130-unit co-op in the University Heights section of the Bronx, is installing thousands of smart radiator covers to cut fines and save on energy costs. It’s a pioneering step: The co-op is the first to take advantage of a no-money-down subscription payment model for the technology, making it an affordable way for the complex to meet Local Law 97 regulations.

The custom radiator covers, known as Cozys, are simple metal cabinets with an interior duct and fan, designed to trap heat and release it based on individual settings in each unit. Around 2,400 of the latest-generation covers are being installed, which the co-op will pay for through a  monthly $15 fee per unit for 15 years. The cost will be offset by the estimated 24% savings in annual energy bills, amounting to more than $170,000.

The subscription payment model has been available for only about six months and is made possible by a $100 million deal between the manufacturer, Kelvin, and ClearGen, which is part of a portfolio set up by the investment management company Blackstone to fund clean energy initiatives. “Based on future revenue from projects, ClearGen will fund the entire project upfront,” says Marshall Cox, Kelvin’s CEO and founder. With other capital projects underway at Fordham Hill Oval, including electrical upgrades, facade repairs and the installation of building-wide smart sensor technology, the low-cost subscription offer was well timed. “That was why board members were convinced it was the way to go,” says Blandon Casenave, the board treasurer. 

Eliminating extremes. The nine-building co-op has a gas-fired boiler and a metro steam system, a two-pipe system installed in campus-style postwar apartment complexes. “Steam rises to the top of the building and filters through radiators as it travels down to the bottom of the building in each line,” explains Matthew Isaacs, Kelvin’s vice president of business development. As a result, these types of buildings are often overheated at the top and very cold at the bottom. “The Cozy system will help balance that out, all while providing specific room-by-room temperature control to shareholders,” he says.

Added benefits. A feature of the newest Cozy model is a digital screen that shows information about room temperature, humidity, ambient light and air quality. “These additional insights allow us to provide valuable system alerts for management and residents,” Isaacs says. Another benefit of the radiator covers is how they slow the building’s steam condensation rate. With the radiators in an insulated environment, steam remains in the system longer before it runs back to the boiler. This means the system doesn’t have to work as hard during the winter. 

The decision to pair the radiator covers with building-wide heat sensors, provided by the heating-system management platform Runwise, produces even more savings because the boiler is getting more accurate data about demand. With the boiler running fewer heating cycles, its useful life is extended. The board is confident it’s not only made a significant dent in the building’s projected carbon emissions penalty but also made the co-op competitive with new development projects in the area. “There are new buildings going up around us, and by upgrading our offering with climate control in the units, we believe we offer real value in our neighborhood,” Isaacs says.

Subscriber Login

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?