Alma Realty Exec: Think Beyond the Thermostat

In an environmentally focused bylined article in the Commercial Observer, a prominent New York real estate publication, Alma Realty Chief Operating Officer Sophia Valiotis spotlighted the important role the real estate industry plays in helping combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

Noting that the goals laid out in New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC plan – a blueprint for sustainable goals for the city in the coming decades - call for an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, Valiotis pointed out that 75 percent of greenhouse gases come from buildings. In a major U.S. city with a large stock of existing, older buildings, the challenges are immense. Alma itself manages 12,000 residential units in New York and New Jersey.

“The owners and managers of tens of thousands of existing buildings will be the ones at the forefront of achieving the important goals of increasing efficiency, sustainability and resiliency,” Valiotis wrote. “This means that while LEED certification for new construction will continue to be the gold standard, in order to make significant progress towards the mayor and governor’s goals, a greater emphasis must be placed on efficiencies among our existing housing stock, as well as commercial properties.”

Recalling the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, Valiotis pointed to resiliency measures and modernization upgrades that had been made to the company’s properties in the Rockaways, which were spared some of the damage their neighbors suffered.

“The lessons of Superstorm Sandy, which caused an estimated $20 billion in damage and claimed 40 New Yorkers’ lives, are an all too sobering reminder of the dangers of climate change,” she wrote. 

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