Building Trades, New York

Mechanical Insulation Fortifies Conservation, Say Insulators

December 18, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—The president of the Heat & Frost Insulators Local 12 participated in the climate forum hosted by the Alliance for a Greater New York on Tuesday and said that an effective, but often overlooked, way to reduce New York City’s carbon footprint is ensuring that mechanical insulation is installed in the city’s building stock’s mechanical systems.

Matthew Aracich is the business manager for Local 12, a union that has a history that goes all the way back to 1884, said in the accompanying video interview that mechanical insulation is taken for granted as a way to reduce the city’s carbon emissions.

“No one recognizes the value of mechanical insulation. It’s something that people take for granted, it’s low technology, but with a high skill set. The idea is that we have the largest return of investments that’s available for green energy. We know that we can reduce emissions through mechanical insulation, somewhere near 30 percent, which is incredible,” said Aracich.

He noted that the union is trying to impress upon elected officials and the general public that mechanical insulation shouldn’t be taken for granted no more.

“One problem we’re experiencing is that some people are skeptical. But it’s a very simple process. We know that if we go into a building and provide an energy audit, that audit will reveal that for an $25,000 investment [to insulate the building’s mechanical systems], the building owner will get a return on that investment in four to six months,” Aracich said.

Recently the union praised Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing into law Local Law 16, which stipulates, “where concealed existing piping is exposed in the course of the alteration or repair of a building, the owner of the building shall provide for the insulation of the exposed piping. The exposed piping shall be insulated to the extent required by the New York City energy conservation code for newly installed pipe of the same specifications and serving the same function as the exposed pipe.”

According to Aracich, the bill would create up to a 30 percent tax deduction to encourage commercial and industrial entities, such as manufacturing facilities, office buildings, hospitals, schools, power plants and universities, to go beyond minimum mechanical insulation requirements in new construction and retrofit projects.

The union is also lobbying for insulation legislation in Albany, The Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive Act, claiming it would save more than $4.8 billion dollars in energy costs and eliminating 43 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

December 17, 2014

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