Landlords slow to abandon noxious heating oil

Conversion deadline only a year away, but many owners have yet to eighty-six No. 6 fuel

Michael Wolfe and heating oil at 500 East 77th St.
Michael Wolfe and heating oil at 500 East 77th St.

Thousands of New York City buildings are still burning some of the most polluted forms of heating oil, despite a citywide push to switch to a cleaner and safer alternative.

In 2011, the city approved a ban of oil known as No. 6 effective July 2015. All buildings must use No. 2 oil or natural gas by the year 2030. A four-year plan to phase out No. 6 has made very little progress since launching in 2011. Only about half of the buildings that were using No. 6 at the time have switched over. Hundreds have gone instead with No. 4, which, depending on the supplier, can also reduce air quality. Michael Wolfe of Midboro Management, property manager for about 100 condominiums and co-ops in Manhattan, told the Times that the majority of his buildings have gone with No. 4.

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The primary reason why landlords are wary to convert a boiler to lighter oil is the cost. Prices range from $5,000 to $17,000, property managers told the New York Times. A natural gas switch is even more expensive.

“We are not satisfied with the level of turnaround,” Cecil Corbin-Mark of environmental nonprofit WeAct told the Times. “There is probably a pool of landlords out there who will probably have to be pulled into this kicking and screaming.” [NYT]Mark Maurer