55 City 1950s built Buildings, Co-ops 6 to10 floors, Would Have to Convert to # 2 Fuel Oil or Natural Gas Under New Air Quality Standards on Agenda Tonight.


The White Plains Common Council will meet this evening at City Hall at its scheduled monthly meeting. On the consent agenda is a change in the city’s air quality law  Chapter 3-3, which will ban use of # 4 and # 6 fuel oil in 55 buildings (most at the heights of  6 to 10 stories) in White Plains.

The law is based on similar air quality laws  in effect in New York City aimed at these two grades of fuel oil used to heat buildings that create thick black emissions when burned because of the  “tar-like” viscosity of the fuels.

Mayor Roach in his introduction of the proposed law last Wednesday said fuels are so thick, they have to be heated before the boiler can burn the fuel, creating a thick black smoke. The city receives complaints during heating season about such black smoke emissions. Commissioner of Building Damon Amadio said the fuels created toxic  emissions. Amadio said currently there are 15 buildings using #6 fuel oil to heat the premises, and 40 that use # 4.

The Mayor said owners of those 15  buildings using # 6 oil would be given one year to convert to  No. 2 fuel oil. The 40 buildings burning # 4, would have until 2020 to convert. The Building Commissioner said most buildings would not have to change boilers, but change burner control components to equipment that would burn either  # 2 fuel or natural gas. The Mayor said substantial electric bill savings  would be achieved because of the consumption of excess electricity used to heat  # 4 and # 6 oil to break it down for burning. Councilperson Beth Smayda said owners of the buildings would possibly be eligible for

The legislation first became public at last week’s Special Meeting of the Common Council. Owners and boards of the buildings affected will be notified by special packet from the city within the next few weeks, giving them the details. Apparently that communication will be the first time the building ownerships will be made aware of this legislation. Mayor Roach said the changes in the law did not require a public hearing before passage.

To view the meeting where this program was introduced, go to this link:


At no point in the meeting to discuss the legislation was the cost of conversion to the building owners mentioned.

In a recent estimate of conversion costs for an 86-unit building between the years 2010-2020, created by the Environmental Defense Fund and Urban Green Council, WPCNR notes the cost of converting to a No 2 fuel oil/or natural gas burner and resultant savings, paid out after one year in savings:

For this study, we assume that the boiler is a 5-mmBtu/hr hot water unit in good
working condition and does not require replacement of standard components to operate
Capital cost
Natural gas burner $10,000
Chimney relined $ 5,000
Secure oil tank $ 3,000
Natural gas piping $ 6,500
Condensate pumps $ 500
Condensing heat exchanger $10,000
Total $35,000

Operating cost
We assume that the building currently uses 5,400 mmBtu (36,000 gallon No. 6 oil)
annually for heating

Annual No. 6 oil purchase: 36,000 gallons x $2.27 = $81,720
Annual No. 6 oil tank heating (2kW heater @ 7,000kWh) = $ 980
Annual soot blowing and maintenance $ 3,000
Annual natural gas cost: 4,900 mmBtu x $10.73/mmBtu = $52,577
Annual No. 6 oil tank heating (2kW heater @ 7,000kWh) = $ 0
Annual soot blowing and maintenance $ 0
Savings ($33,123)
Payback period: $35,000/$33,123 = 1.1 years
Emission savings (tons/year)
NOx 0.76 tons
PM 0.10 tons
SOx 0.85 tons

For the complete figures for other sized buildings go to this link:


Comments are closed.