It’s coming. After being criticized over their recent report that greenhouse gases endanger the public, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would put in regulations to limit gas emissions, though the changes would be rolled out gradually so as not to affect American business. What does that mean? EPA administrators say the biggest sources of greenhouse gases would be subject to limits by 2013; smaller ones by 2016.

Translation: Apartment owners have to get serious about reducing their energy use and carbon output. The built environment produces almost as much carbon dioxide as the transportation and industrial sectors combined—a whopping 800 million metric tons of CO2 annually—according to a Texas A&M University study. That’s because more than 50 percent of all electricity consumption and 60% of CO2 production is by buildings alone. Which means the federal government, and the EPA, will likely first point a finger to urban centers and the residential towers that populate them. It’s time for us as an industry to get serious about energy management. Don’t miss the boat, because soon enough, it’ll be time to sink or swim.