OneNYC: Mayor Announces Significant Progress In Making Buildings More Energy Efficient

05/10/18 AT 12:23 PM

City invested nearly $600 million in energy efficiency for public and private buildings; NYC Carbon Challenge cuts nearly 600,000 tons of greenhouse gas from private buildings and continues to expand


The de Blasio Administration today announced substantial progress on improving the energy efficiency of buildings throughout New York City. Nearly 70 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New York City come from buildings. Reducing these emissions is a flagship component of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reduce citywide GHG emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50), and the City’s pledge to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement following President Trump’s decision to abandon it.

“New York City is leading the way when it comes to fighting climate change by tackling our largest emissions source - buildings. Our retrofit programs are already reducing emissions, making our air cleaner, our residents healthier, and our city fairer for all,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Since Mayor de Blasio took office, DCAS has invested more than $580 million in energy efficiency projects located in over 1,250 public buildings. These projects are expected to yield more than $68 million in avoided annual energy costs and approximately 187,000 metric tons of avoided GHG emissions, the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road.

Through the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the City is also supporting private building owners to pursue energy efficiency and clean energy projects with $16 million in City funding for the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and Community Retrofit NYC programs. Together, these programs are currently assisting over 5,000 buildings to identify energy and water saving retrofit opportunities and connecting them to financial and technical resources. By 2025, the program is anticipated to reduce citywide GHG emissions by roughly one million metric tons accelerating retrofits in approximately 1,000 more properties per year– the equivalent of taking almost 200,000 cars off the roads. This year, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator launched a new High Performance Retrofit Track to assist private buildings with retrofits over the next 10-15 years, which are expected to reduce energy use by 40-60 percent.

The NYC Carbon Challenge, the City’s long-standing voluntary leadership program, is also working with more than 100 companies and organizations that have committed to reducing their GHG emissions by 30-50 percent. Currently, participants represent over 5,600 buildings, totaling 510 million square feet, equal to the entirety of built square footage south of 23rd Street in Manhattan. To date, participants have cut GHG emissions by close to 600,000 metric tons, equivalent to taking 125,000 cars of the road, and saved nearly $190 million annually in lower energy costs. By the end of the program, current participants are projected to reduce citywide GHG emissions by nearly 1.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent—the equivalent of taking more than 300,000 cars off the road—and save an estimated $700 million in energy costs. Read the NYC Carbon Challenge 2018 Progress Report here.

Aggressively cutting GHG emissions from buildings is key to fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Order 26, signed after President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement. The executive order committed New York City to the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement and directed all City agencies to develop a plan by September 30, 2017 to accelerate our 80 x 50 efforts and align them with the Paris Climate Agreement’s stretch goal of limiting a global temperature increase to l.5° Celsius. Read l.5°C: Aligning New York City with the Paris Climate Agreement here.

In New York City, fossil fuels burned in buildings for heat and hot water are the number one source of GHG emissions, accounting for 42 percent of the citywide total. The burning of these fuels also contributes to air pollution that causes asthma, bronchitis, and premature death, particularly among children and seniors. To address this climate threat, the de Blasio Administration is committed to working closely with the City Council on new legislation mandating retrofits for the city's largest and most-polluting buildings, while protecting tenants and affordable housing.

The de Blasio administration has also worked closely with City Council to pass two landmark pieces of legislation in January 2018 to ensure that all new construction and substantially renovated buildings are held to stringent energy efficiency standards and bring additional transparency to the real estate market on building energy efficiency. Local Law 32 of 2018 requires New York City to adopt a stretch Energy Code that is 20 percent better than the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code in 2019 and 2022, and an Energy Code that is 30 percent better than New York City’s current code in 2025. Local Law 33 of 2018 requires owners of all buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to display energy efficiency grades near public entrances, ranging from A – F associated with the building’s ENERGY STAR® score beginning in 2020. The scores will be updated annually based on energy benchmarking data submitted to the City.