NYC Plans to Retrofit Public and Private Buildings to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City is committing to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2005 levels by 2050, starting with One City, Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future – a sweeping plan to retrofit public and private buildings to dramatically reduce the city’s contributions to climate change, while spurring major cost savings and creating thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers who most need them. This makes New York the largest city to commit to the 80 percent reduction by 2050, and charts a long-term path for investment in renewable sources of energy and a total transition from fossil fuels.

Nearly three-quarters of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings, making building retrofits a central component of any plan to dramatically reduce emissions.

The City is poised to make direct investments to increase the efficiency of its public buildings, including schools and public housing, reducing the government’s contribution to climate change and generating operational savings for New York City taxpayers. Every single city-owned building with any significant energy use – approximately 3,000 buildings – will be retrofitted within the next ten years, by 2025, with interim goals along the way.

The City will also spur private building owners to invest in efficiency upgrades, setting ambitious interim targets and incentives to catalyze voluntary reductions, and implementing mandates that trigger if interim reduction targets are not met – leading to retrofits in tens of thousands of private-owned buildings. High energy costs take a disproportionate toll on lower-income residents who typically live in less-efficient buildings and must pay a higher share of their income for energy. The City’s plan aims to protect New Yorkers from rising utility bills while reducing emissions and poor air quality and stimulating demand for retrofitting and renewable energy jobs

This plan is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 3.4 million metric tons a year by 2025 – an additional 10 percent reduction in building-based greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking 715,000 vehicles off of the road. This will also generate cost-savings across the public and private sectors of more than $1.4 billion a year by 2025, leading to $8.5 billion in cumulative energy cost-savings over ten years. It’s anticipated that approximately 3,500 new jobs in construction and energy services will be created, in addition to the training of more than 7,000 building staff to upgrade their skills.

Read One City, Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future.

“Climate change is an existential threat to New Yorkers and our planet. Acting now is nothing short of a moral imperative,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City must continue to set the pace and provide the bold leadership that’s needed – and becoming the world’s largest city to commit to an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 is central to that commitment. By retrofitting all of our public buildings with significant energy use in the next ten years, we’re leading by example; and by partnering with the private sector, we’ll reduce emissions and improve efficiency while generating billions in savings and creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers who need it most.”

The plan will be implemented through a Compstat-like portal at the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Operations and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, to track the City and the private sector’s progress towards these goals with periodic updates and a public-facing web presence to report on progress each year.

One City: Built to Last, Transforming New York City’s Buildings for a Low Carbon Future will:

Make Our Public Buildings Models of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Generation

    Invest in high-value efficiency upgrades in approximately 150 to 200 City buildings per year for the next ten years, including schools, firehouses, hospitals, police precincts, libraries, and homeless shelters. This will be through a competitive citywide process that identifies the most effective reduction measures across the public building portfolio.

    Will have upgraded every city building with significant energy use by 2025.

    Perform energy upgrades in 450 schools over the next five years – including 325 comprehensive lighting upgrades and 125 boiler replacements to improve energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality (PCB remediation).

    Increase solar and renewable energy deployment on City assets, beginning with 24 schools. Install solar on more than 300 city buildings, generating 100MW of energy over the next decade.

    Pilot cutting edge energy technology from local clean tech start-ups in City buildings.

    Hire additional operations and maintenance staff and expand training programs for the City’s building operators to upgrade skills and ensure equipment is operated efficiently.

    Partner with HUD on the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) program to unlock the potential for undertaking large-scale energy efficiency measures at NYCHA that will free up dollars for other critical needs and improve quality of life for residents.

Create a Thriving Private Market for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

    Set ambitious interim targets for emission reductions and efficiency improvements for private buildings – to be met with aggressive City-directed programs to catalyze voluntary reductions, and mandates that trigger if interim reduction targets are not met, to be developed by a task force.

    Require buildings over 25,000 sq. ft. to measure and disclose energy use annually, conduct energy assessments, and upgrade lighting. The current mandate includes only buildings over 50,000 sq. ft.

    Catalyze the retrofitting of approximately 20,000 private buildings through a “retrofit accelerator” program, making up an estimated 15 percent of citywide built square footage. Two-thirds will be multifamily buildings, and roughly 40 percent will be government-assisted affordable or rent-stabilized buildings.

    Connect New York workers with new jobs and opportunities in energy efficiency and renewable energy, with an integrated workforce development focus throughout each initiative.

    Create a green grant program for affordable housing that will fund efficiency upgrades in exchange for regulatory agreements to preserve affordability. Deploy with local partners in neighborhoods where preservation and rehab of affordable housing is needed and where energy efficiency can reduce the load on the electric grid.

    Incorporate efficiency measures into all Department of Housing Preservation and Development moderate rehab programs by requiring that all buildings undergo an energy audit as part of the capital needs assessment process.

    Organize communities to spur efficiency retrofits, focusing on neighborhoods that face growing threats to affordability due to rising operating costs and changing market conditions.

    Challenge the City’s largest institutions and leaders in the private sector to commit to deep carbon reductions of 30 to 50 percent over ten years.

    Fund trainings in energy efficiency best practices for building staff to save energy and promote skills upgrading.

    Spur the development of more than 250MW of private solar generation across the City in the next decade – a dramatic eightfold increase over current levels.

    Support clean tech businesses — in energy efficiency, energy storage, or renewable energy generation — seeking to expand in New York City.

With this green buildings plan, the City also released this year’s benchmarking report analyzing energy and water consumption data in large buildings reported in 2013. New York City is the first city to undertake a multi-year benchmarking analysis to better understand energy and water usage across a wide variety of building types and uses, establish a living library of building data, and identify opportunities to reduce consumption. New York City has, by far, the largest square footage (over 2 billion square feet) of buildings encompassed by the benchmarking legislation (Local Law 84 [2009]).

The Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability has worked closely with NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) for the past three years on this annual report. CUSP has provided an unprecedented level of data cleaning, validation, and analytics for the largest citywide data set of buildings in the U.S. – allowing New York City to continue to lead with energy efficiency policies informed by rigorous data analysis.

Read the full Benchmarking Report.

The City also released this year’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, pursuant to Local Law 22 (2008), which is an annual inventory and analysis of citywide GHG emissions. Read the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.

The City’s commitment to dramatically reducing its contributions to climate change go hand-in-hand with its aggressive implementation of a comprehensive, citywide resiliency plan that will better protect against the risks of climate change. Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio created the first-ever City office focused on resiliency — the new Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency — which is leading the City’s work on short- and long-term measures to strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings, protect infrastructure and critical services, and make homes, businesses, and neighborhoods safer and more vibrant.

Be the first to comment on "NYC Plans to Retrofit Public and Private Buildings to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions"

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: