Last Friday, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced that he would be dropping a measure that was a part of the ambitious Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) which called for buildings over 50,000 square feet to undergo audits to determine what renovations would be required to make them more energy efficient. When announced earlier this year, the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan would be the first to require existing, not just new, buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. The changes made on Friday would mean that building owners are only expected to voluntarily participate in audits, which is certainly saddening and disappointing to us here at Inhabitat.
The NYTimes has already speculated a number of times that Bloomberg could strive harder to be green from his campaign to his actions in office. The newspaper has called his actions “grand plans and small steps,” so we wonder — can we still expect a greener, greater New York City by 2030? The original GGBP was part of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, which aims to drop carbon emissions in New York City by 30%. Since buildings make up 80% of carbon emissions, cutting building emissions would have gone a long way in reaching PlaNYC’s 30% goal.
The GGBP still has other helpful stipulations. The NYTimes and Treehugger were both cautious with their praise for the rest of the plan, which still requires building owners to do a number of other tasks to cut carbon emissions. The legislation will still see the creation of the city’s first energy code for buildings and requires building owners to offer tenants information on their individual energy use.
However, David Roth at greenbuildingsNYC was decidedly disappointed with the NYC mayor, pointing out that old buildings release more carbon emissions than new ones. The audits would have revealed the biggest offenders, and required them to make necessary green retrofits. He also notes that Bloomberg had cited that 19,000 new jobs could be created from this new legislation’s green workforce training, but the NYTimes reports that it won’t be more than 5,000 now.
Treehugger reports that “the Urban Green Council (New York City’s USGBC chapter) estimated the cost of compliance with this bill to be 15 cents per square foot for audits and 30 cents per square foot for retrocommisioning (the retrocommissioning will have a one year payback)“. Building owners are wary of the extra cost, whose total cost could run up to $2.5 billion in private money, while the city has only $16 million to provide in loans to real estate companies.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the legislation today, and while any greenie will lament that the bill should go in its original form, New York City will certainly be better off with some changes rather than no changes.
via The NYTimes