Today is the deadline for 16,000 building owners — which represent about 1/2 of all of the city’s interior space — in New York City to hand in data on their building’s energy and water use as a part of Local Law 84, NYC’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan was spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and aims to reduce carbon emissions and energy use from the city’s greatest polluter — its structures. As a part of GGBP owners of large buildings are required to submit information on their building’s energy and water use so that it can be posted on a new informative website for tenants next year. Residents of New York will be able to check out the difference in energy bills at certain buildings and even see if those new LEED certified structures live up to their claims.
The mission to have building owners turn in information on their energy and water use is also meant to guilt them into making improvements to better use resources. “It’s hard to overstate how significant this is,” Roger Platt of the private U.S. Green Building Council told USA Today. “It’s like a 12-step program. You first have to admit you have a problem.” Platt added that most building owners do not track their building energy use and might be shocked at what they find. Building owners and tenants alike would be able to benefit from upgrades to the energy and water systems.
The New York City Council voted the GGBP into law in 2009 as a way to reduce the emissions from the city’s buildings by 5 percent and save New Yorkers $700 million a year in energy costs. Though the plan was originally meant to be more ambitious even reducing building emissions by 5 percent will go a long way in a smog ridden city like ours. In its current state the law does not require buildings to make retrofits to be greener — the original plan had buildings over 50,000 required to make changes — we still like the idea that knowledge is power. Today is the first step for New York City’s buildings to move toward a more sustainable and energy efficient future.