Image © Ed Yourdon
Today Mayor Bloomberg presented the first four-year update to PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, assessing the program’s progress since its inception. PlaNYC has initiated a groundbreaking new direction for the City’s future, based on environmental sustainability, and promoting a greener NYC. Highlights of the new updates include plans to put solar plants on top of capped landfills and phasing out the use of dirty heating oils by many of the city’s buildings. The updates to PlaNYC are the result of a year long initiative that began last Earth Day. The city held dozens of public meetings and worked with various groups to gather new ideas and suggestions for how the plan could better help New Yorkers. Today’s update outlined 132 initiatives and more than 400 specific milestones that the city hopes to achieve by December 31, 2013. The Mayor is required to review and update the plan every four years.
“PlaNYC is our agenda for a greener, greater New York that will help guide our city to a better future,” said Mayor Bloomberg in prepared remarks. “In four short years, we’ve come an incredibly long way toward our goals, and now, together, we’re finding new ways to accelerate our progress.”
The purpose of the initiative is to strengthen the NYC economy and enhance quality of life through environmental sustainability efforts. By all accounts, the plan has thus far been very successful. Hundreds of acres of new parkland and bike lanes have been built, more than 64,000 units of housing have been constructed, the pedestrian plazas in Times Square are significantly improving our air quality, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions are below 2005 levels, and dozens of new environmental laws and programs have been enacted. The city says that over 97 percent of the 127 initiatives in PlaNYC were launched within one-year of its release and almost two-thirds of its 2009 milestones have been achieved or mostly achieved.
Solar Energy For a Better NYC
The city has proposed using $37 million in federal stimulus funds to initiate a loan program, which will help residential and commercial property owners pay for energy-efficiency upgrades. The Mayor plans on starting a new corporation that will manage the loan program, which will not only help New Yorkers save energy and utility costs, but will also improve the NYC environment overall.
A huge part of the program includes constructing solar plants on capped city landfills, like Fountain Avenue in Brooklyn and Fresh Kills in Staten Island. The plants are expected to significantly improve air quality throughout the city by reducing power generation at the city’s dirtiest plants, particularly during the summer, when these plants are in high use.
NYC doubled it’s solar generation in 2010, in both the private business sector and the residential use, particularly in Queens, which installations quadrupled. The New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), has also launched a program to encourage New Yorkers to swap electric hot water systems for solar-powered systems.