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Updates to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Call For Solar Plants on Landfills, Banning Dirty Oils

Posted By Will Giron On April 21, 2011 @ 4:07 pm In Energy,News,Politics | No Comments

PlaNYC Update, mayor bloomberg, 2011 planyc update, nyc sustainability, green designImage © Ed Yourdon

Today Mayor Bloomberg [3] presented the first four-year update to PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York [4], 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 [5] by many of the city’s buildings. The updates to PlaNYC [6] 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 Update, mayor bloomberg, 2011 planyc update, nyc sustainability, green design

PlaNYC [6] 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 [7] and bike lanes [8] have been built, more than 64,000 units of housing have been constructed, the pedestrian plazas in Times Square [9] are significantly improving our air quality, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions are below 2005 levels, and dozens of new environmental laws and programs [10] 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 [11] 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 [12]. 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 [13], 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 [14] to encourage New Yorkers to swap electric hot water systems for solar-powered systems.

PlaNYC Update, mayor bloomberg, 2011 planyc update, nyc sustainability, green design

Clean Heating Oil Campaign

New York’s buildings produce 86 percent of all soot pollution, and in an effort to combat health hazards associated with burning residual oil (also known as #6 and #4 heating oil), PlaNYC has called for a 30 percent reduction in all emissions [5] coming from building.

The EPA has reported that air pollution contributes to 6 percent of all deaths in the city each year and “causes more than 3,000 deaths, 2,000 hospital admissions for lung and heart conditions, and approximately 6,000 emergency department visits for asthma in children and adults annually.” To combat this, Bloomberg launched the Urban Technology Innovation Center [15] last year, in an effort to align buildings in NYC towards more eco-friendly technology, and sustainability principles.

The city plans to completely phase out dirty oil use by 2030, through different incentives, education efforts, and collective action. Specifically, through the Clean Heat campaign, and the NYC Service campaign, the city will collaborate with the Environmental Defense Fund, in an effort to educate building owners and tenants about public health hazards associated with #4 and #6 heating oils [16], as well as the steps a building owner can take to convert to cleaner fuels. The plan will take effect immediately.

Social Media as a Tool for Change

PlaNYC has also proposed launching a new social media tool called “Change by Us” to encourage New Yorkers to improve their local community by connecting them with the tools, resources, and people needed to make change happen. “Starting today, and again frequently throughout the year, the City will pose a question that residents can respond to by text message or through the Change by Us web and mobile sites,” the Mayor said.

The first question asks how can the city become greener through projects like storm water management, brownfield cleanup, parks stewardship, creation of new open spaces [7], energy efficiency, local air quality control, and community composting. “Change by Us” opened to a few select organizations today in its beta form, but will soon open for general public use. The goal is also to allow New Yorkers to make communities better, by connection with like minded individuals, and groups with similar project ideas, and connecting them with city agencies to help make improvements throughout the city.

The first four years of PlaNYC have been pretty great, so here’s hoping the next four are even better!


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[1] Share on Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://inhabitat.com/nyc/updates-to-mayor-bloombergs-planyc-call-for-solar-plants-on-landfills-banning-dirty-oils/

[3] Mayor Bloomberg: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/the-greenest-points-from-mayor-bloombergs-state-of-the-city-address/

[4] PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York: http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/challenge/challenge.shtml

[5] dirty heating oils: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/new-heating-oil-rules-could-reduce-air-pollution-by-63-in-nyc/

[6] PlaNYC: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/tag/planyc

[7] new parkland: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nyc-parks-dept-unveils-new-sustainable-design-guidlines/

[8] bike lanes: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyns-prospect-park-west-bike-lane-sparks-fierce-local-debate/

[9] pedestrian plazas in Times Square: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/new-report-shows-that-times-square-pedestrian-plazas-in-nyc-improved-our-air-quality/

[10] new environmental laws and programs: http://inhabitat.com/nyc-mayor-bloomberg-announces-green-roof-initiative/

[11] a new corporation: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5heJkoa7KAYWICXqAgNgaFuWPn1LQ?docId=7db8edd879144805b43530330407d38b

[12] Fresh Kills in Staten Island: http://inhabitat.com/worlds-largest-landfill-transformed-into-freshkills-park-3x-the-size-of-central-park/

[13] NYC doubled it’s solar generation in 2010: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/new-york-city-doubled-its-solar-power-generation-in-2010/

[14] launched a program: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nyserda-launches-25-million-solar-thermal-incentive-program/

[15] Bloomberg launched the Urban Technology Innovation Center: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/nyc-launches-urban-technology-innovation-center-for-green-buildings/

[16] public health hazards associated with #4 and #6 heating oils: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/proposed-heating-oil-rules-would-reduce-soot-pollution-in-nyc-but-do-they-go-far-enough/

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