Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an ambitious goal of reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Now some of the details of the plan are surfacing, illustrating what the path to energy efficiency will look like for the city. Power, heating, and cooling are primary targets for change, as they account for nearly 75% of the city’s emissions.
One of the first upgrades will be the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of 24 of the city’s public schools. The city is also working on plans to retrofit public buildings for greater energy efficiency with improvements like better insulation, new boilers, and lighting. They hope to also offer incentive programs to encourage private landlords to make similar upgrades to their properties. Although no requirements are currently in place, the city may have to eventually create regulations to encourage private building owners to meet certain energy efficiency standards.
The current plan piggybacks on a previous goal set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reduce emissions 30% by 2030. Upgrades done since 2005 have already shown a 19% reduction, so the city is on track to meet these goals.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also save the city a lot of money. NYC currently spends $800 million each year on energy costs. With the planned changes, the city could save $180 million a year by 2025. The city also plans to train thousands of building managers (public and private) in energy efficiency fluency, so that they can make more educated decisions about changes and upgrades to individual buildings.
Images via Shutterstock and Bloomberg.