Last week, Mayor de Blasio unveiled a series of new energy efficiency initiatives for NYC aimed at dramatically reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The new projects, which are focused on implementing stricter energy-efficient standards for new and old buildings, are part of an aggressive sustainability plan aimed at an 80-percent reduction in all city emissions by 2050.
“Cities that lead on climate, lead on buildings,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’ve set bold goals as we take on climate change and a clear path to meet them. The City has been leading the way by greening our own public facilities. Now, these new initiatives will dramatically reduce emissions from New York City’s over one million buildings, while saving New Yorkers millions and creating thousands of new jobs – and we’ll be providing owners support throughout the process.”
NYC buildings are responsible for nearly three quarters of all NYC greenhouse gas emissions. In late 2014, the mayor launched One City: Built to Last, a ten year program that would change this amount dramatically by retrofitting public and private NYC buildings with cleaner energies.
Building on the program’s current goals, part of the new initiatives will focus on the retrofitting process of older buildings, including:
- Buildings requirements to complete cost-effective energy conservation measures.
- Requirement of large and mid-size building owners to repair and improve heating distribution systems within the next 10 years, specifically focusing on steam systems and radiators.
- Requirement of large and mid-size building owners to assess deep energy retrofit strategies as part of their required energy audit, through a simple template developed by the City.
- Improvement of efficiency and information transparency in mid-sized buildings and non-residential spaces.
- Changes to historic building and other laws that would encourage energy improvements.
Along with these initiatives, new resources will be provided to support new and innovative energy design and performance for new buildings. Accordingly, an updated New York City Energy Code was recently introduced by Council Member Williams in the City Council that would see strict efficiency requirements applied to new construction such as:
- The requirement of air-leakage testing for new buildings, to help prevent energy losses.
- The requirement for residential exterior walls to conform to more stringent climate zone specifications that will result in homes and low-rise residential buildings that are better insulated and provide improved comfort.
- The requirement of a solar-ready zone on roofs of one- and two-family homes that have sufficient solar potential.
If approved, the updated energy code could reduce energy use by an estimated 8.5 percent for new commercial buildings and approximately 25 percent for new residential buildings in comparison existing Energy Code standards.
Images via NYC Sustainability