Trade groups urge future mayor to prioritize efficiency - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Regulation  -  August 4, 2017

Trade groups urge future mayor to prioritize efficiency

A collection of New York trade groups released a paper Aug. 2 outlining the steps they recommend that the city takes in order to increase the energy efficiency of its buildings.

The 2017 Green Building Roadmap was signed by the Urban Green Council, the Real Estate Board of New York, 32BJ SEIU and AIA New York Chapter and was directed toward the candidates for the next mayor of New York City. The report includes three main changes to be made to help mitigate the city’s buildings’ contributions to climate change: upgrading buildings; training the workforce; and streamlining energy efficiency.

Crain’s New York Business reported that buildings are responsible for 75% of carbon emissions in the five boroughs.

"It is important that anyone coming into office realizes that this issue is important to a lot of influential groups—and there is a lot we agree on,” Russell Unger, head of Urban Green Council, told the publication.

The project follows other energy efficiency efforts instituted throughout the city in recent years. In August 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that a 2009 benchmarking law requiring New York City buildings to report their energy use every year had resulted in 3,000 buildings that consistently reported their results cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 8% and energy use by 6% over the previous three years.

As part of the report’s section on recommendations to upgrade buildings, the trade groups suggested that the incoming mayor focus on establishing a “long-term carbon reduction path for buildings, including the establishment of performance requirements that include all fuels for new and existing buildings.”

The report also suggests that the city incentivize hyper-efficient new private-sector buildings and require decarbonization and retrofits of municipal buildings.

The group also advocates for more efficiently training the workforce so that property managers, architects and engineers have the resources to create better, more efficient buildings.

On the regulation side, the group’s plan for the city also mentions the importance of the next mayor removing regulatory barriers and increasing the availability of products that meet or exceed city codes so that developers can more easily create these hyper-efficient buildings and help move the city toward a more sustainable future.

“The different groups may not agree on the mixture of methods—between incentives, voluntary measures or mandates—to achieve a particular outcome, but there is remarkable unanimity across the industry that we need to get to these places,” Unger told Crain’s.

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