Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Regulation - September 15, 2017
NYC pushes new mandate to cut GHG emissions
In announcing what is perhaps the most ambitious program of its kind in the country, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sept. 14 said.
The new rules will compel owners to meet fossil fuel caps — requiring deeper upgrades to boilers, water heaters, roofs and windows on an accelerated 2030 timeframe — with sharp penalties for failure to comply. Mandated fossil fuel caps will apply to all buildings over 25,000 square feet, and will trigger replacement of fossil fuel equipment and efficiency upgrades in the worst-performing 14,500 buildings, which together produce 24% of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Sept. 14 news release from the mayor's office.
In order to meet these targets, building owners will make improvements to boilers, heat distribution, hot water heaters, roofs and windows, requiring deeper changes during their replacement or refinancing cycles over the next 12 to 17 years, the city said.
The new targets will reduce total citywide greenhouse emissions 7% by 2035, the single largest step yet taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road, and spur 17,000 green jobs performing building retrofits, according to the city. The plan will be enacted via legislation, backed by the administration and sponsored by Council Member Costa Constantinides.
"Time is not on our side," de Blasio said in announcing the new rules. "New York will continue to step up and make critical changes to help protect our city and prevent the worst effects of climate change. We must shed our buildings' reliance on fossil fuels here and now. To do this, we are mandating upgrades to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings, helping us continue to honor the goals of the Paris Agreement. No matter what happens in Washington, we will not shirk our responsibility to act on climate in our own backyard."
When President Trump announced the U.S. would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year, the mayor pledged New York City would adhere to the treaty and accelerate its own actions to reach an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, the program commonly referred to as 80 by 50. Fossil fuels used for heat and hot water in buildings are the city's single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
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