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New York City CO2 Reduction From Buildings Proposal

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has a plan to force thousands of aging buildings there to become more energy efficient.  The initiative would mandate that owners of existing buildings larger than 25,000 square feet invest in more efficient heating and cooling systems, insulation and hot-water heaters in the years ahead.

If approved by the City Council, the requirements would apply to about 14,500 private and municipal buildings, which the mayor’s office says collectively account for nearly a quarter of New York City’s emissions. Most buildings would need to comply with new efficiency targets by 2030, or their owners would face penalties.

In 2014, de Blasio announced his “80×50” plan, with a goal to reduce those emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2050. In June, de Blasio signed an executive order reaffirming the city’s commitment to the international Paris climate accord just days after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement.

The de Blasio administration will propose annual penalties that increase with a building’s size and its fossil-fuel usage. Beginning in 2030, a 30,000-square-foot apartment building that exceeds certain energy targets would pay $60,000 for each year it doesn’t meet the new standards, according to the mayor’s office. A building with 1 million square feet that was operating outside the required efficiency standards would pay as much as $2 million in annual penalties. Buildings not in compliance also would be prevented from receiving permits for major renovations.

The administration insists the new initiative could lead to lower long-term energy costs and create as many as 17,000 “green jobs” as older structures are retrofitted. But many owners are likely to face big upfront costs to meet the new requirements.

New York is not alone in working to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. After Trump’s announcement that he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate pact, numerous governors, mayors and businesses independently pledged to push forward with emissions reductions. A group called Climate Mayors — which has 377 members, including de Blasio — committed to working toward the goals laid out in the Paris agreement. (Wash Post, 9/13/2017)

Norris McDonaldComment