Program Aims to Cut a Million Tons of Emissions from City Buildings

October 8, 2015
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In April of 2011, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued regulations requiring buildings to convert from No. 6 and No. 4 heavy heating oils to cleaner fuels. The deadline for the phase-out of all No. 6 heating oil, the dirtiest form of heating fuel, was June 30, 2015. To date, DEP has achieved 99.8 percent compliance with the regulation. The deadline for the phase-out of all No. 4 heating oil is Jan. 1, 2030.

In an attempt to amplify the emissions progress already made, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a multi-faceted plan to speed progress in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in private buildings 80 percent by the year 2050. De Blasio's stated goal is to cut building emissions by about one million metric tons through retrofits in roughly 1,000 buildings a year by 2025. If successful, the city says, the reductions will be the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road and will save building owners $350 million a year in utility costs.

The mayor will introduce a "retrofit accelerator" — a free one-stop shop for private owners to help them refurbish buildings for energy efficiency, clean energy, and water conservation. The accelerator will consist of a group of "efficiency advisers," according to information provided by the city, who will advise building owners, free of charge, of conservation and clean energy options tailored to specific buildings. They will also assist building owners in acquiring appropriate permits, financing, and existing incentives to assist landlords in installation and staff training. Efficiency measures can include changing light bulbs, installing low-flow plumbing, upgrading insulation and windows, and high-efficiency heating systems.

In conjunction with the accelerator, de Blasio will announce an expansion of the city's carbon challenge, which commits building owners to cutting emissions by 30 percent within the next 10 years. Roughly 700 multifamily buildings will join 40 institutions in pledging to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years.