New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced new mandates on building owners to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of existing buildings, in a move that will affect NYC’s 14,500 least-efficient buildings, which together produce 24% of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Announced last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed the new mandates that will force New York City building owners to make drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, forcing them to meet fossil fuel caps which will see upgrades to boilers, water heaters, roofs, and windows, on 14,500 of the city’s least-efficient buildings.
“Time is not on our side,” said Mayor de Blasio. “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.”
Specifically, the new mandated fossil fuel caps will apply to all buildings in New York City over 25,000 square feet, and will require replacement of fossil fuel equipment as well as energy efficiency upgrades over the next 12 to 17 years. The new program is expected to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 7% by 2035 — the equivalent of taking 900,000 cars off the road — and is further expected to create 17,000 green jobs to perform building retrofits.
For those unwilling to comply with the new mandates, legislation will set annual penalties that increase with building size and the amount the buildings exceed its fossil fuel use targets. For example, according to the New York City Government:
“a 30,000 square foot residential building operating substantially above its energy target would pay $60,000 for every year over the standard, starting in 2030. A one million square foot building operating well over its energy target would pay as much as $2,000,000 for every year over target”
On top of financial penalties, failure to comply will also impact a building’s ability to receive future permits for major renovations.
“At this moment, we’re watching the climate change before our very eyes as the most intense storms like Harvey and Irma become more frequent,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer. “These impacts could get even worse. Now is the time to accelerate New York City’s climate action to achieve the Paris Agreement and lead toward a safer, cleaner, and more resilient city and planet.”
Smaller owners will receive support from a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program which will help provide financing at low interest with long terms that allow property owners to pay for energy efficiency investments through their property tax bill. It is expected that such a program will have the potential to finance $100 million annually in energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
“Buildings are the city’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and New York is leading by example with the most ambitious program in the nation to mandate a dramatic cut in emissions from our City’s building stock,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Less carbon pollution and less reliance on fossil fuels mean lower energy costs, more comfortable environments for tenants, and cleaner air for all New Yorkers, all of which put us on track toward achieving our vision of a sustainable, thriving, and just city.”