In April, the New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, also called the #GreenNewDeal4NY, a collection of bills that represent the city’s most aggressive attempt to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the bill, the Council named buildings as the primary culprit for the massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions in the city.
As a property owner, you may be wondering what this all means for you. Read on for all you need to know about the Climate Mobilization Act.
Why was the legislation passed?
The driving factor behind the legislation is climate change. Over the past several decades, the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, sea levels have risen, and snow and ice levels have dropped. This unprecedented climate change is believed to have been triggered by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The New York City Council has consequently passed the Climate Mobilization Act which should drastically reduce the amount of collective GHG emissions across the city in an effort to halt the climate change. As a bonus, when GHGs are reduced, buildings are forced to be more energy efficient, which benefits building owners and the environment alike.
What kind of legislation was passed?
The new legislation includes a collection of bills and resolutions that together represent the strongest and broadest attempt to reduce greenhouse gases in NYC. You can read the full Climate Mobilization Act here.
Here is a sampling of new regulations established by the legislation:
• New emissions caps for buildings over 25,000 square feet.
• The requirement of an assessment of the feasibility of replacing the city’s gas-fired power plants with battery-storage powered by renewable energy sources.
• Roofs of some smaller new residential buildings and non-residential buildings will be required to be equipped with a solar photovoltaic system or a green roof.
How does the legislation affect building owners?
As mentioned, buildings have been singled out in the legislation as the culprit for emitting the most GHGs from all other structures in the city. According to data shared by the city, 71% of GHG emissions in NYC are from buildings, with 36% of these buildings falling under the category of “residential properties.” These emissions are a direct result of energy consumption in these buildings, including electricity use, heating, cooling and more.
The legislation requires all large and midsized buildings in the city to reduce their GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. The worst-performing buildings in the city have only five years to bring their emissions down. Failure to comply with the new legislations can result in heavy fines.
How can I bring down my building’s greenhouse gas emissions?
The best way to reduce a building’s GHG emissions is by making the building more energy efficient. This can take the form of on-site power generation, solar energy utilization, and implementing other systems created to produce clean energy.
Tenants and building occupants use massive amounts of energy, accounting for a full 40-60% of a building’s total energy consumption. Therefore, urging tenants and occupants to reduce their energy use, perhaps through means of incentives, can also be a great way to reduce GHG emissions. This can include switching light bulbs to LEDs, using energy-efficient appliances, and unplugging small electronics and chargers when not in use.
To find out exactly how much GHG emissions your buildings produce, you can check out the city’s emissions map here and find your building’s lot. You’ll get an instant reading of your property’s GHG emissions per square foot, as of 2017.
If these new regulations have you stressed, take a deep breath—we’ve got your back! Give us a call at 718.655.6110 or contact us through our website at www.jackjaffa.com to see how we can help. As always, we look forward to servicing you.