Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Legislation Introduced for NYC Buildings

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today announced the world’s most comprehensive package of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing government, commercial, and residential buildings.  A six-point plan, when enacted as part of PlaNYC, will dramatically reduce the City’s energy usage and save consumers money, while simultaneously creating thousands of well-paying jobs and significantly reducing New York City’s carbon footprint.  The six-point plan consists of four pieces of new legislation and two PlaNYC programs that will achieve carbon reductions, train workers for the estimated 19,000 construction jobs that will be created, and help finance energy-saving improvements using $16 million available from theAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The plan will also result in cleaner air, since emissions from boilers, furnaces, and local power plants will also be reduced.  According to the PlaNYC inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, almost 80 percent of New York City’s carbon footprint comes from buildings’ energy use. Once implemented, the legislation announced today will reduce citywide emissions by 5 percent, the equivalent of eliminating all carbon emissions from Oakland, California.

New York City Energy Code Bill
Currently, New York is one of 42 U.S. states using the standard energy code known as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  However, New York is the only state that amends this code with a loophole that allows buildings to skirt the energy code if they are not taking on massive renovations.  A critical component of NYC’s Green Buildings Plan is to move beyond this amendment and create an NYC code that would require all buildings to comply with the un-amended version.  This means any time a renovation takes place in one of NYC’s 1 million buildings, this work would be required to conform to a set of easily applied standards, resulting in both a significant energy reduction and cost savings.  

Benchmarking Bill
This legislation would require a benchmarking standard for all City buildings.  Benchmarking is the practice of evaluating a building’s energy efficiency so a building owner can identify what improvements he or she should make. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an online benchmarking tool to track buildings’ annual energy and water consumption.  Tracking allows building owners and operators to see how efficiently their buildings function and enable prospective buyers to better assess the value of a building.  Benchmarking provides the basis for empowering building owners to take steps towards minimizing energy use and maximizing the economic benefits of energy conservation.

Audits and Retrofits Bill
This legislation would require owners of existing buildings over 50,000 square feet to make cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to their buildings once every ten years by conducting an audit, retro-commissioning, and retrofitting their building. Buildings will undergo energy audits with results determining the necessary improvements to be undertaken, including insulating pipes, replacing inefficient lighting, and installing low-flow water fixtures. The legislation requires spending by building owners for only those retrofits that will pay for themselves in less than 5 years through energy-related cost-savings.  Many of the required measures are low- to no-cost. Those savings will then continue beyond recovery of initial outlays. This bill would apply to all classes of buildings over 50,000 square feet, both private and City-owned, and will cover nearly half of the built square footage of New York City.  

Lighting Upgrades Bill
In New York City, lighting accounts for approximately 20 percent of the energy used in buildings and roughly 20 percent of a building’s carbon emissions.  The proposed legislation requires that lighting systems in buildings over 50,000 square feet be upgraded to meet the requirements of the New York City Energy Conservation Code. Over the past few decades, there have been rapid improvements in lighting technology, which have resulted in a dramatic reduction of energy use.  By addressing lighting in the building sector, New York City can dramatically reduce its CO2 emissions.

Green Workforce Development Training
To address the increased demand for energy auditors, contractors, construction workers, and other related professionals, the City has been working with key stakeholders in the labor and real estate sectors, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to identify the workforce needs and opportunities created by the legislation.  This will ensure that there is an adequate supply of skilled technicians to implement the legislation.  The legislation will be a key economic driver in the green economy, creating an estimated 19,000 construction jobs as part of the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

Green Building Financing
Retrofits pay for themselves, reduce utility bills and improve buildings' financial health.  However, some owners may not have the ability to finance these improvements upfront.  To begin to assist owners, New York City will establish a revolving loan fund, using $16 million in federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Loans will be offered to owners who demonstrate financial need or have already completed an energy audit. Energy savings data will be collected to encourage private sector lending in the long-term. 

Source: PlaNYC

3 comments:

Vernon Malcolm said...

Them boys in Bayside are the most dangerous and backwards of all. The city should toughen inspections for medical, psychiatric and vehicle reasons to cut down the number of congestion. This way, we will also get the voters against congestion pricing, who live in Bayside and Staten Island, to move away. Free health care means psychiatric care for all those angry talk radio white males! They are all overweight from driving around too much, burdening the city health system!

Vernon Malcolm said...

Them boys in Bayside are the most dangerous and backwards of all. The city should toughen inspections for medical, psychiatric and vehicle reasons to cut down the number of congestion. This way, we will also get the voters against congestion pricing, who live in Bayside and Staten Island, to move away. Free health care means psychiatric care for all those angry talk radio white males! They are all overweight from driving around too much, burdening the city health system!

madina said...

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