New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is getting on board the climate action train, in a big way. To mark Earth Day, the Mayor's office released a new policy statement setting a goal of reducing building energy use in the city, where buildings are said to account for almost three quarters of total greenhouse gas emissions. "These new initiatives will dramatically reduce emissions from New York City’s over one million buildings, while saving New Yorkers millions and creating thousands of new jobs," de Blasio said, adding: "and we’ll be providing owners support throughout the process.”

Inhabitat has a report here (see: "Mayor announces new energy efficiency initiatives to further reduce NYC greenhouse gas emissions," by Nicole Jewell). Building on an earlier policy program announced in 2014, de Blasio's latest initiative has new elements, Inhabitat reported:

  • Buildings requirements to complete cost-effective energy conservation measures.
  • Requirement of large and mid-size building owners to repair and improve heating distribution systems within the next 10 years, specifically focusing on steam systems and radiators.
  • Requirement of large and mid-size building owners to assess deep energy retrofit strategies as part of their required energy audit, through a simple template developed by the City.
  • Improvement of efficiency and information transparency in mid-sized buildings and non-residential spaces.
  • Changes to historic building and other laws that would encourage energy improvements.

Not everyone is happy. Real estate groups are pushing back, reported Crain's New York Business (see: "REBNY blasts City Hall plan to cut real estate carbon emissions," by Daniel Geiger). “This report proposes immediate mandates with no explanation as to how those mandates will be achieved or the ambitious targets reached,” REBNY, the Rent Stabilization Association, the Building Owners & Managers Association of Greater New York and the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums, said in a joint statement. “Improvements ... will only occur through practical proposals that can achieve realistic goals.”

"REBNY and the other real estate industry groups said they took issue with several elements of the mayor’s plans," Crain's reported. "They stated his requirements leave out one-family to four-family buildings, which make up 82% of the city’s buildings, and that it was unclear what incentives were available to help building owners make the required energy efficient upgrades. They even suggested the energy efficiency requirements could drive up rents."