On the heels of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to vastly improve the energy efficiency of New York City’s buildings.
Noting the fact that 75% of the city’s carbon emissions come from its one million buildings, the plan aims to make reductions to the energy consumption of New York properties to help the city reach its goal of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
The One City: Built to Last plan aims to build on the successes already achieved in NYC, including a 19% reduction in citywide emissions from 2005 levels.
Benchmarking has also seen recent victories, having already measured 2.1 billion square feet of floor space since 2010.
Also included in the challenge is the NYC Clean Heat program, with a goal of providing technical assistance to help increase the rate of fuel oil conversions.
The program first seeks to make major changes to city-owned building operations and maintenance and outlines three key steps that will be taken to help privately owned buildings reach the goal of 80% by 2050:
The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan currently requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark their energy use annually and perform a detailed assessment of systems and equipment every 10 years using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. The program will be expanded to include all buildings over 25,000 square feet, with the city providing increased access to benchmarking tools, including regular updates to the Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency website at www.nyc.gov/gbee.
2) Energy Assessments and Retrocommissioning
The periodic energy assessments and retrocommissioning of building systems that are currently required of large buildings by Local Law 87 will also soon apply to those over 25,000 square feet.
Included in the periodic energy assessments is a roadmap for improving energy efficiency through recommended conservation measures, including information about costs, possible savings, and return on investment. Due to the less complex systems and equipment used in mid-sized buildings, the scope of the new energy assessment and retrocommissioning requirements will be significantly scaled back and will operate at a lower level of specificity than current standards.
3) Lighting and Submetering Upgrades
With lighting costs accounting for nearly 25% of the energy used in the city’s buildings, Local Law 88 will be expanded to include all nonresidential buildings over 25,000 square feet.
This will require building owners to upgrade their lighting to current code requirements and install sub-meters in non-residential tenant space.
The proposal also highlights multiple incentive and rebate programs available through both local utilities and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.