New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, recently announced his proposed plan to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of New York’s 14,500 least-efficient buildings, – from municipal offices to private businesses, hospitals, hotels, retail, and apartments – which contribute 24% of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
“Under the proposal, which needs city council approval, more than 14,000 buildings larger than 25,000 square feet would need to upgrade boilers, water heaters, windows and roofs to meet new fossil fuel caps by 2030,” Reuters reports.
An article published by Clean Technica noted that the programme is expected to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 7% by 2035 — the equivalent of taking 900,000 cars off the road. The programme is also expected to create 17,000 green jobs to perform building retrofits.
The new mandates have been described by the Washington Times as the “latest and boldest” action the de Blasio administration has taken to position New York City as a leader in efforts towards fighting the effects of climate change.
Stressing immediate action in the city’s plight toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the New York Mayor said: “We’re not waiting on President Trump and his cabinet of deniers to address this crisis. It is a sad statement that the actions of the president of the United States are putting his own hometown at risk.
“Time is not on our side. 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 honour the goals of the Paris Agreement. No matter what happens in Washington, we will not shirk our responsibility to act on climate [change] in our own backyard.”
Penalties for non-compliance
Building owners that do not comply with the new mandates will face hefty fines. Reuters states that offenders will face escalating penalties based on size and energy use. A 1 million-square-foot building could be hit with a $2 million annual fine for failing to meet its target.
According to a statement made by 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.
In addition to 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, New York City’s senior director of Climate Policy and Programmes and chief resilience officer.
He added: “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.”
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