Can New York Make Buildings Super-Efficient, Fast?

By 2030, the New York City’s large buildings must cut their carbon emissions by 40 percent. Here’s how that can happen.

New York City passed the most aggressive climate bill in the nation in April, and the city got it done in a truly New York way, says Kriston Capps in her May 2 blog.

The Climate Mobilization Act is the city’s effort to abide by the Paris climate-change agreement even after the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the global accords. Before its abrupt about-face, America’s plan had been to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. New York is taking up that pledge by introducing new regulations to address the energy performance of buildings. …

… The hope is that New York’s climate law is awesomely burdensome. No, that doesn’t mean a ban on glass skyscrapers. But a law that turns over the everyday dealings of real estate in New York has a great deal of promise for upsetting how buildings work everywhere. That’s what this represents, according to supporters like John Mandyck, CEO of the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit devoted to making New York buildings sustainable. “This law could possibly be the largest disruption in our lifetime for the real-estate industry in New York City,” he says.

New York’s new law is an effort to make the road by walking: It’s not something anyone knows how to do until everyone commits to doing it. The fact that this legislation is sweeping in its scope is why it stands a chance of succeeding, its supporters say. It’s the first plank in the suite of legislation that Mayor Bill de Blasio describes as the city’s own Green New Deal. The idea is to build a durable industry in energy retrofitting, one that benefits everyone involved—and by doing so, establishing a model for other cities around the world. And the city can’t get there with a measure that asks building owners to simply swap out light bulbs.

Read the full post here.