PlaNYC, published in 2007, firmly established that buildings are the primary contributor to New York City's carbon footprint. While energy conservation codes govern the energy performance of new construction projects (which represent only a small portion of NYC construction in any given year), very few regulations apply to the performance of existing structures. The Greener Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) seeks to rectify this by requiring buildings over a certain size to enact energy conservation measures. The GGBP also established a New York City-specific energy code, separate from the New York State energy code the city was previously required to follow. Learn more about the NYC code here:
PlaNYC analysis determined that buildings over 50,000 SF make up only two percent of the city's individual structures but account for almost half of the city's total square footage and 74 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. These buildings (only 15-20,000 of the 1 million NYC buildings) are required to report on their energy and water use every year, audit the energy systems of their buildings every ten years, submeter large tenants, and upgrade all commercial lighting to meet current code by 2025. These measures were projected to reduce total NYC greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 5 percent and produce net savings of 7 billion dollars.
Learn more about these regulations here:
The local laws above were supplemented by job training opportunities and the creation of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), a financing non-profit established to aid implementation of energy conservation measures, including those related to the GGBP.
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