At last week’s State of the City,
held at the Apollo Theater, Mayor Bill de Blasio firmly linked energy
efficiency to his mission of making New York City more equitable. The event opened
with a video. It paid homage to the best of what New York has to offer:
opportunity, diversity, culture, progress. As part of his introductory remarks,
the Mayor added that “we need to praise every day New Yorkers…they do all
that is asked of them to realize that dream. That is part of what has made New
York City such an extraordinary place: the openness, the possibility, the fact
that anyone had a shot here.”
The Mayor went on to explain that this part of New
York City, the part that embodies the American dream, is very vulnerable right
now. It’s threatened by discrimination, fear, and an “affordability crisis.” To
combat this affordability crisis, the Mayor declared that we need higher
incomes, more affordable housing, and better jobs.
One of the methods though which he promised to
create better jobs was a “Green Jobs Corps” that will train 3,000 workers over
the next three years to retrofit buildings.
According to New York City benchmarking reports, about 70% of citywide greenhouse
gas emissions come from buildings. So when the Mayor said that “…the number-one source of
pollution is our buildings. They can be retrofitted. When you retrofit them you
make them much more efficient. It’s good for the earth and it saves money,” he
was not exaggerating.
In BE-Ex’s report, Retrofitting Affordability*, we discovered that by actually
completing the energy conservation measures recommended by the LL87** energy
auditors, New York’s big multifamily building owners save about $360 million a
year on their energy bills, while reducing base building energy and greenhouse
gas emissions by approximately 11%.
We know what the stakes are, but questions remain: what
will the Green Jobs Corps look like? And how will we achieve our efficiency objectives?
BE-Ex looks forward to continuing to work with the City to realize these
critical goals through our trainings, events, and resources. And we are excited
for Mayor de Blasio’s team to tell us more detail about their plans soon. In
the mean time, I am proud to live in a city committed to creating good,
un-exportable jobs that will help create a more local, sustainable, and livable
city. Because boy do we need it!
*The follow-up report to Retrofitting Affordability, looking at the second year of audit data, will be published in the next few months, so keep your eyes pealed!
**Local Law 87 (LL87) requires all buildings over 50,000 square feet to conduct an energy audit and retro-commissioning every ten years.