Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he will impose mandates on the commercial real estate sector to achieve dramatic greenhouse gas emissions among the city's building stock — by far the city's biggest contributor to global warming.
In an announcement tied to Earth Day, the mayor's office said the requirements, along with city programs and incentives, would help kickstart the mayor's goal of cutting building emissions dramatically over the next 35 years.
The mandates are a significant development for the city's real estate world. When de Blasio announced a plan two years ago to cut building emissions, he threatened mandates if private developers did not act quickly enough. After more than a year of meetings with a technical working group, the group submitted a report recommending the mandates.
“Cities that lead on climate, lead on buildings,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We’ve set bold goals as we take on climate change and a clear path to meet them. The City has been leading the way by greening our own public facilities. Now, these new initiatives will dramatically reduce emissions from New York City’s over one million buildings, while saving New Yorkers millions and creating thousands of new jobs – and we’ll be providing owners support throughout the process.”
The mayor is expected to address the announcement Friday during remarks a United Nations luncheon commemorating the signing of the Paris accord.
Among the measures announced Friday, the mayor's office will push new energy codes that will require buildings to complete cost-effective energy conservation measures; require large and mid-size building owners to repair and improve heating distribution systems within the next 10 years; require large and mid-size building owners to assess energy retrofit strategies as part of their required energy audit; and improve efficiency and information transparency in mid-sized buildings and non-residential spaces.
The city estimates the measures will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 2.7 million metric tons — the equivalent of taking more than 560,000 cars off the road. The mandates are also expected to save building owners approximately $900 million in energy costs each year and create an estimated 1,300 direct construction-related jobs, the mayor's office said.
The move drew immediate praise form policymakers, including EPA Region II administrator Judith Enck.
“Policies that promote energy efficiency in buildings are extremely effective in driving down greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. This outstanding report positions the City of New York to be a national leader in energy efficiency,” Enck said in a statement. “These policies are good for the environment, will create new jobs and reduce monthly utility bills for tenants and homeowners alike.”