New York City has taken the lead to combat climate change with unprecedented to reduce the City’s carbon emissions.
On April 22, 2019 Mayor de Blasio announced New York City’s “Green New Deal,” an ambitious $14 billion plan to attack global warming and combat climate change. Known as the Climate Mobilization Act, the bundle of ten bills passed the City Council with a vote of 45 to 2 and is the single largest carbon reduction effort in any city, nationwide. It will result in the equivalent of taking more than one million cars off the road by 2030 and will have a significant impact on air quality in the City, while creating thousands of new middle-class jobs for the City.
The Climate Mobilization Act is geared toward the largest source of emissions in New York by requiring approximately 50,000 buildings to cut emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. The legislation mandates that all buildings of more than 25,000 square feet, which are responsible for 30 percent of the City’s carbon emissions, conduct retrofits, such as installation of new windows and insulation, to make those buildings more energy efficient. Additionally, landlords who don’t adapt their buildings in conformance with the Act will be faced with hefty fines.
Not every edifice, however, will have to scramble to make energy efficient updates. Certain building types, such as houses of worship, buildings with rent regulated units and senior low- income housing will be required to perform other energy- saving measures such as insulating pipes and installing heat sensors. Additionally, hospitals will have their own specific set of requirements.
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability estimates the required upgrades needed to meet the Act’s emissions caps would cost building owners around $4 billion. However, to aid property owners subject to reduction requirements, the Act creates the Office of Building Energy and Emission Performance to oversee the implementation of the standards and to provide technical assistance. Additionally, another bill in the package creates a new program that will make building owners eligible for specific loans toward meeting the emission goals.
The Bill also aims to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions in a myriad of other ways. Key points from the Green New Deal include: committing to carbon neutrality and 100 percent clean electricity by 2050 through Canadian hydropower and other sources, banning new inefficient glass- walled buildings, mandatory organics recycling, reducing waste and carbon intensive consumption, aligning with U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, and working to improve air quality congestion- heavy sections of the city by creating “People Priority Zones” to restrict vehicular access and create pedestrian heaves.
The City’s Council also passed three additional bills that would require 100 percent of new residential and commercial buildings to install green or solar rooftops, as well as require any homeowner doing renovation on their existing rooftop to invent in green infrastructure.
In his announcement of the pioneering legislation, Mayor de Blasio noted that “every day we wait is a day our planet gets closer to the point of no- return”. “New York City’s Green new Deal meets that reality head on… There’s no time to waste. We’re taking action now before it’s too late.”
For more information on New York City’s Green New Deal and the new requirements it imposes on building owners, call the Attorney’s at Periconi, L.L.C. at 212-213-5500.