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PR- 264-08
July 7, 2008


Steering Committee Submits Plan to Achieve PlaNYC Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Municipal Buildings and Operations by 30 Percent by 2017

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the long-term action plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the City's municipal buildings and operations by 30 percent by 2017, as promised in PlaNYC. The long-term plan is a comprehensive guide to reducing the City's carbon footprint, through making City buildings more efficient, improving preventative maintenance, capturing energy potential at wastewater treatment plants, and more. The plan was developed by the Energy Conservation Steering Committee created by an Executive Order signed by Mayor Bloomberg in October, 2007 and chaired by Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler. Today's announcement was made at St. Mary's Recreation Center in the Bronx, a Parks Department facility that, under the plan, will receive energy-saving retrofits to fix outdated heating and cooling systems, insufficient ventilation, and windows and doors that leak heat in the winter and cooled air in the summer. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor Skyler; Ashok Gupta, Air & Energy Program Director of the Natural Resource Defense Council; and Gil Quiniones, Acting Chief Operating Officer of the New York Power Authority.

"Our long-term plan will cut City government's annual output of greenhouse gases by nearly 1.7 million metric tons, which also will greatly improve air quality, and take a 220-megawatt bite out of peak demand for electricity," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We can achieve these results by using cost-effective existing technologies. The City is doing its part, I hope the private sector follows our example and finds conservation savings of their own." 

"This plan is the most in-depth and comprehensive ever look at the energy used by the City, which is the largest property manager in the City, as well as the operator of the largest municipal vehicle fleet in the nation," said Deputy Mayor Skyler. "We have identified a number of ways to make real energy savings, and the investments we make today will start paying for themselves immediately, and be fully recouped in just a few years."

"Today's announcement confirms that significant reductions in energy usage to achieve the 30 percent reduction requirement in global warming pollution by 2017 is not only achievable but it will also save taxpayers money," said Ashok Gupta of the of the Natural Resource Defense Council. "Especially during this period of high energy costs, deploying energy efficient lighting, air conditioning, motors, and office equipment, along with improved Operations and Maintenance, makes economic sense and it is to the City's credit and Mayor Bloomberg's leadership that existing public buildings will be showing the way. The public is watching and counting on the City to now deliver on the promise."

"The New York Power Authority has a long history of working with the City of New York, our largest electricity customer, on projects to advance energy efficiency and clean new energy technologies at public facilities in the City," said Gil Quiniones of the New York Power Authority. "Now, in line with Governor David Paterson's ambitious '15 by 15' energy efficiency plan and his renewable energy initiatives and the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg in implementing PlaNYC, we're poised to build on that partnership to help create a Greener and Greater New York."

City government accounts for approximately 6.5 percent of New York City's total energy usage and 10 percent of its peak electricity demand. The projects in the long-term plan will be partially funded by an annual commitment of 10 percent of the City's energy budget, which in fiscal year 2009 will be $100 million. In total, the plan will require an estimated $2.3 billion investment over the next nine years, of which roughly $900 million has been committed by the City, and another $80 million was already spent in fiscal year 2008. Additional funding is being sought from external sources, including state and federal programs, private foundations and through energy performance contracts. The City is expected to break even on its investment in 2013 on an annual cash flow basis, and by fiscal year 2015 it is projected that the City will have saved more on its energy bills than it has spent on all the planned investments to that point.

To meet its 30 percent reduction goal by 2017, the City must produce 1.68 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) annually versus 2006 levels. This will be achieved through an aggressive capital improvement program for the City's facilities, and significant enhancements to its current operations and maintenance practices.

The largest single opportunity for reductions, 57 percent of the total, is through upgrades to existing buildings, like firehouses, police precincts, sanitation garages, offices, and courthouses. Planned improvements include upgrading facility lighting, refrigeration units, boiler upgrades office equipment, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. There are other savings to be found in the way buildings are operated, including developing and implementing preventive practices in buildings that consume large amounts of energy. For example, leaking pipes, clogged steam traps, and inefficient air distribution, pumps, or fan systems will be systematically identified and repaired. The plan also includes retrocommissioning, a process that identifies the most wasteful inefficiencies that technicians can correct in a cost-effective manner.

Energy-saving projects at wastewater treatment plants account for the second largest opportunity for greenhouse gas reductions, 17 percent of the total. Wastewater treatment plants decontaminate sewage and storm water runoff through a series of physical, chemical, and biological processes, and release the water back into the environment once it has been cleaned.  These processes generate significant amounts of methane gas, one of the strongest greenhouse gas emissions sources. Projects in this group include fixing methane gas leaks, using recaptured methane to power electric generation equipment, and making general efficiency improvements to other specialized equipment.

Further reductions will be achieved through accelerating the purchase of more energy efficient vehicles, adopting best practices to economize vehicle miles traveled, and improving vehicular management programs. Also, 250- and 150-watt street lighting fixtures will be replaced with models that maintain equal lighting levels, but use one-third less wattage. The City will also expand on-site electricity generation at City facilities.  Leading examples of this technology include solar panels and combined heat and power systems known as cogeneration. The City will also adopt energy-efficient technologies in new building construction and explore the use of new technology.

In December, the Steering Committee released a short-term action plan that included 132 projects throughout all five boroughs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 34,000 tons annually. The projects in that plan include lighting replacement and sensor installation; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvements; water and sewer equipment upgrades; and vehicle replacements. The City committed $80 million in fiscal year 2008 to implement the short-term action plan issued last December.

The Steering Committee includes the Office of Operations/Long-Term Planning and Sustainability (OLTPS), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).  Earlier this year, the City enlisted a technical advisory team comprised of the energy consulting firms AECOM Technology Corporation and KEMA, Inc. to conduct extensive technical research, interviews, and analysis on the various reduction opportunities available to the City. 


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

More Resources
Download the plan (in PDF)
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