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Mayor Adams Launches Campaign to Promote Green Buildings, Establish NYC as National Leader in Energy Efficiency

April 22, 2022

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Launched on Earth Day, ‘Building Action NYC’ Will Support Buildings in Making Energy Upgrades — Making Buildings More Resilient, Creating Thousands of Green Jobs, and Supporting Long-Term Development of Green Workforce

With Nearly 10,000 Buildings Already Aided Through ‘NYC Accelerator,’ Building Owners, Property Managers, and Developers Can Access Free Support to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Lower Costs, and Comply With Local Laws

NEW YORK  New York City Mayor Eric Adams today launched ‘Building Action NYC,’ a new citywide campaign to promote steps to make New York City’s buildings greener and more resilient while fostering a healthier future for the city and New Yorkers. The city’s more than one million buildings — covering more than five billion square feet — constitute the largest source of the city’s carbon emissions, contributing almost 70 percent of the city’s total emissions. The work to limit building emissions will be a critical component of the city’s work towards reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We must become a carbon-neutral city, but we can only do that if we decarbonize our buildings, and we are going to ‘Get Stuff Done’ and make it happen,” said Mayor Adams. “Buildings are the largest emitters of carbon, so we are investing in bringing renewable energy to them and making New York City a national leader in green buildings — creating tens of thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and delivering environmental justice for our city.”

“Local Law 97 is called the Climate Mobilization Act for a reason: Tackling climate change and protecting New York will require all of us to get moving. For building owners and managers, that means improving energy efficiency, and New York City, in partnership with New York state, offers lots of ways to help,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, New York City Chief Climate Officer; and commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection. “While energy efficiency may seem difficult at first, the success of the Fairview Co-op in Forest Hills demonstrates that all buildings can make progress if they put in just a bit of effort and realize long-term savings.”

“Ensuring that our buildings don’t contribute to our climate challenges isn’t just about reducing their carbon emissions,” said Kizzy Charles-Guzman, executive director, Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “It’s about cleaning the air that we breathe, making our city more livable, reducing pollutants in our neighborhoods, creating green jobs for New Yorkers, and making the spaces where we live, work, and play healthier and more resilient. ‘Building Action NYC’ will connect directly with our frontline communities — educating and empowering New Yorkers to help us shape the city we need and deserve.”

“The ‘NYC Accelerator’ is key to helping building owners lower their emissions and helping New York City reach our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” said New York City Department of Buildings Acting Commissioner Constadino “Gus” Sirakis, P.E. “Our city has made significant strides to push forward building decarbonization in the last few years — work that is critical to protecting the lives of our fellow New Yorkers. The ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign builds on this work by educating building owners on the significant resources available to them to secure a greener future for all of us.”

Over the next month, New Yorkers will see the ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign throughout the city. The campaign will:

  • Raise awareness about ‘NYC Accelerator,’ resources for building decision-makers, and a pledge for any New Yorker to “adopt a building” to facilitate making building upgrades;
  • Showcase how this work supports environmental justice communities ​and affordable housing; and
  • Educate New Yorkers on the need for decarbonization, the benefits to buildings and residents, and the health of our city. ​

New Yorkers will find campaign messaging on storefront windows, broadcast radio, Google and web advertisements, and YouTube and video advertisements, as well as on social media.

Fairview Owners Corporation — the cooperative residence in Forest Hills, Queens that was the site of today’s announcement — is one of nearly 10,000 buildings that have benefited from ‘NYC Accelerator’ assistance to make energy upgrades, repair damaged solar panels, and access incentive programs and financing, all of which will help the building comply with Local Law 97. The significant flood damage that the Fairview suffered during Hurricane Ida in 2021 underscored the need for upgrades at that site and at buildings across the city.

Local Law 97 — which is part of the historic Climate Mobilization Act passed by the New York City Council in 2019 — is one of the most ambitious mandates for emission reductions in the nation. Under this groundbreaking legislation, most buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to comply with greenhouse gas emissions limits by 2024, with stricter limits coming into effect in 2030.

More information on ‘NYC Accelerator’ is available online.

“We are excited about the launch of the ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign and the critical support the ‘NYC Accelerator’ provides to decarbonize buildings like the Fairview Co-op in Forest Hills, highlighting how PACE financing and technical support can improve living spaces through energy savings and efficiency to provide greater comfort,” said Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “With these essential resources, Mayor Adams’ office is providing connections for consumers, businesses, and industry partners to reduce emissions and help frontline communities limit the impact of climate change.”

“Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York state and are at the forefront of our efforts to reduce emissions and create opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and co-chair, State Climate Action Council. “Building decarbonization will help to improve the health and lives of people across the state, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and ensure environmental justice is part of our nation-leading environmental efforts under the leadership of Gov. Kathy Hochul to improve quality of life and protect our planet for generations to come. On Earth Day, and every day, we’re pleased to work with our partners, including Mayor Eric Adams, Chief Climate Officer Rit Aggarwala, and the entire New York City team, to take climate action and protect our communities and residents now and in the future.”

“Our city needs to deploy all tools in its toolbox to effectively implement our landmark Climate Mobilization Act,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “The ‘NYC Accelerator’ is an important resource that provides building owners with free access to technical assistance for identifying retrofit strategies and financial incentives for their building to be compliant with Local Law 97 and meeting our ambitious emissions reduction goals.”

“It is appropriate that Earth Day be celebrated at the Fairview co-op as they make upgrades to their infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Ida last fall,” said New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “Reducing carbon emission, or building decarbonization, will lead to more energy efficiency and ease climate change. I thank Mayor Adams for his leadership in creating ‘Building Action NYC,’ and starting in Forest Hills.”

“In the brief time since Mayor Adams assumed the mayoralty, he has appointed an environmental team that is second to none in the country, and he is boldly seizing the opportunity to have New York City lead the country in decarbonization,” said New York City Councilmember James F. Gennaro, chair, Committee on Environmental Protection. “Mayor Adams appreciates both the great benefits and significant challenges in decarbonization as prescribed in Local Law 97, and his good vision for the full and fair implementation of Local Law 97 will result in a city that is beacon to all cities on the road to decarbonization. ‘Building Action NYC’ will mobilize the city along lines of excellence to avail buildings of the resources provided by the ‘NYC Accelerator’; it will bring environmental justice and abundant green job opportunities to areas of the city that have been epicenters of environmental and economic injustice for generations; and it will not only dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also significantly reduce the full range of air contaminants that will result in unprecedented local clean air benefits for New York City’s residents. I unreservedly give ‘Building Action NYC’ my full support.”

“We are facing a once-in-a-civilization public health challenge to save our planet from destruction,” New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman. “This ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign will help make New York City a leader in adapting to meet the realities of climate change and address the needs of our broken infrastructure, while creating good-paying jobs in the process.”

“As we celebrate Earth Day, I applaud Mayor Adams for his support of Local Law 97, the strongest municipal climate policy in the United States,” said New York City Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa. “Local Law 97 not only provides carrots like the ‘NYC Accelerator’ program, but there are importantly sticks to ensure enforcement of the regulations. As we transition to a green energy economy, we need to ensure that environmental justice communities like Northern Manhattan are guaranteed priority for emerging green union jobs and other community benefits. We do not have time to delay on climate action and need to ensure that New York leads the world in a just transition.”

“I credit the mayor for his common-sense approach to making New York City buildings greener, more resilient, and protected against future coastal and pluvial flooding without passing along the cost of upgrades to owners,” said New York City Councilmember Joann Ariola.

“Our environment is precious, and we should leave this world better than we found it,” said New York City Councilmember Robert Holden. “On this Earth Day, and every day, we should make every effort to reduce our emissions and improve our climate. I applaud Mayor Adams for taking bold steps.”

“We applaud the mayor’s efforts,” said Curtis Probst, CEO, New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation. “The ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign is an important step to support the transformation of New York City’s buildings and provides yet another example of the city’s leadership in addressing environmental issues, creating economic opportunities, and improving the health and well-being of New Yorkers.”

“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is grateful to Mayor Adams for this important energy initiative that will streamline and simplify the process for building owners and operators to get to green,” said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. “This critical undertaking by the City of New York dovetails perfectly with our Queens is Green effort, which offers a team of energy professionals to perform a complimentary energy analysis then facilitate upgrades, promote and install EV charging stations and solar, and make Queens the greenest borough. We look forward to partnering with the Adams administration on the ‘NYC Accelerator’ and facilitating a carbon-free New York City!”

“This Earth Day, we are pleased to see the launch of the ‘Building Action NYC’ campaign to educate residents, building owners, and operators about resources available to help to decarbonize our buildings and improve health and quality of life in our city,” said Julie Tighe, president, New York League of Conservation Voters. “The New York League of Conservation Voters thanks Mayor Adams for highlighting the importance of cutting pollution from our buildings and improving resiliency.”

“New York City has been a longstanding leader on addressing emissions from buildings, the largest contributor to the Big Apple’s carbon footprint,” said Donna De Costanzo, eastern regional director, climate and clean energy program, Natural Resources Defense Council. “‘NYC Accelerator’ is a key component of the city’s fight against climate change and the achievement of the goals of Local Law 97, as building owners must have the tools they need to make their buildings more efficient, while also creating local jobs, saving money, and providing healthier spaces in which to live and work. ‘Building Action NYC’ will help get the word out about this critical, free resource and empower everyday New Yorkers to do their part; we look forward to working with the mayor and his team to ensure its success.”

“New Yorkers who live in cooperatives and condominiums have made a strong commitment to this city, which is our home as well as our workplace,” said Mary Ann Rothman, executive director, Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums. “We are grateful for programs like ‘NYC Accelerator,’ where we can learn more about controlling energy and carbon consumption in our homes.”

“ICF congratulates the mayor’s office on the launch of this critical campaign and the city’s long-standing commitment to reducing the emissions associated with its buildings,” said Luke Surowiec, ICF program manager, NYC Accelerator. “ICF is proud to develop and manage the ‘NYC Accelerator’ program as part of our decade-long partnership with the city. Our team is dedicated to bringing the city’s nation-leading building decarbonization policies to life through personalized assistance with clean energy upgrades. We are grateful for the administration’s commitment to mitigating climate change and prioritizing environmental justice.”

“Earth Day is a day of action and we applaud Mayor Adams’ laser focus to bring meaningful climate action to all of New York City’s communities,” said Richard Yancey, FAIA, executive director, Building Energy Exchange. “The Building Energy Exchange is pleased to continue our support of the ‘NYC Accelerator,’ helping New York’s buildings to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, while making them healthier and more energy efficient. ‘Building Action NYC’ promises to help accelerate our transition to healthy, comfortable, and low-carbon buildings, for everyone, everywhere.”

“More than 90 percent of New York City’s buildings today will still exist in 2050, and buildings represent 70 percent of our carbon emissions,” said John Mandyck, CEO, Urban Green Council. “So we thank Mayor Adams for this new campaign to decarbonize where we live and work while enhancing resiliency and health at the same time. The climate won’t wait for action and neither should we.”

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