Creating Efficient Buildings for All New Yorkers

Cities must play a leading role in addressing the problem of global climate change. More than half the world's population lives in urban areas, which are responsible for the vast majority of global GHG emissions. Cities also have the resources, commitment, and ingenuity to take bold action to reduce the harmful emissions that are the cause of climate change.

In New York City, our buildings are responsible for three-quarters of our GHG emissions. We can upgrade our buildings to be more energy efficient and power our buildings with renewable sources of energy to put ourselves on a pathway to an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 ("80 by 50").

To do so, the City will adhere to five guiding strategies:

  1. Lead by example.
    The City will pave the way by implementing innovative technologies and strategies in City-owned buildings and working with the federal government to reduce energy use in public housing. The City will also mobilize business leaders and communities in our effort to tackle climate change.
  2. Empower New Yorkers to take action.
    The City will create programs to reduce the risks and complexities of retrofitting buildings and empower New Yorkers to act. The City will also research local applicability of emerging technologies and help bring them to market.
  3. Hold New York City's buildings to the highest energy performance standards.
    The City will improve compliance with existing laws, raise standards for energy performance on new construction and renovations, and promote resiliency improvements during efficiency upgrades.
  4. Ensure benefits are shared by New Yorkers in every neighborhood.
    The City will scale up energy efficiency and renewable energy across more communities and building sectors, including affordable housing and small and mid-sized buildings. The City will also create new programs so local workers benefit from the job growth resulting from efficiency investments.
  5. Use data, analysis, and stakeholder feedback to drive the approach.
    The City will take a data-driven approach, collaborate with stakeholders, and closely track and report our progress when implementing this plan.

What we are outlining is not just a carbon mitigation plan: it is also an affordability plan, an economic development plan, and a public health plan.

By lowering building energy use, we will mitigate rising energy bills for tenants who pay their utilities directly, and free up funding for owners who could invest in other capital upgrades. For the City, the money saved by reducing operating costs can be redirected to other vital investments.

By stimulating new investments in the efficiency of our buildings, we will create new jobs for New Yorkers, growth opportunities for local businesses, and training opportunities for building staff to advance their careers and enhance their earning potential.

By reducing GHG emissions, which often has the added benefit of reducing local air pollution, we will also help improve public health by lowering health risks such as asthma, heart disease, and premature death, as well as the growing risks of heat waves brought on by rising global temperatures.

At every step of the way, we are committed to ensuring that all residents in each and every borough have equal access to the benefits that come from retrofitting our buildings, reducing our GHG emissions, and building a more sustainable and resilient place to live.

This is our plan to create One City: Built to Last.