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NYC makes strides in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions

Emissions from 3,000 of NYC’s largest buildings decreased by eight percent in just three years

Although some would have the population believing otherwise, greenhouse gas emissions are a real issue. And while New York City, with its shipped-in food and barged-out trash, is no small contributor to that matter, the city is at least making strides to amend its contribution.

The mayor’s office, along with Urban Green Council and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, released a report today citing an eight percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 3,000 of the city’s largest buildings between 2010 and 2013. In those same buildings, energy use decreased by six percent.

The initiative to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in buildings across the city is part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC campaign, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in NYC by 80 percent from its 2005 levels by 2050.

The report issued on Wednesday not only shows where the city is excelling at reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, but also highlights areas of improvement. Those areas include updating heating and lighting systems as well as securing areas around A/C units and windows to stem energy loss.

The information gathered is a result of Local Law 84, passed in 2009, requiring buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to report on the amount of energy and water they use yearly. That information is then used to compare the buildings’ efficacy against similar structures. (They call this benchmarking.)

The law encompasses about 15,000 buildings in New York City that are both city- and privately owned. While these buildings only make up fewer than two percent of properties citywide, they account for 47 percent of the city’s total built square footage.

To meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the city will eventually expand its benchmarking procedures. Onward!