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Notes From A Green Building Transition Talk NYC 2013

By: Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.

November 18, 2013

Based on the Talking Transition format of self-organizing, break-out tables with 8–10 people discussing opportunities for and obstacles facing the task of making NYC's building stock more energy efficient, here are the ideas advanced for a green, energy efficient building agenda in the de Blasio administration.

I was excited by the focused quality of engagement and civility in the Canal Street tent. Here's my takeaway done as bullet points, in keeping with the quick summaries presented by each table's reporter. I have neither prioritized participants' ideas, organized them into themes nor tried to interpret them.

My only comment is that few people at this discussion made reference to the suite of NYC's building energy efficiency laws in effect since 2009. That said, here is a sketch of what I heard on November 17.

  • The new Mayor should do a community listening tour
  • The Administration should undertake more outreach and education for tenants & landlords
  • Credit unions should be brought in as a new source for energy efficiency financing
  • More community education, adults and kids alike
  • Call for community forums on available energy efficiency techniques and methodologies. People need to learn about others' "hands on" experience. This will help reduce the fear of doing something new, unknown or being taken advantage of
  • Need a NYC master plan or zoning framework to encourage more energy efficiency
  • The public lacks useful information. Call for government outreach and targeted expediting of energy efficiency and resiliency projects. These services should be made available in local "storefronts"
  • The City should improve access to good green jobs and training
  • More access to information of building energy use tracking and comparison should be made available
  • Mayor de Blasio should undertake "boiler-side" chats
  • The City should set up energy efficiency demonstration projects
  • The new Administration should press NYS, through Public Service Commission rule-making, to go greener
  • Energy efficient new construction and rehabbing should get more access to financing
  • The City should do more education on the impact of energy efficient construction
  • Create a "hot line" for the public to access basic information on energy efficiency and access to additional information
  • The City should education the public about how energy consumption is part of every household's budget
  • Concern that there is no critical mass of voters demanding more energy efficiency
  • To add to urban resilience, the City should conduct annual disruption day events to assess every building's preparedness to face infrastructure outages and energy systems and equipment robustness
  • Improve the coordination among City agencies to deliver on building energy efficiency policies, programs and paperwork
  • Mayor de Blasio should use the "bully pulpit" power of his office to highlight building energy efficiency
  • Public engagement and information about energy efficiency is still lacking
  • Organize energy efficiency competitions to engage and motivate people
  • Promote energy efficiency literacy

As I wrote before, and will note again:

Without an alert media and a public that values these laws and the worth of cutting our carbon footprint, the truth of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's vintage observation remains evergreen. He is said to have told labor leaders who sought his support for major reforms, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

Now it's time for New York's citizens to make their elected officials do it.
Mayor-elect Bill deBlasio

May 2017
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