Meeting NYC's legal mandate to cut its carbon footprint 80% by 2050 is a tall — and essential — order. While 2050 gets closer every day, the full suite of detailed policies, laws, regulations and market transformations needed to meet the 80x50 remain substantially incomplete. It's been a decade since the release of Mayor Bloomberg's Greener Greater Building Plan and the phased-in ban on burning heavy fuel oil for heating buildings has likely been the most effective carbon cutting tool to date, but that still leaves much to do that will entail complex political and technical effort.
I've written before about City Council bills that would require existing buildings to renovate and retrofit buildings to achieve levels of energy efficiency that 80x50 demands. As of this writing, another version of the bill, now designated Intro 1253, had lengthy hearings in December 2018 before the Committee on Environmental Protection, but how the many challenging technical, financial and residential tenant protection issues will be resolved is unknown. What is known is that retrofit decisions and deadlines, as well as the basic metrics for measuring building energy and carbon outputs have no off-the-shelf answers. They have to be discovered or invented and their specifics hammered out — or not. All that can be said with confidence is that the City will not meet its 80x50 goals unless the energy appetite of its built environment changes in big ways and this means both more efficient uses of fuel and electricity along with a shift to fuel and electricity sources that are zero, net-zero or ultra-low carbon.
Among the potential leaders of our climate change era are the operating staff of the many thousands of buildings across New York City. As the main energy users and biggest greenhouse gas emitters, NYC buildings consume over 70% of our total energy and therefore have become the main focus of the City's efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. With NYC ramping up initiatives to make buildings more efficient, the role of management and building staff increases in making these efforts a success.
Nancy Anderson, the Executive Director of the Sallan Foundation, was honored to receive recognition for outstanding accomplishments in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the real estate and construction sector by City & State.