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Source: Nout Gons/Pexels

NYC Mayor Mandates Buildings To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Tessa Love

Though it seems like they just sit there, buildings are a huge contributor to climate change. They require heat and electricity, and the fossil fuels that drive them. And the more buildings, the worse the problem: In New York City, buildings are the single largest source of green house gas emissions, making 42 percent of the city’s total output. Which is why Mayor Bill de Blasio has set a mandate to do something about it. 

De Blasio's mandate sets a fossil fuel cap for all buildings over 25,000 square feet over the next 12 to 17 years. Owners of such buildings are required to upgrade their buildings to be more green, with serious penalties for failure to comply. For most owners, this will mean improving inefficient hot water heaters, roofs and windows, boilers and heat distribution systems. For the worst-performing 14,500 buildings, which currently produce about one-quarter of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions, however, the rules will require efficiency upgrades and fossil fuel equipment replacement.

The mandate makes New York the first city to put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions for buildings, and is part of an ongoing effort set forth by de Blasio to reduce total citywide emissions by 80 percent by 2050, an action he took when President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.