Starting next year, big NYC buildings will display letter grades based on energy efficiency

November 21, 2019

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Certain New York City buildings next year will be forced to share how energy efficient they are with the public. As part of the Climate Mobilization Act, passed by the city in April, structures that are 25,000 square feet and larger will be graded based on energy efficiency and mandated to post the rating in a “conspicuous” place in the building. As the New York Times reported, more than 40,000 of the city’s one million buildings will be issued report cards, similar to how the Health Department issues restaurants a prominently displayed food safety rating.

The main goal of the Climate Mobilization Act, considered the city’s own version of the Green New Deal, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 to fight climate change. The worst offenders are buildings, especially mid-size and large structures, which are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

As 6sqft reported in 2015, luxury buildings top the list as drivers of climate change, including 838 Fifth Avenue, 101 Warren Street, 666 Fifth Avenue, and Trump Tower.

“Every day we wait is a day our planet gets closer to the point of no return. New York City’s Green New Deal meets the reality head on,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in April. “There’s no time to waste. We’re taking action now, before it’s too late.”

By next May, building owners must submit energy-use data to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-created digital tool that calculates emissions by looking at the type of building and number of occupants. According to the Times, buildings will submit scores to city officials, who will then provide a corresponding letter grade.

“Starting in 2020, New Yorkers will be seeing energy efficiency letter grades sign in large buildings across all five boroughs,” the official NYC Buildings account tweeted Thursday. “These signs will provide a new level of accessible transparency for the public.”

Buildings with a score of 90 or higher will receive an A, 50 or higher will get a B, 20 or higher to be given a C, and below 20 will receive a D. If the owner does not submit the necessary data or does not display the grade at the building, the city will impose a fine.

“Its a nutrition label for our buildings,” Mark Chambers, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, told the Times.

In addition to complying with the new rating system, building owners must meet new standards to make structures more efficient. Starting in 2024, buildings not retrofitted to reduce carbon emissions will be fined.

[Via NY Times]


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