With a federal budget proposal that strips significant funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s not so shocking that President Trump and his son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, both own buildings that rank as the least energy-efficient in New York City. The Daily News shared a new report from ALIGN, a coalition of labor and environmental activists, which found that Trump Tower uses more energy than 93 percent of the city’s large residential buildings. Worse, the Trump Organization’s Mayfair condo uses more than 98 percent. The report also revealed that a Kushner Companies’ 666 Fifth Avenue (controversial for even more reasons as of late) uses more energy than 85 percent of large office buildings.
greenhouse gas emissions
With increasing concerns about rising sea levels and the large quantity of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere, Radley Horton‘s work is more important than ever. As a climate scientist at Columbia University, he’s working on the applied end of climate change by examining data to make projections about the possibility of extreme weather events. Based on the data and ensuing models, he then considers the impacts these potential events and the overall changing climate might have in a variety of contexts that range from airports to the migration of pests. Radley is on the forefront of understanding what might happen and how cities, countries, and other entities can prepare even in the face of uncertainty.
6sqft recently spoke with Radley about his work, areas of climate concern in New York, and what we all can do to combat a changing planet.
In November, 6sqft shared a study that showed luxury buildings in NYC were among the worst offenders for driving climate change. The report from Climate Works for All stated that “a mere two percent of the city’s one million buildings use 45% of all of the city’s energy.” Widening the scope, a new map from Brooklyn web developer Jill Hubley (who also created this fun map of NYC street trees species) color codes the greenhouse gas emissions of all city lots with single properties over 50,000 square feet and lots with multiple properties over 100,000 square feet–those that are required to follow benchmarking laws for energy and water consumption under Mayor de Blasio’s plan to cut such emissions 30 percent by 2030.
What the interactive map shows is that NYCHA properties have some of the highest amounts of emissions, as do large complexes like Stuy Town and big institutions such as Pace University and the Time Warner Center. The area clustered below Central Park is also a hotbed for emissions. But it’s comforting to see that the majority of the map reads teal (lower emissions) instead of brown (higher emissions), and some of the best-faring locales include NYU, Battery Park City, Pratt Institute, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“Elite Emissions: How the Homes of the Wealthiest New Yorkers Help Drive Climate Change” is a new report from Climate Works for All, a project of advocacy group ALIGN. As 6sqft has previously reported, New York City is expected to be hotter, rainier, and severely underwater in the future, and this new study points to luxury buildings as one of the main culprits.
As first explained by Curbed, “The group looked at the Forbes Billionaire List, then Business Insider’s 20 Most Expensive Buildings in New York City list, and cross-referenced this information with the city’s Energy Benchmarking data.” They then drew up a list of the top ten offenders, all of which received an F for energy efficiency. Leading the pack is 838 Fifth Avenue, followed by 101 Warren Street, Trump Park Avenue, and Trump Tower, respectively.
Yesterday, the City Council passed a bill that says New York City must cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. The bill, which was approved 47-0, was sponsored by Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides and is expected to be signed into law by Mayor de Blasio.
To reduce emissions, measures similar to those used for PlaNYC will be put into play, including planting trees and retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. But we also suspect that the bill will spur a wave of new green developments.