Looking north towards Billionaires’ Row © 6sqft
A group of New York City building owners is suing the city in an effort to block a 2019 law that requires large buildings to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Local Law 97 mandates owners of buildings more than 25,000 square feet to cap their property’s greenhouse gas emissions or face fines. The lawsuit, filed on Thursday by two co-ops in Queens and a mixed-use building owner in Manhattan, claims the new law is “excessive and disproportionate to the purported offense,” as first reported by Crain’s New York. Under the law, owners have until 2024 to ensure their property’s compliance, with the ultimate goal of reducing the emissions produced by the city’s largest buildings 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
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Members of the #GasFreeNY campaign protested outside of Speaker Carl Heastie’s office on Thursday; Photo credit: Pete Sikora of NYCC
Landmark legislation that would have banned the use of natural gas in new buildings across New York was cut from this year’s state budget, according to Hudson Valley-based news site The River. While it looked like the legislation, dubbed the All-Electric Buildings Act, would make it into the final budget, which is already a week late, a staffer close to negotiations told The River “the gas ban is officially dead in the budget.”
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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.
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During a rally at Trump Tower yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio put the Trump Organization on blast as he promoted the city’s Green New Deal. Under the new climate change legislation, which requires large buildings in New York City to dramatically cut their greenhouse gas emissions, eight Trump-owned properties, referred to as “dirty, inefficient buildings,” would cause the Organization to owe roughly $2.1 million in fines annually beginning in 2030. The 27,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses that these buildings pump out each year is equal to 5,800 cars. After being passed by the New York City Council on April 18, the law is slated to go into effect on May 17.
New York City will prohibit the construction of new “inefficient”all-glass and steel skyscrapers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. Dubbed by the mayor as the city’s version of the Green New Deal, the $14 billion plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030 as a way to fight climate change. Under the bill, developers would have to meet strict energy codes before getting a building permit from the city. During a press conference Monday, de Blasio said glass skyscrapers that do not meet strict performance guidelines “have no place in our city or on our Earth anymore.”
New York City is ramping up its fight against climate change with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from high-rise buildings by 40 percent over the next decade. The City Council is expected to pass on Thursday an eight-bill legislative package that has been called its own version of the Green New Deal. The most ambitious bill of the lot requires NYC buildings 25,000 square feet or bigger to meet new standards to reduce greenhouse gas outputs by upgrading them with energy-efficient technology.
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Following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement in June, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order that committed New York City to honor the standards of the accord, which is an international negotiation aimed to mitigate climate change worldwide. On Tuesday, de Blasio released an action plan that details ways to lower the city’s carbon footprint, reduce 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 and introduce a citywide single-stream recycling program by 2020. New York City is the first metropolitan area to release a Paris Agreement-compatible action plan, according to the report.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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