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NYC Wants to Lead on Climate Change Initiatives as Fed Turns Away

By Amy Zimmer | January 26, 2017 4:41pm | Updated on January 27, 2017 5:25pm
 Commercial owners and tenants are signing up to join NYC's Carbon Challenge to reduce greenhouse gases.
Commercial owners and tenants are signing up to join NYC's Carbon Challenge to reduce greenhouse gases.
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NEW YORK CITY — While the federal government appears to be moving away from initiatives tackling climate change, New York's public and private sector are doubling down their efforts to improve the environment.

More than 20 commercial building owners and tenants — representing a total of 56 buildings — signed onto the NYC Carbon Challenge, committing to reduce greenhouse emissions from their buildings by at least 30 percent in 10 years, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Real Estate Board of New York announced Thursday.

The agreement is the real estate equivalent of a group of like-minded New Yorkers joining forces to detox from sugar, workout and stick to their new year's resolution to lead healthier lives.

The landlords and tenants have pledged to work together to identify energy efficiency projects in their buildings, adding more than 58 million square feet to the city’s Challenge program. Their work is projected to result in an estimated $50 million in energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by taking the equivalent of nearly 13,000 cars off the roads, city officials said.

The move is also expected to help de Blasio reach his goal of an 80 percent reduction of emissions by 2050.

“We look forward to working with these other large commercial owners and our tenants to continue to drive deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in our buildings, ensuring that our city is at the forefront of innovative and progressive thinking to fight climate change,” Bill Rudin, CEO of Rudin Management Company and chairman of the Association for a Better New York, said in a statement.

“We are happy to continue to step towards a more sustainable future and demonstrate that the need for action is not a burden requiring sacrifice, but an opportunity to do things better, cleaner, and cheaper and make our communities and buildings more livable and productive,” he added.

Commercial buildings account for roughly 30 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the energy used inside offices accounting for 40 to 60 percent of total energy consumption in a typical commercial office building.

Owners and tenants, however, face a range of barriers when it comes to coordinating energy efficiency and cost savings measures, city officials said. So, part of this latest effort will be to help owners and tenants find creative solutions together.

The Carbon Challenge launched under the Bloomberg administration in 2007 and now includes 17 universities, 10 hospital organizations, 24 commercial tenants, 10 commercial owners, 20 residential property management companies, and 18 hotels.