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City's Biggest Buildings Slash Energy Use and Emissions

New York City

Local Laws 84/87
Aug. 25, 2016

From 2010 to 2013, thousands of New York City’s biggest buildings slashed energy use by 6 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent, according to the new NYC Energy and Water Use Report.

“Energy use has been going up in this country since Edison started delivering it to customers in New York,” Cecil Scheib of the Urban Green Council told the Daily News. The council co-authored the report along with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress. “We have something that always got worse,” Scheib added, “and for the first time in a century it’s getting better, and that’s amazing.”

The data was collected under Local Laws 84 and 87, which require buildings over 50,000 square feet to conduct energy audits and measure their energy and water use. The laws cover nearly half of the city’s built square footage.

Though good, the news could be better. The report offers three ways that large buildings, including co-ops and condos, could further reduce energy use and emissions:

• Replace inefficient steam heating systems.

• Plug leaks around window and through-wall air conditioners, which cost buildings $180 million a year.

• Replace inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lighting, which is still in use in 40 percent of the city’s multi-family buildings.

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