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Day of Reckoning for Trump Tower and Other Energy Hogs

New York City

Green Retrofit
April 18, 2019

Today’s the day. The New York City Council is expected to approve a bill that will require most co-op and condo boards to undertake costly retrofits to reduce their buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions

Known as Intro. 1253, the bill will require owners of residential and commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, including co-ops and condos, to reduce emissions by 40 percent (of 2005 levels) by 2030 – or face fines. Many buildings will be forced to install new boilers, air-conditioning, windows, insulation and other retrofits to meet the goals. Councilman Costa Constantinides of Queens, the main sponsor, calls Intro. 1253 “largest emission-reduction policy of any city anywhere,” Crain’s reports.

“If passed, it would be the most ambitious climate legislation for buildings enacted by any city in the world,” adds the nonprofit Urban Green Council, which brokered an agreement between the city’s real estate lobby and grassroots environmental activists that became the basis for Intro. 1253. It’s the centerpiece of a larger legislative package called the Climate Mobilization Act, which seeks to cut the city’s building emissions by an ambitious 80 percent by the middle of this century. 

Among the hardest-hit buildings under the Climate Mobilization Act will be energy-hogs such as Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, which currently uses more energy per square foot than 93 percent of the city’s large residential buildings, according to ALIGN, a coalition of labor and community groups that supports the legislation. 

Some co-op and condo activists have joined the Real Estate Board of New York in protesting the expected high cost of the looming retrofits. But Constantinides counters that boards and building owners can obtain special financing and compliance delays if they encounter technical or financial problems that make it difficult for them to meet the goals. 

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