Aug. 21,, 2018 By Tara Law
Councilmember Costa Constantinides stood on the steps of City Hall Monday to advocate for legislation that would mandate the retrofitting of large New York City buildings to make them more energy-efficient.
Constantinides, the Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, wants to pass bills based on proposals put forward by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Urban Green Council, a non-profit think tank dedicated to making New York City buildings more sustainable.
De Blasio, aided by Constantinides, put forward a comprehensive proposal in September 2017 that calls for large-scale building owners to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their large properties by 2030.
Meanwhile, the Urban Green Council released its proposal last week— titled “Blueprint for Efficiency”— that provides a policy framework for reducing building emissions by 2020.
The Blueprint proposal includes a metric to set emissions targets for individual buildings, plans for less-efficient buildings and a requirement for city-owned buildings to hit the target five years earlier than other buildings.
Constantinides said that although the proposals provide a clear rubric for action, and that the city must still craft a bill based on them. He called for the city to become a “model” for other urban areas as they look for ways to fight climate change.
“While there may have been past disagreements, we are unified in the belief that New York City faces new dangers from Mother Nature,” Constantinides said. “We are walking down this path together now, and as we have seen already, tremendous things can happen when we listen to one another. I’m going to keep that collaborative spirit alive, engaging our varied stakeholders, as we turn some of these recommendations into law.”
Various city officials expressed their support for the proposals to go through the legislative process, including Majority Leader Corey Johnson and Mark Chambers, director of the Mayor’s office of Sustainability.
“Now is the time for bold steps to modernize how our buildings consume energy,” Chambers said. “Climate change is a dire threat—and it’s only getting worse. We know what’s at stake and we’re moving full-steam ahead to improve the health and well-being of our city and our environment.”