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Constantinides Announces Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Large Buildings

Photo: Dale Cruse/Flickr

Dec. 3, 2018 By Meghan Sackman

Council Member Costa Constantinides announced new legislation recently aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings over the next decade, which would require many buildings to make adjustments.

This bill will put the city on the right track toward its goal of achieving 80 percent emission reduction by the year 2050, Constantinides said, and comes just days before the White House released its extensive report on the long term effects climate change will have on the U.S.

The bill requires that buildings 25,000 square feet or larger meet new standards on reducing greenhouse gas outputs.

This means that about 50,000 buildings out of the city’s approximately 1 million buildings will need to be altered with newer energy efficient technologies and new operating procedures.

The targeted buildings, Constantinides say, account for about 30 percent of all emissions.

The bill, furthermore, will target the buildings that have the highest carbon emission rate first, leaving the more efficient buildings to catch up to standards by the end of the decade.

The legislation will also result in the creation of an Office of Building Energy Performance which will monitor progress and ensure building compliance.

The bill, if passed, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings by 40 percent over the next decade.

The Astoria council member, who has introduced several bills over the years advocating for green initiatives like clean energy, will formally introduce the bill at the next stated City Council meeting along with Council Speaker Johnson.

“Nearly 70 percent of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, and today’s bill is a step toward tackling energy waste head on,” said Rory Christian, Director, New York Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund.

“Climate change is no longer the looming threat of tomorrow — it is a clear and present danger today,” Constantinides said. “The Trump White House’s deconstructive stance on the environment means we are on our own. Our legislation answers that call to action.”

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