Aug 31
August 31, 2012

Analyzing New York City’s Energy Usage


The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) Cities program works in an aligned partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – a network of 59 large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related policies and programs locally that will help address climate change globally.

New York City released its first benchmarking report on energy and water use in the city’s largest buildings earlier this month. The report analyzed nearly 1.7 billion square feet of built space, which is equal to the built areas of Boston and San Francisco combined, and identifies opportunities for buildings in New York City to become more energy efficient.

The report also highlights how America’s buildings are responsible for nearly 8 percent of global carbon emissions, costing Americans more than $500 billion every year. According to the report, in New York City, 75 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from energy used in buildings, and large buildings in New York City are responsible for 45 percent of all citywide carbon emissions. Across the United States as a whole, energy used in buildings makes up 39 percent of GHG emissions. The benchmarking report is helping analyze and establish metrics for comparing the energy efficiency of buildings in New York City. As the benchmarking reports gain additional data on the city’s energy usage in the following years, the city will have a better understanding of energy trends and additional ways to help reduce energy usage.

New York City has taken action in addressing energy efficiency in buildings through the Greener, Greater Buildings plan (GGBP), signed into legislation by C40 Climate Leadership Group Chair Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009. GGBP is a landmark legislation package to enact a set of energy efficiency requirements for existing buildings in New York City, with a goal of a 30 percent reduction by the 2030, compared to a 2005 baseline. GGBP is designed to ensure that information about energy is provided to decision-makers and that the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures are pursued. The GGBP requires: that large buildings annually benchmark their energy performance, adoption of a local energy code, every 10 years buildings conduct an energy audit and retro-commissioning, and by 2025 lighting in the non-residential space be upgraded to meet code and large commercial tenants be provided with sub-meters. These laws are estimated to reduce citywide GHG emissions by roughly 5 percent, result in a net savings of $7 billion, and create roughly 17,800 jobs by 2030.

Read more about the benchmarking report on C40 Cities blog.

CCI is taking action on addressing energy efficiency in buildings, and has retrofitted iconic buildings including New York City’s Empire State Building and Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and the Daley Center. Read more about CCI’s top actions on climate change.