Mayor de Blasio Launches GreeNYC Campaign: Stay Warm, Save Money, and Help the Environment by Weatherizing Your Home This Winter

December 10, 2015

Simple weatherizing updates could save homeowners thousands a year in energy bills and contribute to an emissions reduction of nearly 400,000 metric tons a year

Campaign is latest GreeNYC initiative to enhance sustainability through consumer behavior, in support of OneNYC plan – including 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced the launch of the latest GreeNYC sustainability campaign, aimed at keeping New Yorkers warm this winter and saving them thousands of dollars a year – or up to 30 percent – on their energy bill, all while helping to achieve the City’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. The campaign can be viewed at nyc.gov/greenyc.

“OneNYC is an ambitious roadmap for building a strong, sustainable and resilient city, and all New Yorkers can play a role,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are showing New Yorkers how they can do their part as we dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – providing the tools they need to save money and stay warm this winter, all while furthering our push toward a greener and more sustainable New York City.”

“I weatherized my nest so I don’t need to fly south this winter!” said Birdie. “These simple steps cost nothing more than chicken feed, while keeping me warm, protecting me from soaring costs, and helping ensure our environment is safe for generations of avians to come. Even a birdbrain can see the benefits of weatherizing your home!”

The campaign – featuring the City’s GreeNYC mascot Birdie – shows New Yorkers simple steps to seal leaks and prevent heat from escaping their homes, and directs homeowners to nyc.gov/greenyc where they can view weatherization techniques and resources. The campaign is targeted to communities with high numbers of one or two-family homes, which are prime locations to reduce emissions. The ads are now featured on MTA New York City Transit buses and subways and commuter train platforms, as well as billboards located in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. They will also run on radio and digital platforms.‎

Home weatherization includes improvements like sealing leaky windows and doors and insulating attics to protect against the elements and conserve energy usage. This GreeNYC initiative encourages homeowners to weatherize their homes using very simple and inexpensive improvements.

In addition to significant costs savings and improved comfort, this effort directly supports “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City” (OneNYC), the City’s comprehensive plan for a sustainable and resilient city that addresses social, economic, and environmental challenges facing all New Yorkers. The plan sets measurable goals for tackling these challenges in the coming years – including reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and ensuring that New York City has the best air quality among all large U.S. cities by 2030. The single largest percentage of citywide GHG emissions comes from the energy used to heat and cool buildings. 

“It’s not just nations negotiating targets in Paris who will protect our climate – all New Yorkers can join in cutting greenhouse gas emissions with a quick stop to the hardware store,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Birdie’s tips for New Yorkers will save homeowners on their fuel bills and cut down on drafts. GreeNYC is giving them the tools they need to save money, stay cozy and cut carbon emissions. We will continue to work hard to empower New Yorkers to become part of the solution to climate change in their everyday actions.”

“New Yorkers understand that they can take responsibility to improve our city, and want to act,” said Roya Kazemi, Director of GreeNYC. “Through simple and inexpensive steps, GreeNYC empowers residents to take actions to live more sustainably. We are proud to promote actions that will have the greatest impact – saving residents money, improving personal comfort, and helping the City’s overall GHG reduction goals.”

During cold months, heating represents the biggest energy expense for NYC homeowners. The average New York family spends $2,400 per year on home energy bills, with heating and cooling accounting for more than half of that cost. Much of the heat produced is wasted; in fact, up to 32 percent of a home’s heat is lost through poor insulation. Some very basic low-cost home improvements can yield significant reductions in the amount of heat-related energy wasted by New Yorkers in the winter months. Simple “do-it-yourself” measures include: 

  • Sealing leaks around doors, windows, pipes, and vents;
  • Insulating attics, basements, and garages;
  • Replacing air filters;
  • Lowering temperature. 

In addition to these quick fixes, homeowners are encouraged to seek professional assistance during the weatherization process, including:

  • Contacting a local utility for a Home Energy Audit;
  • Joining a Home Performance Program through organizations like ENERGY STAR;
  • Signing up for a Weatherization Assistance Program, especially targeted to income-eligible families and individuals.

These simple fixes can save families thousands of dollars a year – up to 30 percent annually – on energy bills. Weatherization can also help save the environment since it has been found that the biggest percentage of citywide GHG emissions comes from energy used to heat and cool homes. Additional tips and resources can be found at nyc.gov/greenyc.

"When we think green, we save green! Home weatherization is a smart step that all Brooklyn property owners should take, and basic do-it-yourself measures can make a lasting impact for today and many tomorrows to come,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee, said, "Weatherizing your home can save homeowners up to 30 percent on their utility bills and helps protect our environment. This GreeNYC campaign will raise public awareness of weatherizing techniques such as sealing leaks and efficiency upgrades. Preventing heat from escaping homes saves energy and will bring us closer toward our goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. I urge all homeowners to ensure their home is weatherized for the cold winter temperatures. I thank Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor's Office of Sustainability for their leadership on this important issue."

"Home weatherization is a win-win situation for the city and homeowners," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "These home improvements and efficiency upgrades help contribute to our greater efforts of making New York City a more sustainable and resilient city by reducing carbon emissions. They will also allow homeowners to stay warm in the winter and save thousands of dollars that may be slipping through the cracks. I'd like thank Mayor de Blasio for kicking off this campaign and I encourage all homeowners to look into weatherizing their home this winter."

"The new GreeNYC weatherization campaign will go a long way toward educating New Yorkers about ways to save energy and money on their utility bills through simple energy efficient improvements in their homes", said Donna De Costanzo, Director of Northeast Energy and Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The GreeNYC initiative is an innovative approach that provides individuals with the information and tools they need to act on climate change, recognizing that we need all hands on deck to address this tremendous challenge."

“This is a common sense initiative that keeps New York City on the road to emissions reductions while providing consumers with the tools and information that will benefit them and allow them to be part of the solution,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice.

“Stopping drafts means stopping money from flying out your windows,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. "With little more than a tube of caulk, many New Yorkers can fill their pocketbooks and save energy.”

"BEEx strongly supports Birdie’s weatherization initiative,” said Richard Yancey, Executive Director of the Building Energy Exchange (BEEx). "The building science is clear: better building envelopes, such as improved wall and roof insulation, high performance windows, and preventing air leaks, are the proven route to not only dramatically reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills, but also more comfortable spaces. BEEx looks forward to helping New York’s building owners and tenants save money through energy efficiency, while creating better offices and homes, through education and exhibits at our downtown efficiency resource center.” 

About the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability is implementing policies and programs dedicated to addressing climate change and making New York City a more sustainable place for all to live. Mayor de Blasio announced “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City,” the City’s comprehensive plan for a sustainable and resilient city for all New Yorkers that addresses social, economic and environmental challenges of all New Yorkers. The plan sets measurable goals for tackling these challenges in the coming years – including reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, sending zero waste to landfills and reducing waste disposal by 90 percent by 2030 and ensuring New York City has the best air quality among all large U.S. cities by 2030. To read the full plan, click here: nyc.gov/onenyc.

About GreeNYC
GreeNYC is New York City’s public education program dedicated to educating, engaging, and mobilizing New Yorkers to take simple, but meaningful, steps to reduce their energy use, generate less waste, and live more sustainable lifestyles. These steps are critical to achieving the City’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills, reducing waste disposal by 90 percent by 2030 and improving the quality of the city’s environment. The GreeNYC program is fronted by the recognizable mascot ‘Birdie.’ He is the face of all campaigns and can be seen at events throughout the city. Follow Birdie on Facebook and Twitter for daily musings and updates on how to help make a greener and greater New York.

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