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Buildings are only as efficient as the people who live, learn and work in them. Recognizing the impact of individuals, GreeNYC, the public outreach arm of PlaNYC, was established to educate, engage and mobilize New Yorkers to rise to the challenges of reducing their energy use, living more sustainable lifestyles and shrinking the citywide carbon footprint-actions that are critical to achieving the overall PlaNYC goal of reducing NYC's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and improving the quality of the city's environment.

To create a consistent and compelling voice for the City's environmental communications with the public, GreeNYC has created its own brand, fronted by the recognizable "Birdie" character. Birdie accompanies empowering, accessible and action-oriented messaging in GreeNYC's multimedia campaigns and appears at events throughout the city. Birdie can also be found on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and foursquare.

Behavioral Change Driving Energy Reduction
GreeNYC has targeted and continues to address behavioral change as a lever to achieve energy reductions where policy is limited. According to the 2011 Inventory of New York City Greenhouse Gas Emissions, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from residential building energy use account for 37 percent of citywide emissions. Given that many energy policies, such as the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, do not address residential buildings, a significant portion of GHG emissions remains unaffected by policy and therefore dependent on voluntary energy conservation by residents. Realizing the potential for significant change through individual actions, a behavioral impact study was conducted to identify actions with the greatest impact, assess potential levels of engagement and establish a set of metrics to measure the results of public education campaigns and their contribution to PlaNYC goals. GreeNYC, equipped with this valuable information, seeks to realize positive environmental impacts by influencing personal choices. Below are examples of GreeNYC energy efficiency campaigns.

"Be Cool & Smart" Air Conditioning Energy Efficiency Campaign
Air conditioning accounts for the largest percent of residential energy consumption nationwide and can often represent more than half of a household's summer energy use. GreeNYC, in partnership with Best Buy and ENERGY STAR, developed the "Be Cool & Smart" public education campaign to provide New Yorkers with simple steps for reducing air conditioning-related energy use to save money. Instead of advising residents to avoid using A/Cs altogether, GreeNYC's messages provided tips to avoid wasting energy, such as not cooling empty rooms, turning up thermostats to 78 degrees, cleaning A/C filters and covering windows with drapes and blinds. Strategically placed ads and public service announcements resulted in the generation of more than 861 million media impressions (number of times the message was received) among New Yorkers. For more information, see the press release below:
June 23, 2009 - Mayor Bloomberg and Best Buy Announce GreeNYC's "Be Cool & Smart" Campaign to Promote Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Use

"Switch & Save" Compact Fluorescent Light (CLF) Bulb Campaign
Lighting represents up to 20 percent of the average New York City household's energy use. Therefore in 2010, GreeNYC partnered with Home Depot and launched the "Switch & Save" energy efficiency awareness campaign by encouraging New Yorkers to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for a number of direct benefits. Through a variety of media formats, New Yorkers were informed that CFLs last as long as 10 standard light bulbs, save $100 over the lifetime of each CFL bulb, come in a variety of soft white colors and could potentially power the subways with the maximum amount of energy saved. The result: more than 582 million media impressions. See photos.

Upcoming Campaigns and Tips
GreeNYC will launch a new campaign this fall to focus on weatherization, or improving home insulation to prevent the loss of heat during colder seasons. Identifying a potential reduction of 398,004 metric tons of carbon emissions, GreeNYC will educate New Yorkers on ways to save money through easy home improvement changes.

For more information on energy efficiency and other environmental tips, visit GreeNYC.
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