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Climate Week: De Blasio Administration Announces Early Progress To Green Building Programs

September 20, 2016

The City’s green building programs are assisting with retrofits across 3,800 buildings

Programs on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one and a half million metric tons and create more than 1,000 jobs by 2025

First 100 apartment units financed by new Green Housing Preservation Program

NEW YORK––As part of the 8th annual Climate Week held in New York City, the de Blasio Administration announced early progress on several green building programs that will help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels (80x50). Four of the City’s building retrofit programs – which include the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, Community Retrofit NYC, the Green Housing Preservation Program, and the NYC Carbon Challenge – support tenants, superintendents, building owners and decision-makers from every demographic and nearly all building sizes to make building improvements to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while generating cost savings and preserving affordability. Taken together, these programs are now working with owners and decision-makers of more than 3,800 buildings representing more than 8 percent of the built square footage across New York City, and these numbers continue to grow. These programs are on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly one and a half million metric tons by 2025 and create nearly 1,000 local jobs.

“The cumulative effect of our green buildings policies proves not only that New York City is on track to achieve our ambitious 80x50 goals,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It also demonstrates that we continue to set the pace towards becoming the most sustainable big city in the world.”

“With OneNYC, the City committed to building sustainable and resilient neighborhoods by investing in energy efficiency for buildings,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer. “These investments in retrofit programs not only deliver on this commitment by helping tenants and building owners reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also provide new skills training and support the creation of new jobs for New Yorkers to ensure that we are building a more resilient, and more equitable city.”

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio released One City: Built to Last as a ten-year action plan to improve the energy efficiency of New York City’s buildings. The plan lays initiatives to make New York City’s public buildings models for sustainability, create a thriving market for energy efficiency and renewable energy, develop world-class green building and energy codes, and become a global hub for clean energy technology and innovation. Since the planwas released, the City has initiated or completed progress on every initiative. The Administration is now nearly halfway to achieving the interim goal to reduce building-based GHG emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Over the last year, the City has made significant progress toward our OneNYC’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Below is a brief update on some of the progress of the City’s green building programs:

NYC Retrofit Accelerator & Community Retrofit NYC
Since 2015, the City has launched the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and Community Retrofit NYC to provide free, dedicated technical guidance and financial assistance to help building owners, operators and other decision-makers complete energy and water efficiency upgrades. The NYC Retrofit Accelerator primarily serves owners, operators, and other stakeholders in larger buildings across the city, while Community Retrofit NYC assists owners of small and mid-sized multifamily buildings in Central Brooklyn and Southern Queens.


In less than a year, these two programs are helping more than 1,000 buildings across the city implement energy and water retrofits. These current projects alone can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75,000 metric tons and create 290 jobs. The pipeline for both programs is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years in order to reach several thousand more buildings. By 2025, the programs are expected to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by almost 950,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and create 490 direct construction-related jobs, while saving New York City residents an estimated $365 million in energy and water cost-savings.

Green Housing Preservation Program
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), in partnership with the Mayors of Sustainability, financed the first group of projects under its new Green Housing Preservation Program (GHPP). The program assists owners of small- to mid-sized multifamily properties in undertaking energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades to improve building conditions, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and preserve affordability.


Working with individual building owners, the boards of low-income co-ops, non-profit developers and others, the City is financing energy efficiency and water conservation improvements that are expected to save up to 40 percent in annual utility costs for participating buildings. At the same time, these five deals preserve the affordability of more than 100 apartments for another generation.

NYC Carbon Challenge
The NYC Carbon Challenge is a voluntary leadership program for the private and institutional sectors to partner with the City and demonstrate their commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. Nearly 10 years after launching, 78 participants from five sectors across the city have made the Carbon Challenge commitment, pledging to voluntarily reduce their building-based emissions by 30 percent or more over the course of ten years. These participants represent more than 2,800 buildings and seven percent of total citywide built square footage. In total, the Carbon Challenge is expected to reduce emissions by 510,000 metric tons and create more than 650 construction-related jobs by 2025, resulting in an estimated $220 million in energy cost savings that can be reinvested in business operations, students, staff, patients, customers, and research.


To date, participants have reduced their emissions intensity by an average of 19 percent and ten participants have already achieved their Carbon Challenge goal, including three commercial offices who achieved it in 2015—Google, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs.

In total, participants have reduced their absolute emissions by 175,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since 2005, equal to taking more than 35,000 cars off of New York City’s roads, and have saved more than $175 million in lower energy costs throughout the course of the program.

Last March, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Real Estate Board of New York, Building Owners and Managers Association of New York (BOMA/NY), and Urban Green Council, launched a Sustainability Boot Camp as a pilot program to train building operators in energy efficiency best practices. The training combined Urban Green Council’s existing GPRO Operations & Maintenance Essentials (O&M) certificate with customized ”real world” discussion modules provided by CodeGreen Solutions. This past June, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator also launched hands-on training workshops for key building systems, offering one- and two- day courses on heating, air sealing, energy efficient electrical systems, and water conservation—providing building staff with the skills to identify and address operations issues and identify incentives to help cover costs.


Over the last year, 470 building operators received training through the Sustainability Boot Camp, including nearly 200 NYCHA staff. In addition, 50 building staff participated in the NYC Retrofit Accelerator’s hand-on training workshops. After the successful first series held in June 2015, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator will launch another series starting today, September 21. The series will be held twice annually. For more information or to sign up, visit:

For more information about these individual programs visit

"From the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn to the Claremont section of the Bronx, buildings that receive financing through our new Green Housing Preservation Program will be better equipped to control operating costs and maintain affordability," said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. "This program also helps us achieve broader sustainability and healthy living goals for the City as a whole and all of its residents. Working with co-op boards, individual building owners, and small non-profits, this program represents another way HPD is expanding its reach to safeguard the affordability of our neighborhoods."

“By phasing out the use of dirty home heating oils, enforcing the City’s updated Air Pollution Control Code and reducing our demand for water, New York City has taken significant steps to protect public health and the environment,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “The Mayor’s commitment to 80x50, including engaging thousands of private buildings in the essential work, marks important progress toward our goal of being the most sustainable big city in the world.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, said, "Our four green buildings programs have already shown demonstrable results in our efforts to combat climate change. Everyday New Yorkers including property owners, tenants, and superintendents have the resources they need to go green. These programs have reduced emissions, created jobs, and helped save money. As we work towards our goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050, these programs show that anyone can take part in building green. I thank Mayor de Blasio for his bold vision and commitment to making our city greener and more sustainable."

"Four years after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, it's more critical than ever to build green, keeping residents healthy and making buildings more resilient and safe," said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader at Enterprise Community Partners. "Low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate events, and tools like the Green Housing Preservation Program are essential to ensuring their well-being."

“Addressing energy use in buildings is key to meeting New York City’s ambitious climate goals, as buildings account for roughly 75 percent of the city’s carbon emissions. With thousands of buildings in need of energy efficiency upgrades, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator will play an essential role in this effort,” said Rory Christian, New York Director of Clean Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund. “We look forward to continuing our work with Mayor de Blasio to reduce pollution and make New York a cleaner, healthier city for all.”

“The Real Estate Board of New York, representing more than 17,000 owners, managers, developers and brokers of real estate, strongly supports programs like the NYC Carbon Challenge and the Retrofit Accelerator which play an important role in reducing the environmental footprint of New York’s buildings,” said John H. Banks, III, REBNY President.

“It's impressive to see the commitment that this Administration along with property owners and managers have shown to retrofit buildings. The results speak for themselves,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “As last month’s NYC Energy & Water Use Report showed, among the city's largest buildings, we've seen an 8 percent emissions cut. We're already building on that progress with retrofit trainings for operators representing buildings of all kinds and sizes."

"The savings associated with energy efficient retrofits are critical to the preservation of rental affordability in communities across all five boroughs," said Sadie McKeown, Chief Operating Officer at the Community Preservation Corporation. "Green buildings cut down on energy consumption, have smaller carbon footprints and provide a host of long-term benefits for owners, tenants, and the communities they serve. We're proud to have helped finance one of the first projects in HPD's Green Retrofit Preservation Program, and look forward to continuing to work with the de Blasio Administration to invest in the sustainability of our city."

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