New York City Plans 132 Efficiency Projects for Greenhouse Gas Cuts

December 12, 2007

New York City has identified 132 energy efficiency projects at municipal facilities that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons annually. The city's short-term action plan, unveiled on December 5th, is the first step toward a goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions caused by municipal buildings and operations by 30% by 2017, which will require an emissions cut of 1.1 million tons. The plan includes 108 interior lighting upgrades, a quarter of which will also include other efficiency measures, as well as 8 heating system upgrades, 3 street and highway lighting projects, and a variety of other projects and pilot studies. One of the more visible projects involves replacing the 100-watt mercury vapor lamps on the Brooklyn Bridge with 24-watt LED (light-emitting diode) lamps.

The plan was devised by the city's Energy Conservation Steering Committee, which is tasked with crafting a long-term plan for the remainder of the emissions cuts by the end of June. The city has committed to spend an amount equal to 10% of its energy expenditures each year for the next 10 years to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goal, an effort it calls "PlaNYC." For example, in fiscal year 2008, the city plans to spend $800 million for energy, so it will also spend $80 million on energy efficiency projects. As Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the short-term action plan, he also signed legislation that codified the PlaNYC emissions targets. See the Mayor's press releases on the short-term plan and the bill signing, as well as the entire short-term action plan (PDF 331 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

While the city government moves toward improved energy efficiency, so do some of the city's most notable institutions, including the New York Times. The "old grey lady" has moved to a new green building, and the grand opening for the new 52-story New York Times Building was held in late November. The innovative building, designed by the Renzo Piano Workshop, features a dimmable lighting system and a dynamic shading system that result in energy savings of 30% on the 26 floors occupied by the Times Company (floors 2 through 27). Horizontal ceramic rods on the exterior of the building act as a sunshade capable of blocking half of the sun's energy. This unique feature allowed the use of floor-to-ceiling ultra-clear glass that maximizes views and light for the occupants. The Times Company gets 40% of its power from a 1.4-megawatt gas-fired cogeneration system, which also produces hot water for heating in the winter and for powering an absorption chiller to help cool the building through the warmer months. The building also features an under-floor air distribution system, demand-controlled ventilation, and a system to purge the building air at night. See a compilation of press releases from those involved in the project (PDF 6.6 MB) and the New York Times Building Web site.