The Real Deal New York

REBNY to battle “lights out” bill Wednesday

City Council proposal would require commercial buildings to preserve energy when unoccupied

April 28, 2015 11:00AM

The New York City skyline and Council member Donovan Richards (inset)

The New York City skyline and Council member Donovan Richards (inset)

New York City’s lights might shine a bit less bright if a City Council bill to limit nighttime illumination in the city’s large, commercial buildings passes. The Real Estate Board of New York, however, is against the plan.

The bill, which was introduced by Council member Donovan Richards in December, is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, according to Capital New York. Richards said he got the idea for the bill after a trip to Paris, where buildings’ lights are dimmed at night to help preserve energy.

“Turning off the lights is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to reduce energy costs and consumption,” Richards told the website. “The lights out bill will impact at least 40,000 buildings citywide and has the potential to cut carbon emissions by 250,000 tons annually based upon the impact we have observed in Paris.”

REBNY, however, is planning to oppose the bill during Wednesday’s hearing. Building owners have listed various reasons to do with, among other things, safety and security of the properties.

“While we support the city’s goal of lowering our carbon footprint, we are concerned with environmental benefits that may create impacts on safety, security, and economic viability,” REBNY president Steve Spinola said in a statement, cited by Capital. “The real estate industry has been leading the way with support of the passage of the new energy code, which requires the use of occupancy sensors, lighting controls and efficient lighting.” [Capital NY] — Claire Moses