De Blasio wants to fine the city’s polluting buildings up to $2M per year

Mayor plans to roll out energy-efficiency targets on Thursday
September 14, 2017 09:10AM

Planeteers and Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will lay out a plan today that would require thousands of buildings to comply with new energy-efficiency targets by 2030, or face penalties.

The first-of-its-kind initiative would require owners with existing buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to invest in more efficient heating and cooling systems as well as insulation and hot water heaters, the Washington Post reported.

The penalties would increase with the size of a building and its fuel usage. A 30,000-square-foot apartment building that goes past its energy targets would pay $60,000 each year that it is out of compliance with the standards, the mayor’s office said. A noncompliant building with 1 million square feet would pay as much as $2 million a year. Buildings that didn’t meet their goals would also be prevented from getting permits for major renovations.

The proposal, which needs approval from the City Council, would apply to roughly 14,500 private and municipal buildings. The mayor’s office said these properties make up about a quarter of the city’s emissions.

“This means bringing the worst-performing buildings in line with the best-performing buildings,” said Mark Chambers, the city’s director of sustainability, who added that some older buildings burn three or four times as much fossil fuel as newer buildings.

Real Estate Board of New York president John Banks said the proposals require “careful analysis, discussion and debate.”

“The manner in which these goals are pursued will determine whether or not the future of our city is comprised of mini-storage facilities and buildings without windows or 21st-century energy-efficient buildings that yield good jobs and affordable housing,” he said.

It’s the biggest and latest proposal out of the de Blasio administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The mayor’s “80×50” plan announced in 2014 aims to reduce emissions by 80 percent from their 2005 levels by 2050.

While the real estate industry has largely avoided taking a stand on climate change, insiders say property owners have everything to lose if they don’t act, as The Real Deal reported in July. [WaPo]Rich Bockmann