Mayor requires buildings to upgrade toxic boilers by 2015

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg furthered his environmental agenda yesterday by announcing stricter regulations on heating oils in New York City buildings. The New York Times reported that the new law requires buildings that burn No. 6 heating oil, the cheapest and most pollutant oil typically pumped by the oldest boilers, to switch to No. 4 heating oil by 2015. The cost of such a switch is about $10,000 per building. Further, boilers must burn even less noxious oils, such as low-sulfer No. 2 oil, natural gas, or their equivalents — a much more costly transformation — by the year 2030. City officials said only about 1 percent of city buildings, including about 200 public schools, burn the dirtiest oils, but they are responsible for more than 85 percent of soot pollution from buildings. Once complete, the law will have reduced particles emitted by heating buildings by more than 63 percent, and reduced overall city air pollution by 5 percent. In a statement, the Real Estate Board of New York said it would work to comply with Bloomberg’s new laws, but noted that the costs might be passed on to tenants in rents and building maintenance costs. [NYT]