New York City Targets Energy Use in Existing Buildings

December 30, 2010
Publication: American School & Hospital Facility
Author(s): Waite, Michael B.

Abstract: The United States' current approach to energy generation and consumption, and the impact of buildings on the bottom line, has been well documented. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 41% of all energy use in the United States can be attributed to commercial and residential buildings. In New York City buildings use nearly 80% of all energy consumed, with large buildings alone accounting for 45% of total energy consumption.|Beginning with the oil crisis of the 1970s, energy efficiency in buildings has been addressed primarily through the development of building energy codes and standards for household appliances and other electronic equipment. However, appliances represent only a small portion of hospital and school (and most other non-residential building) energy use, and building energy codes generally only apply to new buildings and significant renovations. Neither of these developments addresses building operation, maintenance or improvements to existing building systems, thereby missing a significant opportunity for energy savings: New York City estimates that in 20 years, 85% of its energy consumption will be by buildings that already exist. In response, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's energy and environmental plan, known as PLANYC 2030, has as its cornerstone four pieces of legislation passed in December 2009 that target energy use in existing buildings, The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, or GGBP.