New York City is improving energy efficiency for its new and existing buildings, with a target of reducing building-based CO2 emissions by 30% by 2025.

The Challenge

In densely populated New York City, buildings account for nearly three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the city must increase investments in energy efficiency for public buildings, and the private sector must overcome barriers to energy efficiency investments in a fragmented market for energy efficiency and clean energy services. This new program integrates the market and helps the public and private sectors realize the benefits of more efficient building energy use.

The Solution

One City: Built to Last is a 10-year plan to improve the energy efficiency of New York City’s buildings through a combination of public investments in city owned buildings and new programs to spur private-sector action. Initiatives for public buildings, which are backed by more than $1 billion in funding, will improve city operations and maintenance and retrofit every city-owned building with significant energy use by 2025. To encourage private sector action, the plan includes energy audit ordinances, lighting upgrades, and sub-metering for mid-sized buildings, as well as assistance for private building owners undertaking efficiency upgrades. Cumulatively these programs will reduce building based emissions 30% by 2025 in private sector buildings, and 35% by 2025 for city-owned buildings.

To analyze potential greenhouse gas reduction pathways for the buildings sector, the Technical Working Group of 38 experts in architecture, engineering, real estate, and the environment will recommend the additional policies necessary to reach the city’s goal of an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

Environmental Benefits – The programs and initiatives included in One City are expected to reduce water use in buildings by at least 14 million liters annually by 2025.

Social Benefits – Lower utility bills will help to alleviate the rent burden faced by many New Yorkers, especially low-income households.

Economic Benefits – One City will save New Yorkers $8.5 billion in energy costs by 2025 and create 3,500 new jobs.

Health Benefits – By 2030, improved air quality as a result of NYC Clean Heat – a One City program – could prevent an estimated 290 deaths, 180 hospital admissions, and 550 emergency room visits for asthma annually.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2015 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Key Impact
One City sets two 10-year targets for solar power by 2025: 100 MW capacity on municipal buildings and 250 MW capacity on private buildings
Emissions Reduction
3.4 million metric tons of CO2 reduced annually by 2025 through one city initiatives
Share article

More Case Studies