Apr 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day! Greener Greater New York City!

Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced new initiatives to the city's long-term sustainability plan, PlaNYC, yesterday in anticipation of Earth Day today. 

A Greener, Greater New York that assessed the progress of PlaNYC since its launch four years ago and charted a new direction for the City's future. The update was presented at the Harlem Stage, a performing arts venue inside Harlem's Gatehouse, part of the Croton reservoir system built in 1890 and still in-service as part of New York's water supply network today

You may be surprised to learn that New York City is one of the most energy-efficient places in the United States, consuming a quarter of the national average in energy consumption and emitting a quarter of the national average of carbon dioxide, according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Large cities such as New York may be the future of sustainability in general.

Downtown Manhattan is quickly becoming the world's greenest and most dynamic urban community. 7 World Trade Center lease, is the first to incorporate groundbreaking language crafted by real estate industry leaders working with the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to promote enhanced energy efficiency and sustainability. 

Under traditional leases, building owners are responsible for the upfront cost of energy efficiency improvements. Tenants, however, are the immediate beneficiaries of those upgrades, in the form of reduced energy costs.  Because owners do not share in the benefit, they have little incentive to invest in energy upgrades. The new commercial lease language allows tenants and owners, to share the costs, as well as the benefits, of energy efficiency improvements. "When it is fully realized, this ‘Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, the first of its kind in our nation – will be the equivalent of making a city the size of Oakland, California completely carbon neutral.” according to mayor Bloomberg.

PlaNYC and the Mayor’s Office today launched a new social media tool called “Change by Us.” The tool encourages and enables New Yorkers to improve their communities by connecting them with the tools, resources, and people needed to turn ideas into reality.
Starting today, and again frequently throughout the year, the City will pose a question that residents can respond to by text message or through the Change by Us web and mobile sites. The first question asks how we can we make our City greener through projects such as :
  • Storm water management
  • Brownfield cleanup
  • Parks stewardship
  • Creation of new open spaces
  • Energy efficiency
  • Local air quality
  • Community composting
The site launched today in preview mode for select community-based organizations. After the preview period the City will open the site to the general public. Change by Us will become a powerful tool for New Yorkers to tell the City how they can make the their communities better.

PlaNYC has ten chapters and each one has an overarching goal:

Energy: Reduce consumption and make our energy systems cleaner and more reliable

Air Quality: Achieve the cleanest air quality of any big U.S. city

Solid Waste: Divert 75% of our solid waste from landfills

Climate Change: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30%

Climate Change: Increase the resilience of our communities, natural systems, and infrastructure to climate risks

Transportation: Expand sustainable transportation choices and ensure the reliability and quality of our transportation network

Housing & Neighborhoods: Create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers while making housing and neighborhoods more affordable and sustainable

Parks & Public Spaces:  Ensure all New Yorkers live within a ten-minute walk of a park
Brownfield Remediation: Clean up all contaminated land in New York City

Waterways: Improve the quality of New York City’s waterways to increase opportunities for recreation and restore coastal ecosystems

Water Supply: Ensure the high quality and reliability of our water supply system

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