Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the (often heated) debate about global warming and climate change, and how our lives will be affected.
And while the federal government is still deliberating on whether or not global warming is “fake news”, the state of New York has devised several mechanisms to minimize its carbon emissions. One of the notable measures is the passing of the Climate Mobilization Act, which sets new standards that building owners must comply with in regards to carbon management.
But first, What is Carbon and Carbon Emissions?
Carbon is basically an end product of energy. Most of the energy sources used in buildings, such as natural gas, oil, and electricity, produce carbon emissions either when being generated/extracted or used.
To calculate the amount of carbon emissions, you need to take into account the size of the building (in square feet) and the energy used in a given period. The figure you get when you divide the two is called a Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) score. Under the new law, the state government will set a GHG “budget” for every building that falls within the tenets of the law. That is basically the amount of emissions the building is allowed to generate per year, failure to which hefty fines will apply.
Where to Begin
It is important to first know where you currently stand before taking any steps. You can view your building’s energy data by visiting the New York Energy and Performance page (https://energy.cusp.nyu.edu/#/) and inputting your address. What you’ll find there is basically the same information you’ve been providing as energy benchmarking data.
Additionally, you will find additional tabs at the top of the page, each one providing more relevant and detailed information. For instance, the EUI tab shows your Energy Star Score, while the WUI tab tracks your water usage. The other important tab is the GHG tab, which shows your building’s future energy target, as well as your current score. The maximum allowable GHG score in 2025 is 6.75 while in 2030, it considerably goes down to 4.07.
As mentioned above, your GHG score is set depending on various figures, one of them being the number of residential units within. If you under-report this, you will be given a lower GHG score, which you may struggle to comply with. Thus, it is important to confirm that all your submitted data is correct and up to date by visiting htttp://maps.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap/
If you own a condo, commercial building or are a member of a coop network, it is in your best interest to carefully go through the Climate Mobilization laws. You may need to consult an energy professional, and a financial consultant to help you plan for compliance, particularly if your building is large. The fact that 75 percent of New York buildings operate beyond their 2030 GHG targets is worrying, seeing that it’s only a little over 10 years left to comply. If your building is on that list, you may want to begin the process earlier to save on costs and resources.