Post-election New York is going to be significantly less energy-efficient than pre-election Mayor Bloomberg promised it was going to be. Bloomberg announced Friday that he’s backing down on a major component of the PLANYC Greener, Greater Buildings Plan he announced with great fanfare on Earth Day this year.
In the face of opposition from real estate interests, Bloomberg has decided that the owners of buildings his plan identifies as using half the city’s energy will no longer be required to make them energy efficient. With Greener, Greater Buildings in place, the city’s carbon emissions were supposed to be reduced 30% by 2030.
Before November 3, the plan was that all buildings of over 50,000 square feet of space – 22,000 buildings, making up half the city’s square footage – would be required to have energy audits and make any energy efficiency changes suggested by the audits. Now, they’re still going to have the audits, but the upgrades will be voluntary, and New York’s real estate community has already decided that they would be too expensive to make.
Even before the election, Bloomberg’s talk was measurably greener than his actions. All the same, a number of people believed that he was going to overcome his prayerful attention to the profits of the New York real estate community. The promise of PLANYC, and the green jobs it was supposed to create, was central to his endorsements from SEIUand the League of Conservation Voters, and a hearty attaboy from an unusually credulous Al Gore.