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New York Mayor Unveils $2.3B Plan to Cut GHG Emissions from NYC Municipal Buildings and Operations 30% by 2017

Potential for NYC annual municipal GHG reductions of 1.68 million metric tons (mt) per year by project group. Click to enlarge.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a long-term, $2.3-billion action plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the City’s municipal buildings and operations by 30% by 2017, as promised in PlaNYC. The plan was developed by the Energy Conservation Steering Committee created by an Executive Order signed by Mayor Bloomberg in October, 2007 and chaired by Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler.

City government accounts for approximately 6.5% of New York City’s total energy usage and 10% of its peak electricity demand. The projects in the long-term plan will be partially funded by an annual commitment of 10% of the City's energy budget, which in fiscal year 2009 will be $100 million. In total, the plan will require an estimated $2.3 billion investment over the next nine years, of which roughly $900 million has been committed by the City, and another $80 million was already spent in fiscal year 2008.

Additional funding is being sought from external sources, including state and federal programs, private foundations and through energy performance contracts. The City is expected to break even on its investment in 2013 on an annual cash flow basis, and by fiscal year 2015 it is projected that the City will have saved more on its energy bills than it has spent on all the planned investments to that point.

Our long-term plan will cut City government’s annual output of greenhouse gases by nearly 1.7 million metric tons, which also will greatly improve air quality, and take a 220-megawatt bite out of peak demand for electricity. We can achieve these results by using cost-effective existing technologies. The City is doing its part, I hope the private sector follows our example and finds conservation savings of their own.

—Mayor Bloomberg

To meet its 30% reduction goal by 2017, the City must produce 1.68 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) annually versus 2006 levels. This will be achieved through an aggressive capital improvement program for the City’s facilities, and significant enhancements to its current operations and maintenance practices.

The largest single opportunity for reductions, 57% of the total, is through upgrades to existing buildings, like firehouses, police precincts, sanitation garages, offices, and courthouses. Planned improvements include upgrading facility lighting, refrigeration units, boiler upgrades office equipment, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. There are other savings to be found in the way buildings are operated, including developing and implementing preventive practices in buildings that consume large amounts of energy. For example, leaking pipes, clogged steam traps, and inefficient air distribution, pumps, or fan systems will be systematically identified and repaired. The plan also includes retrocommissioning, a process that identifies the most wasteful inefficiencies that technicians can correct in a cost-effective manner.

Energy-saving projects at wastewater treatment plants account for the second largest opportunity for greenhouse gas reductions, 17% of the total. Wastewater treatment plants decontaminate sewage and storm water runoff through a series of physical, chemical, and biological processes, and release the water back into the environment once it has been cleaned. These processes generate significant amounts of methane gas, one of the strongest greenhouse gas emissions sources. Projects in this group include fixing methane gas leaks, using recaptured methane to power electric generation equipment, and making general efficiency improvements to other specialized equipment.

Further reductions will be achieved through accelerating the purchase of more energy efficient vehicles, adopting best practices to economize vehicle miles traveled, and improving vehicular management programs.

Also, 250- and 150-watt street lighting fixtures will be replaced with models that maintain equal lighting levels, but use one-third less wattage. The City will also expand on-site electricity generation at City facilities. Leading examples of this technology include solar panels and combined heat and power systems. The City will also adopt energy-efficient technologies in new building construction and explore the use of new technology.

In December, the Steering Committee released a short-term action plan that included 132 projects throughout all five boroughs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 34,000 tons annually. The projects in that plan include lighting replacement and sensor installation; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvements; water and sewer equipment upgrades; and vehicle replacements. The City committed $80 million in fiscal year 2008 to implement the short-term action plan issued last December.



John Taylor

The short explanation of the plan is to make the buildings and streetlights more energy efficient, and to use the methane generated by garbage & sewage to make electricity.

The plan isn't dependent on new innovation, study, or wild investment. It is realistic and responsible.

Kudos Michael R. Bloomberg.


Bloomberg, a conservative, appears to understand the energy issue: take a 220-megawatt bite out of peak demand for electricity.

A great city needs to take great actions. This is a good one. In case they haven't done it yet, painting flat roofs with silver reflective paint can lower summer heat accumulation as much as 30%.


Reasonable plan but I'd like to see more distributed generation/co-generation. IMO, I think each building should be able to supply half of its own electricity requirements.


The commitment to combined heat & power -- which is, in essence, a form of energy recycling -- is particularly exciting. I'm associated with Recycled Energy Development, a firm that turns manufacturers' waste heat into clean electricity and steam, thereby slashing emissions and power costs at the same time. EPA and DoE estimates suggest we could cut greenhouse gases by about 20% this way. The only reason more isn't being done is that regulations tend to protect monopoly utilities and keep more efficient competitors from emerging. Actions like those of Mayor Bloomberg are starting to change things.


220 mw of peak demand is an entire power plant's worth. not only is nyc going to save money on natural gas (peakers are almost always natural gas fired) but the capital expenditure of a new plant. also, they will benefit from grid stability issues as the load being removed is distributed throughout the grid across the island.
i'm glad bloomberg was able to bounce back from his defeat on congestion pricing to stick with it. 8m residents make nyc's population larger than 39 other states, and so its decisions wrt energy and pollution carry a lot of weight. if only the federal govt would take such initiatives. to make dick cheney feel better they could say it was only for reduced costs and nothing to do with limiting ghg's...


____Unexploited synergies, such as CHP/CHCP, will be one of the critical areas to develop and deploy for fossil energy consumption growth slow to to halt.
__A triple stage (gas turbine + steam turbine powered via gas turbine waste heat + heating/cooling via low temp steam) combined cycle is a possible way to utilize much more of the chemical energy in fuels.
__Current operational electric power generation (for base load) run in the 34-45% efficiency range, with the older plants tending towards the lower end and newer one in the opposite end. Combined cycle system tend to be in the 54-60% range. Micro-turbines and relatively small units that operate in CHP/CHCP systems can get upwards of 85% efficiency. In areas with large central heating/steam systems, converting and hooking up such a setup can yield large benefits quickly.
__Another example is combining solar electric and thermal systems (on rooftops) with CHP/CHCP gas turbines and energy storage units. On sunny days, the solar panels will shoulder much of the loads. At other times, the gas turbines and/or ESU's can take over. It is more expensive, but with solar coming down rapidly in price, it may become economical in the short future.

stas peterson

Politics is the art of claimin gcredit fro something that si goinfgon and wil happenautomaticially.

Boomberg's "plan" to improve building HVAC over three decades would have happened anyways. Here he gets to claim credit. Well done politics.

The Bard said it better than most. Full of Sound and Fury signifying absolutely Nothing.


Stas, just got a call from the Bard and he said he never used the word "absolutely." but he did compose the following:

"Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

Puck (having erred), A Midsummer Nights Dream

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