Tension over who is responsible for greening New York’s buildings

Gene Boniberger, senior vice president of operations at Rudin Management, said his company’s worst carbon emissions offender under the law is 32 Sixth Ave., which leases to multiple communications companies and contains a center of data. Rudin predicts the 27-story electrified building will face $3 million in annual fines starting in 2025. The company could pay up to $14 million in fees between 2025 and 2030 to comply with the law, did he declare.

“Ironically, everything is state-of-the-art, but we have energy-intensive users,” Boniberger said during Friday’s session. “Do nothing, as the network becomes greener, the fine will decrease.”

James Hollywood, chief engineer at SL Green, which owns office skyscrapers including One Vanderbilt and 100 Park Ave., said boosting clean energy supply was crucial.

“The big push for us will come from the supply side,” Hollywood said. “If there is enough hydroelectricity, we will not buy dirty energy. We’ll buy it if you succeed.

Fossil fuels currently provide 90% of the electricity in the five boroughs. The closure last year of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County exacerbated the problem by forcing the city to fall back on more fossil fuels.

Experts say the state’s approval in April of a massive clean energy project to send Canadian hydroelectricity to the city is a crucial step toward a course correction.

But New York is still a long way from transitioning its power grid green, according to Alex Heil, vice president of research at the Citizens Budget Commission.

“The problem is that electrification only results in lower carbon emissions if the underlying grid is relatively green. Especially for the downstate economy, that’s not exactly the case,” Heil said in an interview in May. “If the state is taking a long time to catch up, it shouldn’t necessarily be to the detriment of landlords.”

Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019, the state is required to get at least 70% of its energy from renewables by 2030, on the path to a completely carbon-free grid of here 2040.

If New York keeps pace with that goal, most office buildings in the city would need to make relatively minimal changes to comply with Local Law 97, according to a study by the Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law in the city. ‘New York University.

Carl Ian Graham, deputy director of emissions at the city’s Buildings Department, said during Friday’s session that the city would not meet its targets by “collecting penalties”. The department plans to issue new guidance on the matter “as soon as possible,” he said.

But Graham pointed out that some property owners should expect to pick up the costs of the renovations.

“Understand that investments will be required and not all investments will necessarily pay off,” he said. “The question I would challenge people with is, ‘What’s the alternative?’ If we don’t, what will happen to where we live? »

Comments are closed.