Nearly 85 percent of existing buildings are likely to be with us in 2050, so driving down energy use in existing buildings is essential to addressing climate change. Urban Green uses all its levers—education, policy and research—to reach this formidable goal.
Anyone who has ever lived in a typical New York City apartment or worked in a standard New York office knows we are wasting energy. Windows open in the depth of winter. Buildings ablaze with light in the dead of night. Opportunities to save energy and money stare us down every day.
Fortunately, we know how to retrofit buildings. And we have many great examples to draw from. But knowing how to fix a few is different from tackling over a million buildings in New York City.
Before we can optimize the energy savings from retrofits, we need to simplify the process. A typical building retrofit involves at least 10 steps. In addition, our research indicates that each year, only about one percent of buildings may be reaching even current code levels through retrofits – but we don’t have 100 years to address the problem. We aim to increase the number of buildings that complete retrofits, while reducing time and costs.
WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON NOW
- Identifying best practices for improving steam heat.
- Creating a much-needed 101-level guidance for targeted owner groups on how to execute retrofits.
- Expanding energy efficiency training.
- Evaluating soft cost barriers to advancing retrofits.
WHAT WE'VE DONE ALREADY
- Expanded lighting upgrades and sub-metering (Local Law 88)
- NYC Energy and Water Use 2013 Report
- Worldwide Lessons
- Spending Through the Roof
- There Are Holes in Our Walls