Recently, New Yorkers bid farewell to our Mayor of twelve years, Mike Bloomberg. Under Bloomberg’s prevue, EDF helped catalyze the NYC Clean Heat program – which led to the cleanest air the City has seen in the last fifty years. Through NYC Clean Heat’s efforts over the past few years to phase out the use of highly-polluting No. 6 heating oil in more than 3,000 buildings across NYC, sulfur pollution fell by more than two-thirds while soot pollution dropped by a quarter.
NYC Clean Heat has made great strides in helping buildings become cleaner and more efficient, but there is still much work to be done. EDF is wasting no time in capitalizing on the effective public-private partnership we helped assemble of community and union leaders, policymakers and leaders in the utility, real estate and finance sectors to bring more environmental and public health gains to the City. Our next target: All that energy wasted by old and inefficient buildings.
Nearly 40% of U.S. energy is consumed by residential and commercial buildings, which are responsible for more than a third of our country’s greenhouse gases. The building sector presents one of the greatest untapped opportunities for major gains in energy savings and pollution reductions over the next several years.
While former Mayor Bloomberg proved a strong ally in meeting our environmental goals, we look forward to the next era of leadership under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is committed to improving air quality. We are already looking ahead to ensure that the connections and resources we built through NYC Clean Heat do not die out. The program’s model of deploying extensive data and technical expertise as well as facilitating access to financing would be particularly effective in building-wide energy efficiency efforts.
And don’t worry: NYC Clean Heat, too, will continue through mid-2014.