New York City is looking to curb the energy demand of some of its most iconic skyscrapers, including Trump Tower.
Legislation targeting building emissions, part of a package backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is set to win approval from the city council Thursday. Owners of residential and commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet would be pushed to install new boilers, air conditioning systems, windows and insulation to reduce carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030, moving the city toward to a goal of 80 percent by 2050, or face fines.
While the council is voting on several measures aimed at cutting emissions, buildings are a prime target because their use of electricity, natural gas and other fuels generate two-thirds of the city’s greenhouse gases.
City Councilman Costa Constantinides, the main sponsor, said the legislation represents the “largest emission reduction policy of any city anywhere.” Private landlords say they’re being unfairly targeted.
The legislation includes carve-outs for hospitals, churches and rent-controlled housing. Exemptions leave “market-rate housing and commercial buildings to shoulder the entire burden of what is undeniably a shared societal problem,” John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, wrote in Real Estate Weekly, a trade publication.
Based on city audits, Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan used more energy per square foot than 93 percent of large residential buildings, according to ALIGN, a coalition of labor and community groups that supports the legislation. ALIGN examined data on 50,000 buildings, all more than 25,000 square feet, Executive Director Maritza Silva-Farrell said.
Amanda Miller, a Trump Organization spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Constantinides denied any intent to single out President Donald Trump or the Trump organization.
Tony Gigantiello, president of a 364-unit cooperative apartment complex, says it’s already spent $10 million on upgrades to conserve energy by more than 40 percent in the past decade. The new city law would disregard that and demand that the co-op spend more to cut emissions another 40 percent, he said. “It’s outrageously unfair.”
The city council is also weighing legislation, some of which has been planned for years, that would: come from bills that would:
Require city school buses to convert to an all-electric fleet, on top of a current effort to do the same with public transportation. Study ways to replace its 21 natural gas-fueled power plants with mostly renewable energy and battery storage. Amend codes to accelerate installation of wind turbines large and small.