Two percent of the city’s buildings use 45% of the city’s energy, according to a new report by Climate Works For All.
The organization, part of The Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN) and focused on combating climate change while creating jobs, used data that is publicly available through the city’s energy consumption reporting requirements, enacted as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings (GGBP) laws.
ALIGN claims that among the worst offenders are luxury residential buildings that, through outsize amenities, end up consuming much more energy than the majority of other residential buildings in the city.
On Tuesday, members of the group, along with representatives from New York Communities for Change and other associations, held a rally at the corner of West 57th street and Sixth Avenue, on so-called “billionaire’s row.”
Between leading chants through a megaphone, Josh Kellermann, a senior analyst for ALIGN, said that the organization wants to work with the City Council to expand the energy regulations governing city buildings.
Existing GGBP laws, which apply to buildings of over 50,000 feet, do not go far enough and rely too heavily on participation in voluntary programs, according to the organization. Currently, buildings receive energy audits but are not necessarily required to follow recommendations.
“It would be implemented piece by piece. The owners could include the new standards into their existing capital plans, and make changes as they renovate,” he said. “The worst 10% of offenders should be forced to take immediate action,” he said.
People at the rally held signs with a large printed letter “F” along with the addresses of several luxury buildings, including the Trump Tower and 820 5th Avenue. The “F”s were a representation of the grades that ALIGN had given the buildings for their energy consumption.
“It’s so important to me as a survivor of Hurricane Sandy,” said Ann Michelle Valdez, 49. “I live in Coney Island. The only reason we get noticed is because of the amusement park, not the people.”
She hopes the rally would make the need for energy reform known to the people who lived in, shopped at, or visited billionaire’s row, and that there would be a shift away from “profit over people.”
“Corporations and the wealthy buy their way out of regulation, but the land they’re contaminating, the water they’re contaminating, the air they’re contaminating, they too will have to live off,” she said.