Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to force owners of nearly 15,000 aging buildings to install insulation and upgrade heating and cooling systems to reduce pollution and boost energy efficiency.
The upgrades for buildings of more than 25,000 square feet could cost individual owners more than $1 million, although de Blasio predicted the costs would be recouped in energy savings.
“It’s time for a different set of rules in this city to address climate change,” de Blasio, a Democrat who is seeking reelection, said at a news conference on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Once implemented, the changes would cut pollution by the equivalent of 900,000 automobiles, the mayor said. He called 14,500 buildings “the worst offenders.”
Under the plan, which requires approval of the City Council, smaller buildings would be granted low-interest loans.
Owners who fail to comply with efficiency targets by 2030 would face millions of dollars in fines.
De Blasio says the buildings covered under the plan account for about a quarter of the city’s pollution. He said he plans to roll out other proposals in the coming months to reduce pollution, in an effort to mitigate the effects of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate.
“We’re not waiting on President Trump and his cabinet of deniers to address this crisis,” de Blasio said.
The mayor conceded that the plan could increase rents for tenants, but said he would take steps to mitigate increases.