Cities - 11/October/2019

A common language can unite energy saving efforts

New York City has been testing a pilot version of a tool developed to estimate emissions from its buildings, potential refits, costs and benefits

In dense global urban landscapes such as New York City (NYC), buildings account for as much as 70% of emissions from heating, cooling and electricity use. In 2017, NYC was producing more than 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and other climate gases equivalent a year, estimates the mayor’s office. NYC — along with Toronto, Canada, Copenhagen, Denmark and Milan, Italy —was chosen by C40 Cities, a London-based NGO, to test a pilot version of a tool developed to estimate emissions, potential refits and costs. New York recently set a target to cut collective emissions from public buildings by 40% by 2025 and from private buildings by 80% by 2050. It already collects detailed data on energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, health, operations and maintenance, and employee productivity.

Applied with the help of engineering consultancy BuroHappold, the tool was pre-launched at a C40 summit in Copenhagen in October 2019 before being formally launched in early 2020 as a free and online public tool. “Ideally, we want it to be second nature to use the tool when you discuss a [deep energy retrofit] project,” says Markus Berensson, senior research manager at C40.
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