Jun 16, 2019 | Updated: 11:54 AM EDT

NYC Sets Emission Cap, Building Owners to Retrofit their Properties with Upgrades

Apr 26, 2019 10:05 AM EDT

Repair Work - Midtown Manhattan- New York City - New York - USA
(Photo : Adam Jones)
Repair Work - Midtown Manhattan- New York City - New York - USA

Global warming is one of today's pressing environmental issues that humanity is trying to undo. However completely cutting out greenhouse gas emissions does not sound so realistic, as of the moment. 

One thing that people can do is minimize their carbon dioxide emissions. There are a lot of simple ways to do this such as to conserve energy and using renewable resources. 

As there are already drastic changes in the environment because of climate change brought about by excessive greenhouse gas emissions, it is time for people to exert more effort in helping the environment cope up with the damages.

The New York City Council makes an example out of the buildings in its boundaries. A new emissions cap, limiting the allowable amount of carbon dioxide per square foot for each building, has been submitted and implemented. Building owners that would not comply will be billed for excess discharge. Some people are more familiar with this policy being cold the carbon tax. However, the difference this time is that it will be applied vertically instead of along the open road. Because the city has a goal to reduce its emissions by 40% in the next decade, this move is only one of the steps that they will take to achieve their desired end result.
In 2017 an inventory was conducted where it was found out that 67% of New York City's climate change and pollution is caused by and coming from buildings.

This is because of the utilities of the buildings such as lights, electricity, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems that take up a lot of energy. To add to the problem, it is found out that old buildings leak out much like a refrigerator with an open door. To explain, the cold air that is mechanically generated for the interiors of the building is being leaked out in the summer while in the winter the warm air that is also mechanically generated to keep the occupants warm is also leaking out both because of different features of all buildings.

Now that the New York City Council has passed an emissions cap, the old buildings are recommended to retrofit upgrades into their structures. These upgrades include windows, energy sources, better heating and ventilation system, better roofing, and using eco-friendly technology.

For windows, caulking gaps and installing weatherstrips could stop leaks in existing buildings. Owners who wish to replace their windows are recommended to use vinyl, composite, fiberglass frames, and triple-paned glass. Using items that are labeled with low emissivity or low-e is also a good idea.

For energy sources, building owners are recommended to abandon their oil-fired heating systems which are still common and carbon-intensive. Another recommendation is the use of solar panels.

Building owners are also encouraged to install heat recovery ventilation systems. Especially for cities that have colder temperatures.

Another major problem of old buildings is the leaky roof which is common because it is the first defense of the building when it comes to precipitation, sun exposure, and even winged wildlife. Building owners are required to maintain the roof by simply patching up holes, Use of insulation in the form of foam, wool, or sheet metal is also suggested

Homeowners could benefit from using energy star appliances and LED batteries to reduce residential emissions. There are also other types of energy saving installations such as sensors that will Automatically turn the lights off in the room when people aren't using it.

The City Council would also like to reach out about retrofitting and improving the energy resistance of the structures entire shell. Design strategies should be employed such as recladding the exterior of the building so that it would not absorb too much heat, eliminating the need to cool down the building intensively.

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