New York offers $50m to boost energy efficiency of buildings

The Empire Building Challenge aims to transform existing multifamily and commercial high-rise buildings using low carbon heating and cooling solutions that will increase their sustainability and energy performance

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the launch of a $50 million (£39m) challenge to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, reduce their carbon footprint and tackle climate change.

The Empire Building Challenge aims to transform existing multifamily and commercial high-rise buildings, advancing low carbon retrofit approaches resulting in heating and cooling solutions that will increase their sustainability and energy performance.

Buildings currently account for around 45% of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion and electricity generation.

According to a 2019 analysis by Urban Green Council, if all buildings choose efficiency to meet their carbon goals, the retrofit market opportunity in New York City could be more than $20 billion (£15.7bn) while creating more than 100,000 jobs by 2030.

Increased energy efficiency can be achieved through window, door and wall insulation, energy efficient appliances, replacement of inefficient ductwork, furnaces and boilers and the incorporation of clean energy technologies such as heat pumps.

The Challenge will seek commitments from building owners to become carbon neutral and will provide the funding in three phases.

The initiative supports New York’s ambition for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Governor Cuomo said: “New York is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing renewable energy resources that will grow our economy and advance our nation-leading plan to fight climate change.

“The Empire Building Challenge leverages public-private partnerships with leading industry experts and helps New York to continue its rich legacy of environmental stewardship in order to protect our natural resources for future generations.”

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