NYC to invest $2.3 billion reducing greenhouse gases

7/07/2008 - 19:29

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City will spend $2.3 billion to slice greenhouse gases put out by municipal buildings and operations to cut this pollution by 30 percent in 2017, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.

Most of the reductions, 57 percent of the total, will be achieved by upgrading city buildings with improved heating, cooling and ventilation systems, the mayor said in a statement.

Firehouses, police precincts, offices, court houses and sanitation garages will also get lots of repairs, from leaky pipes to inefficient pumps, and wasteful systems will be corrected.

Improving water plants that treat sewage and storm water runoff, fixing their methane leaks and using that gas to run electric generation equipment, will account for 17 percent of the greenhouse gas reductions.

Other steps include buying more vehicles that get better gas mileage. And Bloomberg, who jests with reporters about replacing the light bulbs at his Upper East Side townhouse with more efficient ones, plans to do the same with street lights.

These and other measures should help the city meet its goal of cutting 1.68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year from 2006 levels.

"The City is doing its part, I hope the private sector follows our example and finds conservation savings of their own," Bloomberg said. New York City's government consumes about 6.5 percent of the city's total energy use, and 10 percent of its peak electricity demand.

The program puts in place one of the independent mayor's so-called PlaNYC initiatives, a series of green proposals to manage the city's expected growth in the next few decades. His best-known proposal, the gridlock-fighting congestion pricing plan, was killed by the state legislature.

By 2013, the city should break even on its investments, on an annual cash flow basis, the mayor said. The program will partly be funded with 10 percent of the city's energy budget -- about $100 million in the current fiscal year.

New York City has already committed $900 million for the program and it spent $80 million in its previous budget. The mayor also hopes to tap federal and state dollars, private foundations and so-called energy performance contracts.

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