During last week’s hearing on the new retrofit bill and in certain reporting, some suggested that the proposed bill would deliver twice the carbon reductions as the Blueprint for Efficiency. In fact, both proposals would help achieve the city’s goal of 40 percent carbon reduction by 2030 when the same 2005 baselines are used. While the bill goes somewhat beyond 40x30, the Blueprint provides a tailored metric and more practical approach that lets owners make cost-effective upgrades by aligning work with equipment replacement, refinancing and tenant turnover. The Blueprint also calls for efficiency credit trading to deliver the same overall carbon savings at the lowest cost.
The confusion around impact stems from the fact that the bill was analyzed from a 2005 baseline, whereas the Blueprint was analyzed against a much later 2020 baseline. The Blueprint proposes a 20 percent cut in source energy between 2020 and 2030, which would yield more than 4 million metric tons of annual CO2 savings by 2030. When added to progress before 2020, that energy reduction would deliver about a 40 percent reduction from 2005 carbon emissions from covered buildings.
In the end, the Blueprint and the bill as currently drafted would each take the city’s large buildings to 40x30. But the Blueprint approach will be more manageable for many.