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New York, NY— Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, and a leading advocate for greater energy efficiency at New York City’s large buildings, released the following statement in response to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of a clean and efficient buildings plan:

“For several years, we have advocated for a robust city government mandate that requires private buildings to improve their energy efficiency.  Mayor de Blasio’s plan to reduce fossil fuel usage in private buildings that produce the most greenhouse gas emissions is a major step forward.  His plan has been informed by the work of community, labor, and environmental justice organizations committed to increasing energy efficiency and creating thousands of good-paying climate careers of the future,” said Silva-Farrell, whose advocacy organization ALIGN released a major report earlier this year calling for a citywide energy efficiency requirement that covers all aspects of large buildings across New York City.

“Building owners and developers have the capital to make large-scale energy efficiency improvements, and the city’s skilled labor force is ready to do this work. But city government must do more to advance additional policies that boost energy efficiency across whole buildings, and specifically target electricity usage, while protecting affordable housing and vulnerable tenants.  We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration and the City Council to ensure every necessary action is taken to achieve the goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050,” said Silva-Farrell.

To date, job creation in energy efficiency has been spotty, largely because city policies have either been voluntary, or have only covered certain aspects of a building such as lighting or oil-fired burners, the recent report from ALIGN notes.

But requiring building owners to improve efficiency across the board can spur employment growth across numerous occupations, including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters, and operating engineers, as well as engineers, energy auditors, and building service workers, according to the ALIGN report.

The Empire State Building is a key example of how large buildings can improve their energy efficiency, reduce emissions, create good jobs, and save money over time.  The iconic building has cut its energy use nearly 40 percent and its energy efficiency upgrades will save more than $4 million each year.  It’s a model for other buildings to follow.