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Greening New York City’s Homes: A Transatlantic Dialogue with Baden-Württemberg

October 2, 2017, 6:30 pm8:00 pm EDT

The Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law hosted an event entitled, “Greening New York City’s Homes: A Transatlantic Dialogue with Baden-Wurttemberg.”

1 CLE credit in the Areas of Professional Practice category


Keynote address: 

Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy Sector, Baden-Württemberg

As the Trump Administration rolls back federal environmental regulation, New York City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent by 2050 have become all the more essential. And while the City has begun implementing policies to advance its climate goals, much more is needed. Of particular note, the City has enacted relatively few policies targeting energy efficiency improvements in small residential buildings, which account for roughly 20% of the sector’s GHG emissions. As local policymakers contemplate policy options for the path forward for these properties, they would benefit from dialogue with counterparts in Germany about strategies that have been experimented with there. The event facilitated the needed dialogue, focusing on policies that have been implemented in a leading German jurisdiction – Baden-Württemberg. Baden-Württemberg has enacted a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent by the year 2050 and has devised a number of innovative policies for the building sector to help achieve that end. At the event, we discussed these programs and their relevance for New York City. We also reviewed the current regulations governing building energy use in New York City and proposals for new legislation.


John Lee, Deputy Director for Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency, New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

Danielle Spiegel-Feld, ’10, Adjunct Professor and Executive Director, Guarini Center

Richard Yancey, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange


This event has been made possible through the generous support of the the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Transatlantic Climate Bridge.







Speaker biographies:

Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy Sector, was born on 4 April 1957 in Saarland. After graduating from the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Applied Science with a degree in Landscape Planning in 1982 he initially worked for the Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology). From 1983 he was parliamentary advisor to the Green Parliamentary Group in the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament before being elected to the Parliament himself in 2006. From 2006 to 2011 he also acted as deputy chairman of the Green Parliamentary Group.

Franz Untersteller has been Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector in Baden-Württemberg since 2011.

John Lee is the Deputy Director for Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. In this capacity, he is leading the city’s policy and legislative efforts driving the built environment to unprecedented energy efficiency standards towards the City’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by year 2050. John’s previous public sector service was with the NYC Department of Buildings as Senior Architect in the codes development division and with the Department of City Planning where he served as an Urban Designer. During his early career, John was Art Director for a web development firm consulting to a suite of clients in the energy sector and was also a design architect in private sector architecture firms working on institutional buildings, transit facilities, and master plans for universities. He is a licensed architect and a graduate of Rice University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Richard C. Yancey, AIA, LEED AP, is the founding Executive Director of the Building Energy Exchange, Inc. (BEEx), an independent, nonprofit organization that connects the New York real estate and design communities to energy and lighting efficiency solutions through education, exhibitions, technology demonstrations, and research, at their resource center in downtown Manhattan.

The work of BEEx has been featured widely, including the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s, Capital New York, and NY1; and Richard was named one of the Top Ten New York Energy Entrepreneurs (2015), and Top Ten Cleantech Leaders of New York (2013), by Breaking Energy.

Prior to BEEx, Richard has over twenty years of experience as an practicing architect, in Seattle and New York, leading a diverse array of commercial, institutional, and residential projects.  He has lectured and published widely, and sits on the the New York City Mayor’s Climate Action Plan Technical Working Group.  Richard received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.




October 2, 2017
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
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NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Faculty Library
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012 United States
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