Greening New York City’s Homes: The Case For Requiring Energy Efficiency Upgrades

If New York City hopes to achieve the ambitious goals it set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will have to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of its building sector, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of the city’s total emissions.

In this Policy Brief, Guarini Center Executive Director Danielle Spiegel-Feld and Fellow Augusta Wilson argue that requiring owners of small residential buildings to perform simple energy efficiency upgrades prior to sale could go a long way toward meeting New York City’s climate commitment. Drawing on interviews with 14 experts in jurisdictions that have enacted residential energy upgrade requirements elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world, Spiegel-Feld and Wilson contend that a similar law in New York City could meaningfully cut energy use and utility bills without unduly burdening property owners. The authors also provide guidance on how the proposed regulation could be structured and evaluate legal claims that may be raised against it.

Read the Policy Brief here.