A Conversation with NYC Healthcare Sustainability Managers
In thinking about what Gotham 360 would do to celebrate Earth Day this year we were reminded of how much has changed since last Earth Day, and how so much is still so different in regards to how we hold events and connect with one another. Throughout the last year, the pandemic has brought to light the overlap between environmental justice communities and the communities and populations hit hardest by the pandemic. We thought it only fitting to check in with some of our healthcare clients to hear their perspective on sustainability programming in hospitals, and how that has or hasn’t changed in the face of the pandemic.
LL 97 of 2019 offers two adjustment pathways – one for buildings with qualified excess emissions, and one for qualified not-for-profit healthcare facilities. Adjustment applications opened on April 12, 2021. Adjustments are not an exemption from the law, but a temporary increase in the qualified building emissions limit to allow extra time for compliance. Eligibility requirements for each type of adjustment must be met as described in the law. A full application filing guide is provided by NYC Sustainable Buildings.
Improve the Sustainability of Your Business in Boston, MA with These Critical Tips
Earth Day is on April 22nd. Have you thought about how you will be celebrating? Most businesses forget that there is an Earth Day. Still, it is an excellent time to evaluate your business plan and incorporate both renewable energy and sustainability into your business model. Protect the environment, lower your operational costs, and set an excellent example by consciously choosing to participate in Earth Day. Keep reading to learn three ways your business in Boston, MA can celebrate Earth Day: hosting corporate sustainability training, investing in electric vehicles, and conducting an energy efficiency audit.
Install Distributed Energy Resources to Protect Your Business in New York City
The winter energy crisis in Texas earlier this year cost many businesses several weeks of revenue and maintenance costs as the Texas energy infrastructure failed. As a result, business owners everywhere might worry about how an energy crisis might affect their own business. A proactive plan that considers extreme weather and unexpected events is essential to the long-term success of your company. Read on to learn more about the benefits that a sustainable microgrid project will bring to your New York City-area business.
Local Law 33 Overview
Get ready to start seeing some new letters posted in building lobbies. Local Law 33 (amended by Local Law 95) requires that eligible buildings larger than 25,000 square feet post Building Energy Efficiency Rating labels by October 31st.
The Drive to Sustainably Meet New York City’s Power Demand
Peaker plants are power plants which produce electricity at peak times, when the demand for power is greatest. Such times include the summer, as heat waves hit and air conditioner use increases. The need for power during these times is especially acute in large cities such as NYC.
There are 16 peaker power plants currently operating in NYC, each running for approximately 90-500 hours annually. Peakers have shown to be a necessary part of NYC infrastructure, meeting the increasing demand for power and preventing widespread blackouts in the city.
Key Takeaways From 2019 Benchmarking Season
Compliance with the NYC Benchmarking Law, Local Law 84, requires building owners to annually measure and report their energy and water consumption. The benchmarking process is standardized through the utilization of the EPA’s online benchmarking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager, to enter and submit energy and water usage data to the City. Usually, the deadline for benchmarking data submission is May 1st. Due to COVID-19, the deadline for 2019 data submission was extended to August 1st.
Do you live in a natural gas constrained area? Now may be a great time for a free Clean Heating and Cooling screening! NYSERDA’s Clean Heating and Cooling screening provides the information needed for building managers to evaluate the feasibility of Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP), Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technologies. NYSERDA is here to assist you in finding ways to reduce energy usage and costs in this tumultuous time.
Our recent blogs have mentioned a bit about Environmental Justice, the movement in response to the fact that environmental issues and climate change disproportionately impact low-income and BIPOC communities. This begs the question - is all environmentalism inherently just? It should be, but it is not. Though well-meaning in their ultimate goal, environmental and earth sciences (and STEM fields in general) are highly lacking in diversity.
Diversity in Energy Spotlight
WE ACT for Environmental Justice was founded in 1988 in response to environmental racism in Harlem. The three founders of WE ACT were fundamental in the beginnings of the environmental justice movement, which officially began in 1991. WE ACT works hard to represent BIPOC voices in an environmentalist movement that is overwhelmingly white. For more information on the environmental justice movement, read our primer here.
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The environmental justice movement works to address the inequities in US environmental policy which disproportionately expose Black people to environmental hazards including close proximity to waste facilities, poor quality water infrastructure, and air pollution. Last week, we provided a primer on the environmental justice movement which discusses the movement’s origin, history, and urgent relevance today. We will continue to call attention to the environmental justice movement by highlighting organizations doing this important work. Today, we focus on the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
By Eve Marenghi
Fitwel is a building certification program developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA) that sets standards for design features and operational strategies that support the health of building occupants. Fitwel offers more than 50 evidence-based design and operational strategies generated by expert analysis of over 3,000 academic research studies and tested across a portfolio of buildings. The Center for Active Design was selected by the federal government as Fitwel’s operator in 2016. Since then, Fitwel has become the world’s leading health certification system, with more than 1,000 registered projects in over 40 countries, impacting 830,000 people worldwide.
While there is a significant amount of uncertainty all around us in today’s world, one thing we know for certain is that organizations and institutions are going to feel the economic pain from this pandemic through 2021 even if a vaccine were to be developed towards the end of 2020. Healthcare organizations will see revenue shortfalls due to the pause on elective surgical procedures, which can account for between 40 - 60 percent of a hospital’s revenue. Higher education will likely see a decline in admissions or applications as many families struggle during this economic downturn. Commercial Real Estate is dealing with empty office buildings and the uncertainty that surrounds our return to work.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of environmental justice, there is no better time than the present to familiarize yourself. The events of 2020 have brought to national attention the systemic racism and subsequent injustices Black people in our country face on a daily basis. The outbreak of coronavirus has disproportionately affected the Black community and is evidence of other systematic inequalities Black people face every day, including access to health care and equitable treatment by healthcare workers. Black people continue to face police brutality (not only now, but for centuries in this country), as evidenced by the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.