According to a study released by Urban Green Council the city of New York can reduce its carbon emissions by 90% by 2050. Better yet all the technologies that are being used for the proposed project already exist. The plan is to change the building codes to implement different environmentally friendly technologies, some are definitely more difficult than others but most are relatively simple to do. There is also a transportation side to the plan but I’m going to focus on the building aspects of it. The proposed plan asks building and house owners to lower vision glass to 50 percent maximum, increase insulation on solid walls, incorporate triple glazing on windows, add sunshades to south windows, air sealing the building, as well as going off from traditional central coal fired central heating systems to electric based heat pumps. These changes seem kinda small but the collective effort of you sealing your house and controlling the heating and cooling can make a huge impact on your overall CO2 emissions.
Although the plan sounds great it seems unlikely that New York City will be able to make all these changes just because of how immense it is. For New York City to do this plan it is going to roughly need to replace 99 million windows,5.7 billion square feet of insulation 5.65 million residential units and 86,000 commercial buildings, “[New York City] is HUGE” said Lloyd Alter. If New York City achieves this plan then every major city in my opinion should put similar building codes in place as well. In a study of green house gas emissions per person a year for large cities across the globe New York came in 5th with seven point one tons of CO2 per person, Washington D.C came in first with an astounding nineteen point seven tons of CO2. The plan 90 by 50 could be the first of many plans to cut emissions for cities all throughout the world, if the twelve biggest CO2 emitting cities successfully did a 90 by 50 plan or some derivative ninety percent of their pollution would be gone leaving around six point o three tons less per person in each city; this is a lot considering the cleanest of the twelve São Paulo in Brazil only emits one point five tons of C02 per person.
People argue that the ninety by fifty plan is not all great, that there will be major side effects to the plan. They argue with your house being sealed in and having a heat pump you’re going to need heat recovery ventilation (HRV) to warm and cool your house as well. These systems are complex unlike the easy to use “simple, central, leaky systems” as described by Lloyd Alter that most of us use today. If one of the heat pumps or HRV’s got damaged and no one fixed it right away that could lead to mold growth, maybe even other toxins from the sealing and insulation could affect your health. Overall I think the ninety by fifty plan is a good idea though, despite the serious side effects it creates extra jobs and it saves New York City money in the long run.