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Building efficiency policies in world leading cities: what are the impacts?

Panel: 3. Local action and national examples

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Adam Hinge, Sustainable Energy Partnerships, USA
Hilary Beber, New York City Mayor's Office, USA
Jonathan Laski, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, in partnership with Clinton Climate Initiative
Yuko Nishida, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Bureau of Environment


London, New York and Tokyo are regularly regarded as three of the world’s “leading cities.” All are respected pioneers among other international cities in developing innovative policies to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Each city has proven to be a global urban climate policy leader – the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group was founded by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2005, and is currently chaired by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Tokyo’s innovative Cap-and-Trade program is delivering some of the greatest measured savings of any major urban initiatives to date. New York’s long-term sustainability plan, PlaNYC, aims to create a greener city through a variety of data-driven policies, and commits to a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The London Plan sets similarly ambitious goals for environmental improvement. All of the cities’ carbon footprints are dominated by existing buildings, making them a key target for energy efficiency policies. With a mature stock of buildings already in place, new construction is not as significant a contributor to greenhouse gas emission growth in these cities relative to more rapidly growing cities.

So, after more than five years of ambitious policy leadership, what do we really know? What is the relative energy performance of buildings in each city and how do they compare? What new policy measures have been put into place and what type of results are they delivering? This paper compiles available data on the building stock, energy and carbon performance, and trends in the three cities to understand baselines and trends toward improved performance, reviews current policies, evaluates how municipal authority governs policy development and implementation, shares available data on the impacts of these policies, compares preliminary results of these leading policy initiatives, and makes recommendations on what needs to be done to move the market forward in leading cities.


Download this paper as pdf: 3-195-13_Hinge.pdf

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