In this week's Newsletter: shows how we're doing on energy efficiency, possible cooling trend for our sun, ambitious clean energy goals for NYC government buildings and much more!
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How Are We Doing on Energy Efficiency? 

The energy used in New York’s buildings is responsible for 70 percent of citywide carbon emissions and costs New Yorkers more than $20 billion every year. Despite this enormous impact and expense, most of this energy use remains mysterious. Unlike our general awareness of the mileage per gallon performance when we buy or operate a car, most building owners and managers do not know whether their buildings are efficient. Tenants are usually even less aware.

Since you can’t manage what you don’t measure, New York City passed a law that requires all large buildings to annually measure their energy use in a process called “benchmarking”. And to ensure that decision makers, such as building owners and prospective tenants, have access to this energy information, the benchmarking data has been made public via a spreadsheet posted on the web. With the launch of METERED New York, that data is now easier to find and easier to understand.

Check out the new web tool here.

Are We Headed for a Mini Ice Age?

A new model that predicts the solar cycles more accurately than ever before has suggested that solar magnetic activity will drop by 60 percent between 2030 and 2040, which means in just 15 years’ time, Earth could sink into what researchers are calling a mini ice age. 

Such low solar activity has not been seen since the last mini ice age, called the Maunder Minimum, which plunged the northern hemisphere in particular into a series of bitterly cold winters between 1645 and 1715.

The prediction is based on what’s known as the Sun’s '11-year heartbeat'. The Sun’s magnetic activity is not the same year in year out, it fluctuates over a cycle that lasts between 10 and 12 years. Ever since this was discovered 172 years ago, scientists have struggled to predict what each cycle will look like.

However, this does not mean that we shouldn't continue to be concerned about climate change. We should. What this new information means is that we may be up against something far more complex than we've ever imagined. You can read more about what we can (possibly) expect here.

Mayor Unveils Ambitious Goal for Clean Energy in NYC

This past Friday, Mayor De Blasio took a big step towards meeting an ambitious renewable energy goal for the city: To have all city operations, from building systems to traffic lights, running off renewable energy sources within 10 years.

The city government currently spends between $600 million and $650 million a year on four to five terawatt hours of electricity. That results in approximately 3.2 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, about 7.5 percent of the whole city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The mayor’s plan could eventually grow to incorporate public housing projects as well, in which more than 400,000 New Yorkers reside, said de Blasio spokesperson Amy Spitalnick.

De Blasio’s move has the potential to do more than just move the city government itself onto cleaner energy. Injecting more than $600 million per year into the renewable energy industry could help it expand and reach economies of scale that will bring costs down. And being the largest and most high-profile city in the U.S. means that New York’s actions reverberate nationally, even worldwide. 

You can read more about it at here.

Upcoming Events at Solar 1

5th Annual Check Us Out Dance Festival
Solar 1, 23rd Street & the East River, 5pm, free & suitable for all ages

Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Presents: David Hershey-Webb & Friends
Solar 1, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30-8pm, free & suitable for all ages

Other Events

City of Water Day
Various locations, 10am-4pm, free

Gowanus Canal Conservancy Tree Census + Compost Windrow Build
Salt Lot, 2 Second Avenue near 5th Street, Brooklyn, 11am-3pm, free

Nature Journaling
Mt. Loretto, 6450 Hylan Boulevard at Cunningham Road, Staten Island, 5-7pm, free
Registration required.

Town Hall Meeting on Climate Change (Park Slope)
P.S. 321, 180 7th Avenue bet 1st & 2nd Sts, Brooklyn, 6:30-8:30pm, free
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