In this week's Newsletter: NY City Council expands energy reporting to mid-sized buildings, ExxonMobil fights climate change suits, meet biologist and MacArthur "genius" Victoria Orphan and much more!
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City Council Expands Energy Regulations for Mid-Sized Buildings

On October 13th 2016, New York City Council unanimously approved legislation that expanded energy regulations to include mid-sized buildings. In 2009, City Council passed Local Laws 84 and 88, requiring large buildings to upgrade light systems and report their water and energy use; today, Introductions were passed to apply those laws to mid-sized buildings. Since 68% of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, these Introductions heighten New York City’s sense of energy accountability and consumer awareness. Improving building’s energy efficiency will be one of the main ways forward to cutting the City’s greenhouse gas emissions over the first half of this century.

Buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. have been required since 2009 to report their energy and water use. Now, Introduction 1163’s passing expands that regulation to include buildings of 25,000 sq. ft. and over. Sponsored by Daniel Garodnick, Intro 1163’s new inclusions predicate future retro-fitting for energy efficiency by making more buildings’ exact energy uses transparent. Owners of buildings between 25,000-50,000 sq. ft. will now have the technical information relevant to making future energy savings plans on a building-by-building basis.

In a dense city like ours, making energy efficiency a priority is good common sense. You can read more about the new legislation at the NYLCV website here.

Interested in energy efficiency and high performance building technology? Attend the NESEA BuildingEnergy NYC Conference + Trade Show, NYC's fastest-growing event for professionals and practitioners working on energy efficiency initiatives and high performance buildings. Hosted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), this year's event will be held on November 3rd at the TKP New York Conference Center. Register today at

ExxonMobil Keeps Fighting Climate Change Case

Two states, New York and Massachusetts, have filed suits against ExxonMobil for hiding evidence about how their petroleum products contribute to climate change, and the oil giant is (unsurprisingly) fighting back. 

In a federal court in Texas, the Exxon asked the court to throw out a subpoena for documents related to the alleged coverup, as investigators try to determine whether Exxon committed securities fraud.  By not disclosing climate risks that they were fully aware of to investors, either by hiding climate research or by overvaluing reserves that may have to be left in the ground, Exxon may also have violated state securities and consumer fraud laws. Exxon claims the lawsuits are politically motivated.

Judge Ed Kinkeade has yet to rule on Exxon's requests in the high-profile case.

You can read the rest of this story at here. 

Meet Biologist and MacArthur Fellow Victoria Orphan

Usually when we think about atmosphere regulation, we consider things like the concentration of greenhouse gases and the heat storage capacity of the oceans. But there is another way the Earth self-regulates: Methane-eating microbes that live at the very bottom of the sea. It's these fascinating creatures that Victoria Orphan, a new MacArthur Fellow, studies.

Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, but in water it can't do much. That's where these microbes come in. Amazingly enough, they are able to capture the escaping methane gas as it's released from the enormous amount of methane hydrate on the sea floor. They then transform the methane into CO2 which is then itself changed into solid limestone and also creates food for the entire undersea ecosystem. The whole process prevents the methane from being released into the atmosphere, and therefore helps keep the planet cooler.

You can read more about Victoria and the organisms she studies on here.

Upcoming Events at Solar One

We currently have no events scheduled, but there may be some more Park Volunteer events before the end of November. For more info, please contact

Other Events

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Bay Ridge
Our Lady of Angels Church, Parking Lot on 73rd Street bet 3rd & 4th Aves, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free

Permaculture Design Certification with Andrew Faust
The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue bet Hoyt & Bond Sts, Brooklyn, 10am, $1100 or $950 each for two

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Jackson Heights
37th Avenue bet 77th & 78th Sts, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Cobble Hill
Baltic Street bet Henry & Clinton Sts, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free

Big Data, Small Data: Managing Building Energy Data at Different Scales
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 9-10:30am, $15 general admission/$10 partner organizations

Environmental Justice: Then and Now
The New School Theresa Lang Student Center, 55 West 13th Street bet 5th & 6th Aves, Manhattan, 6-8pm, free

Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Breakfast & Tour: Tower West
Tower West, Community Room, 65 West 96th Street  bet Central Park West & Columbus Ave, Manhattan, 9am-12pm, free

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