Theses Master's

Energy Efficiency in Residential Buildings and Transferable Development Rights: An Exploratory Analysis

Lacoste, Jordanna

New York City hopes to reduce Green House Gas emissions from buildings by 3.4 million metric tons by 2025. Since the vast majority of buildings in New York City already exist, a crucial objective is improving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock. The slow implementation of energy efficient technologies in buildings can be explained by a lack of funding. This study explores methods for targeting deeper energy efficiency retrofits, as well as financing these improvements through reforming the City's zoning ordinance, specifically the governance of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) transactions. Developments with transferred development rights create increased density that impose costs that need to be accounted for; with more building density there will be more energy usage at one point in space. Based on research and reasonable assumptions, this study of Manhattan alone demonstrates that placing a value capture tax on TDR transactions at a hypothetical 6% tax rate could raise between $46 million and $72.5 million. Similarly placing a flat $18 per square foot (PSF) charge could raise from $47 million to $67 million. The revenues generated by this transfer charge could be earmarked for energy improvements in residential buildings. Using existing technologies, it is estimated that this money could possibly reduce GHG emissions in the City of New York between 282,337 and 433,782 Metric Tons of CO2 equivalents- depending upon the approach adopted. Further consideration should be given to the benefits of energy efficiency grants as opposed to loans.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 17, 2015