"The Big Apple" To Get Greener

In honor of Earth Day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by The Early Show to make an exclusive announcement.

Bloomberg, who was sporting a green tie, gave an update on what the City Council has done this past year and what it plans for next year.

"This year, with Speaker Quinn and the City Council, we're going to change the law so that you have to over a period of time - if it makes economic sense - upgrade your buildings, upgrade the lighting, upgrade the heating.

"[In] New York, 80 percent of greenhouse gases come from buildings rather than traffic," he said. "Today, you can make the buildings more efficient and better for the owner and the tenants of the building by better energy."

Although the law is just one step, it's a step in the right direction, according to Bloomberg. He says that it's going to reduce the total energy consumption of New York City's greenhouse gases by 5 percent by "using energy more efficiently and using a lot less energy."

Bloomberg went on to praise Quinn as "one of the real leaders here."

"To give people a sense of it, we'll reduce our carbon footprint the equal of the total carbon footprint of Oakland, Calif.," Quinn explained. "That's how significant this is."

Quinn expects that the bills will be passed into law by the fall and will be phased in over the next decade.

She adds that the law will save building owners $750 million when it's done and will also create thousands of jobs for the individuals who have to go in and make the buildings energy efficient.

"This is really a great win-win," Quinn said.

Bloomberg gave two incentives for building owners: "Number one, we are going to create an enormous number of jobs. Everybody talks about green jobs, we're actually creating them.

"Number two, if the building saves energy and the payback is less than five years, they'll have to do it. If not, they don't have to do it. But five years gives you a very high return. Lighting bulbs if you change them, can give you payback in a year. Changing the heating and air conditioning system if it's under five years, you'll have to do it."

Bloomberg says that building owners and construction workers are "basically on board" with this because they benefit.

"And the tenants benefit because their rent, in theory, will be lower and the public benefits because the air we breathe will be cleaner," he said. "It's a win, win, win, but we're actually doing something rather than just talking about it."

"And we're lucky to be getting support from the Obama administration," Quinn added. "Some of the stimulus money will also help create a revolving loan fund to do this work."
  • CBSNews

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