NEW YORK CITY-Mayor Michael Bloomberg sounded an upbeat note at BOMA/NY’s Energy Action Day seminar Tuesday, saying that amid a challenging economy, the city remains “a magnet” for individuals and companies and will rebound more quickly than other markets. One factor, he said, is the leading role New York City plays in the green movement.

“By creating a critical mass of green commercial space, we can make New York even more attractive to companies looking to locate and expand here,” Bloomberg said in his breakfast presentation at the New York Hilton. In turn, green space can help employers attract talent: “Young people getting out of school want to work for progressive companies that they think are responsible.”

In keeping with the seminar’s theme–”Greening Your Bottom Line”–Bloomberg emphasized the long-term cost effectiveness of sustainable operations for his audience of building owners and managers. “We cannot stop making investments in the future, especially when it comes to energy,” he said. “The state of our planet certainly demands action, and so does the state of our economy.” He added, “The bottom line is that you don’t have the monies to spend on energy that you did before, and you have to find a way to light, heat and cool by using less energy. The good news is that the steps we’ve taken to save energy will also save us a lot of money and create thousands of green jobs that are the key to our economic future.”

Bloomberg gave plaudits to the commercial sector for leading the way. “In fact, BOMA members were employing green practices long before anybody coined the term, he said, noting that the association helps members find ways to save energy “simply by improving building operating standards.” This not only helps members cut costs but also helps the city become more competitive among the world’s markets.

Commercial property owners and managers are in a particularly important position when it comes to raising the city’s ecological profile, because 80% of the carbon emissions here come from buildings, and only 20% from vehicles–”the exact opposite of most cities,” Bloomberg said. And while New York City has made great strides, he added, “We produce more carbon emissions than the country of Portugal. So we still have a long way to go.”

Although the Bloomberg administration is looking to fleets of hybrid municipal vehicles as part of its ambitious PlaNYC 2030 program, Bloomberg encouraged the BOMA audience to focus on their properties. “In the end, if we want to reduce our carbon footprint–and we have a commitment to do so by 30% by the year 2030, and by 2017 for city-owned buildings–we’ve got to make sure our heating and cooling systems use less energy and are much cleaner.”

He pointed out that the shorter time frame for the public sector to achieve this PlaNYC goal, as compared to the commercial sector, was a result of the city seeking to provide leadership in this area. To that end, the Bloomberg administration is spending $100 million on energy-efficiency upgrades.

“We’re changing light bulbs, redoing power plants, improving insulation around windows–all the simple things that have big payback,” Bloomberg said. “That’s one of the real secrets of getting people to go green: you can talk about environmental consequences and you can talk about long-term savings, but if they can see the savings right away, it gets people to do things right now.”

Bloomberg began his BOMA address with what he called a “pep talk” extolling the city’s resilience. “The bottom line is, I don’t think all of this doom and gloom–that there’s never going to be an economy again and that everybody’s going to leave New York–makes any sense. Right after 9/11, the zeitgeist was that nobody was going to live Downtown anymore. Today there are twice as many people living Downtown than before 9/11. The zeitgeist then was that companies would move 50% of their people out of the city. That never happened.”

He added, “This is still New York, this is still a city that will rebound more quickly than many other places, and I think all of you will have buildings to manage and new buildings that will be built. Where you’re losing tenants occasionally, more people will come here.”

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