It’s been a cold winter in New York City, which means a lot of building owners are turning up the heat — and pumping more pollutants into the city’s air.
But the amount of black smoke billowing above the five boroughs is dramatically less than it was just four years ago.
Since 2011, according to city figures, soot pollution in the city’s air has plummeted by 50 percent, which amounts to 375 tons of airborne soot that isn’t lodging itself inside the lungs of New Yorkers, or helping to hasten the effects of climate change.
Although New York City Clean Heat doesn’t provide building owners with funds, it does its best to convince building owners that converting to cleaner forms of heating is more cost-effective in the long run. It also provides heating experts and other resources to building owners when they decide to make the switch.
Brown says they’re using the cold weather to re-focus attention on the program.
“When building owners are all concerned about heat, especially when it’s cold, it definitely becomes a present issue on everyone’s mind,” she said. “They’re also feeding their bill for how much oil they’re buying and consuming. It’s an interesting opportunity to drive the issue home.”