Mayor Adams Signs Executive Order to Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions from City Construction Projects

Mayor Eric Adams. Photo Credit:

The City’s construction sites are going green. On September 23, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams signed Clean Construction Executive Order 23 (EO 23). The executive order requires the city’s capital project agencies to commit to actions that will lower greenhouse gas emissions arising from municipal construction projects.

EO 23 is directed at all processes associated with construction, such as manufacturing, transportation, and maintenance. It instructs agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with embodied carbon of building materials and construction equipment through low-carbon concrete specifications, environmental product declarations, low-emission vehicles and equipment, and life cycle assessments.

According to the City’s announcement, construction is responsible for approximately 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A large portion of those emissions come from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials, especially concrete, iron, and steel. The actions taken by EO 23 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and noise pollution citywide, and will ensure that construction funded by new federal infrastructure and climate bill funding will use sustainable materials, equipment, and practices.

This bill is part of the City’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The actions of EO 23 will help to protect the planet and will demonstrate New York City’s climate leadership and dedication to leading by example. The Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice will also incorporate milestones into the city’s long-term strategic sustainability plan, to be released on Earth Day 2023.

Mayor Eric Adams shared, “As extreme weather intensifies, it is clear that we are in the midst of a climate crisis in this city and across the world. My administration is committed to delivering New Yorkers a future free of these chronic threats, and, with construction being responsible for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is imperative that we use every tool in our toolbox to lower embodied carbon. This executive order is a massive stride towards doing just that and giving all of us a more breathable, livable home.”

New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley stated “DDC is one of the leading agencies for addressing climate change, and the construction industry itself is a significant source of emissions that we can help manage. We’re reviewing our specifications to reduce the embedded carbon in the concrete that we use, and we’re going to require our suppliers to disclose the environmental effects of their steel and concrete manufacturing processes so we can work with them on ways to adjust it downward. Climate change is a major challenge, and modifying construction techniques and materials is another important component of the city’s comprehensive effort to address it.”

By: Samantha Silverstein (Samantha is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)



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