Local Energy and Carbon Mandates for Existing Buildings – Greenbuild 2020 Session Review


Our editorial, “These large cities are committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. It might be too late to save many species on earth but better sooner than later. The municipal buildings lead the way, larger private building are targeted next and finally smaller private buildings. Non-compliance fees will fund resources offered to achieve improvements like PACE does. Policy making is a difficult road, all stakeholders need to be included, many public sessions take place but in the end we can ween ourselves off of fossil carbon. It’s hard to believe that we’ve just realized the carbon problem and only this year Greenbuild decided to make it their theme. It’s a very different way of looking at the problem. Energy efficiency is important but carbon neutrality affects every part of western culture. Every drop of oil taken from the earth needs to be accounted for and neutralized. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that in 200 years we have dug such a large hole for mankind. The first step is to stop digging.”

Cities account for 70% of our planet’s annual carbon emissions. In the US, as the federal government announced the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement dozens of cities across the country announced they would maintain alignment with the Agreement pledging carbon reductions of 80% or more by 2050. To reach these ambitious goals, cities all needed the cooperation of one crucial sector. Buildings.

Buildings represent as much as 70% of the carbon emissions of large cities across the country and since two thirds of the buildings that exist today will still be here in 2050, improving the energy and carbon performance of existing buildings is crucial to the success of these citywide carbon reduction goals.

In 2019, ten years after the first energy benchmarking and disclosure laws spread across the country, cities including New York and DC have taken the groundbreaking step to move from mandating energy disclosure to mandating energy (or carbon) performance and in NYC’s case attaching hefty fines for non-compliance. San Francisco and Boston also are developing similar policies.

In this structured discussion top policy makers from 3 US cities will discuss their current or planned policies to require specific energy and/or carbon reductions in existing buildings. Speakers will each address how they developed (or are developing) the policies and the major drivers that shaped the final outcome. Each speaker will discuss:

• What types of buildings are covered and how specific targets were set,

• how were stakeholders such as building owners, engineers, NGOs involved in the developing the policies,

• what meeting these requirements will cost building owners,

• how these policies will impact new construction and the architectural community,

• how renewable energy, the energy grid and local utilities will contribute to compliance,

• what will government do to ensure the policies are successful.


describe how local energy and carbon policies are structured and what each of these cities has enacted or is developing

evaluate what their buildings in these cities will be required to do in order to comply with these performance laws to impact sustainability

prepare for laws like these that will inevitably be coming to the cities where they or their clients own buildings

contribute knowledgeably to the development of similar energy and carbon policies in their own local regions.




Christopher Cayten
Partner and Senior Director Strategic Growth
CodeGreen Solutions
Mr. Cayten is a Partner and Senior Director of Strategic Growth at CodeGreen Solutions, a leading sustainability consulting firm based in NYC supporting over 500MSF of property across the country. Mr. Cayten has more than 20 years of experience in sustainability consulting and commercial real estate. Mr. Cayten has worked closely with the NYC Mayor’s Office and real estate community since 2009 developing and navigating the City’s energy and carbon efficiency programs for existing buildings including the 2009 GGBP and the 2019 CMA. Mr. Cayten has also worked with policy makers in San Francisco, LA and DC on their energy mandate policies. Mr. Cayten holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Architecture and has spoken domestically and internationally about sustainable real estate and energy efficiency policy. He serves on the sustainability committees of BOMA-NY and REBNY, is an active member of USGBC and the Urban Green Council.



Katie Bergfeld
Chief, Building Performance and Enforcement Branch
Government of District of Columbia, DOEE
Katie Bergfeld is the Chief of the Building Performance and Enforcement Branch at the Department of Energy & Environment within the Government of the District of Columbia. Coming to the agency with 10 years of experience in green building, she currently oversees all facets of the District’s benchmarking program, as well as the development of the District’s new building energy performance standards that were set forth in the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018. Prior to joining DOEE, Katie worked as a Program Specialist with the U.S. Green Building Council, where she worked in the LEED Certification Department. Katie has an M.A. in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development from American University and B.S. in Environmental Studies from Emory University. She is both a LEED Accredited Professional (BD+C) and Project Management Professional (PMP).

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Elizabeth Kelly
Senior Policy Advisor
NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
Elizabeth Kelly is a Senior Policy Advisor in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability with a focus on driving policy and programs to reduce GHG emissions in the built environment. Previously, Elizabeth managed the sustainability programs at The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), including initiatives that leverage private capital in support of environmental sustainability and housing affordability. Prior to joining CPC, Elizabeth worked with the Rutgers Center for Green Building and the North River Commission in Chicago. Elizabeth holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Rutgers University and a B.A. from Lake Forest College.

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Benjamin Silverman
Climate and Buildings Program Manager
City of Boston
Benjamin Silverman, CPHC, LEED AP: BD+C, Climate and Buildings Program Manager with the City of Boston Environment Department. M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School and previously worked for the cities of Oakland and New York in their sustainability offices. Benjamin administers the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) and sits on the Interagency Green Building Committee (IGBC) that oversees Boston’s green building zoning requirements.

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