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City Councilman wants NYC to turn out the lights

Written by
Jennifer Picht

From the Brooklyn Bridge to the breathtaking image of a fully lit skyline, the city that never sleeps is a beautiful sight—especially late at night. Even Alicia Keys says New York’s “big lights will inspire you”. But yesterday, legislation was introduced by Councilman Donovan Richards to start turning the lights off.

Don’t panic, New York. Richards is only seeking to limit the number of lights kept on in commercial buildings at night (and our landmarks are safe), but of course, this bill comes with a series of exceptions i.e. security reasons, seasonal displays (no, holiday windows aren’t going anywhere) and occupancy.

According to Richards, turning off unnecessary lighting in non-residential, retail and other buildings would conserve an enormous amount of energy and would act as an immediate way to reduce carbon emissions. Based on the council’s internal analysis and information from the Department of Finance’s website, buildings zoned in Class B or M will be targeted (40,000 buildings citywide). But these are considered New York’s most modest landmarks and Richards says iconic landmarks, buildings and zoned areas are exempt from the bill, plus small stores and businesses are excluded from provisions.

The exact numbers and percentage of how much energy will be saved has yet to be finalized. But if the bill is passed, this new "Lights Out" law would go into effect 120 days after the council decides to enact it. Perhaps this means New York is going to be a little more Green in 2015?

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