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The Battery Park City Authority has continued to implement the BPC Sustainability Plan and elevate sustainability in the neighborhood since the plan’s launch in 2020. Developed in consultation with a broad range of residential, local, and governmental stakeholders, the BPC Sustainability Plan provides the framework for developing and implementing a carbon neutral Battery Park City by the middle of the century through achievement of progressive sustainability targets through 2030, and lays the groundwork for continued sustainability action thereafter.
As BPCA celebrates Earth Day 2023 with a weeklong lineup of free public programming, we also mark our progress across the Plan’s four topic areas: Energy, Water, Materials & Waste, and Site.
– **Climate Action Plan: **Released in April 2022, Battery Park City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) focuses on the climate mitigation potential of BPC sustainability actions, quantifying and mapping greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions between now and 2050. CAP provides a high-level roadmap for Battery Park City to successfully achieve a carbon neutral neighborhood, where GHG emissions are net-zero over the course of a year with deep reductions and carbon offsets, as needed. GHG emissions reduction strategies in the energy, transportation, and waste sectors were modeled through 2050.
– Measure It To Manage It: The City of New York is targeting an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. In Battery Park City our goal is even more ambitious – carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. The Authority tracks and monitors its progress against this goal, and its 2020 and 2021 GHG inventory – for both its own operations and Battery Park City overall – can be found here.
– **Energy Audits: **The Authority set energy reduction goals for its own spaces in the BPC Sustainability Plan. In pursuit of those goals, BPCA completed ASHRAE Level II energy audits of its 75 Battery Place facility and 200 Liberty Street office space in 2022. The purpose of these audits was to determine potential energy conservation measures (ECMs) that can be implemented to reduce annual energy consumption and energy costs. The audits also included a lifecycle cost analysis to inform future decision making about the total cost and savings of the ECMs.
– **Replacing Gas-Powered Equipment: **As tools and equipment near the end of their useful life, BPCA’s Parks Operations team has transitioned to electric equipment options when possible. In 2022, a selection of gas powered equipment was replaced by electric snow blowers, an electric weed trimmer, electric leaf blowers, and an electric powered water pump. Moving forward, electric and/or zero-emissions equipment will always be assessed and reviewed for future equipment needs.
– **Energy & Sustainability Resources: **BPCA enhanced its role as a valuable facilitator of sustainability information in 2022. A “Sustainability Resources” section was added to the monthly BPC newsletter in 2022, which since launch has included information on service providers, educational, and financing opportunities items like New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant opportunities, webinar sessions on LL97 and energy benchmarking hosted by the City, and rebate programs from Con Ed. In addition, the Authority collects and curates energy efficiency, building operations, energy retrofit, and technical and financial support opportunities, and shares this information with building management firms across Battery Park City.
Read more about the BPCA’s past work in this topic area: Energy.
– BPC Ball Fields Resiliency: Resiliency measures at the BPC Ball Fields and Community Center were completed in 2022. The project entailed construction of an approximately 800-linear foot flood protection system along the fields’ perimeter to protecting the 80,000 square foot playing surface – used by some 50,000 local youth annually – and adjacent community center from the risks associated with storm surge and sea level rise. See more about this work here.
– Permeable Paver Pilot: In line with the actions and goals laid out in the BPC Sustainability Plan, the Authority’s permeable paver pilot project aims to make the neighborhood’s stormwater infrastructure and management more resilient. The project will replace existing impermeable pavement with permeable ones in selected areas in BPC. Permeable pavers allow stormwater to infiltrate into the park’s soil profile and help mitigate run-off. The pilot will assess the permeable pavement’s efficacy in reducing stormwater runoff, mitigate water accumulation, and decrease existing pooling of water after storms have passed. The initiative will also assess the ease of procurement and installation, purchase price, and ongoing maintenance costs of each of the permeable paver options. As of April 2023, installation at two of the four pilot locations is complete – one at the top of South Cove (look for the light colored pavers by the cul-de-sac at South End Avenue), and on the South Esplanade, near The Upper Room.
– **Snow/Ice Removal: **Parks Operations uses Magic Salt Ice Melt for sidewalks and pathways in BPC in the winter months. Magic Salt is a blend of salt and leftover mash from alcohol distilleries and is more environmentally friendly than traditional salt, having a low corrosion value and releasing fewer chlorides into the landscape and stormwater. Learn more about the Authority’s leading snow and ice removal practices here.
Read more about the BPCA’s past work in this topic area: Water.
MATERIALS & WASTE
– **Recycling Expansion: **In 2022, the Authority executed on a key waste diversion action from the BPC Sustainability Plan – “Expanding recycling and composting activities through additional infrastructure, education, and training.” More than 100 blue recycling cans were added to Battery Park City’s park space in 2022, expanding recycling into the open space for the first time. This new recycling infrastructure, combined with recycling education for BPCA staff and the neighborhood, sets the stage for Battery Park City to significantly reduce its landfill numbers.
– **Zero-Waste Open Space and Operations Certification Year: **Building on the momentum of BPCA’s Zero Waste Gold certification for our 75 Battery Place facility, the Authority set a new goal of zero waste open spaces and operations in 2021. While 2021 served as the baseline year, Fiscal Year 2022 served as the certification year for this goal. Throughout 2022, multiple waste audits were performed of park and street trash. In addition to the waste audits, daily weighing and the review of historical waste data has informed the baseline and future measures for achieving zero waste park space. Moving forward, the results of these audits and insights from BPCA’s Zero Waste Advisory Committee will inform the strategy for educating Authority staff and the broader BPC community so that all can play a role in achieving this goal.
– **Resource Reduction & Salvage: **Parks Operations continues to identify creative opportunities to salvage and reuse materials in its daily operations; these opportunities can often then inform the Authority’s future purchasing decisions. For example, the set design for the Giuletta e Romeo opera last summer reused more than 40 park bench slats. Plexiglas salvaged from BPCA’s 200 Liberty Street offices has been used for windshields of electric carts. As part of the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, our Horticulture division facilitated plant salvage opportunity for other State and City parks. BPCA regularly reaches out to vendors to create or utilize opportunities for “take-back” programs, repurposes items often sent to landfill, and works with vendors that can help recycle items that are considered “hard to recycle.” Taken together, these are the strategies that BPCA will use to reduce the amount sent to the landfill and change the mindset about waste in Battery Park City.
– **BPCA Procurement Guidelines: **The purchasing and procurement of materials by BPCA is a key place to include sustainability in decision-making and reduce waste. Sustainability guidance was added to the Procurement Guidelines in 2021, and it has become a regular practice to annually review the language included in the Authority’s Procurement Guidelines to ensure best practices are included for greener procurement.
– **Organics Collection & Composting: **BPCA continues its robust composting program, composting more than 75,247 lbs. in 2022. As just one example, composting was provided at BPCA’s Swedish Midsummer Festival in June 2022, one of the largest annual events. Over 92 lbs. of food waste was composted and diverted from the landfill as a result.
– **Dog waste composting expansion: **Battery Park City’s dog waste compost program, first launched in September 2019, the Authority has collected more than 5,700 lbs. of dog waste – creating nearly 7,000 lbs. of compost – with the first two fully-tested and cured dog waste compost applied along the West Street / Route 9A median in January 2022. Later that year, BPCA installed a new drop-off location on the BPC Esplanade, just south of Esplanade Plaza, to make participating in this program easier than ever. The Authority is now collecting between 15-25 lbs. of dog waste daily from our three dog runs and new collection bins along the BPC Esplanade.
Read more about the BPCA’s past work in this topic area: Materials & Waste.
– **Biodiversity & Habitats: **Expanding and enhancing existing ecological habitats is a goal outlined in both our Resilience Action Plan (the Authority’s first-ever strategic plan) and the BPC Sustainability Plan. By increasing biodiversity where appropriate across Battery Park City, the Authority will improve habitat resilience to different climatic conditions, improve their ecological health, and provide and support broader ecosystem services. BPCA uses the iNaturalist platform for documenting biodiversity in the neighborhood along with citizen scientists from across the city. With iNaturalist and stand-alone wildlife inventories, the Authority can better monitor and track birds, insects/pollinators, and other wildlife in BPC. A Kestrel box was installed in Rockefeller Park this summer, providing a place to build a nest and/or rest during migration, and recent creation of 10 “bee hotels” tucked away across our parks allows these buzzing buddies to safely nest and lay eggs.
– **New York State Birding Trail: **With more than 100 species of bird identified as living in or passing through Battery Park City, the neighborhood is a biodiversity haven across its 36 acres of parks and public space. Last October, Battery Park City was officially welcomed as part of the New York State Birding Trail, which highlights world-class birding opportunities across the state. The trail provides information on places anyone can go to find birds amid beautiful settings.
– Tree Power Program: During the autumn 2022 planting season, BPCA participated in the New York Power Authority’s Tree Power Program for the second consecutive year. The Authority planted 18 trees, which will store 491 lbs. of CO2 equivalents annually. All the trees selected are native to New York State, and provide particular value to birds, butterflies and moths, beneficial insects, and other wildlife.
Read more about the BPCA’s past work in this topic area: Site.