Bionomics Begins at Home
BPCA Seeks Green Bond Designation for Upcoming Debt Issue and Plans for Carbon-Neutral Future
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) is beginning to formulate a roadmap for shrinking the community’s environmental impact. At the May 21 meeting of the agency’s board of directors, Authority president Benjamin Jones explained that, “we’re now making a concerted effort, which we talked a little bit about at our last meeting, to further advance sustainable practices, both in our operations and throughout the neighborhood.”
This push is taking multiple forms. Geoff Proulx, a Morgan Stanley executive who is leading the team of underwriters for the BPCA’s upcoming bond issue (proceeds of which will be used, in part, to finance resiliency measures throughout the community) noted during the same meeting that this debt will be issued as “green bonds” — a new category of financial instruments reserved for infrastucture projects with environmental benefits.
“A good portion of that is going to go into the initial funding for the three main resiliency projects and the Ball Field remediation project as well,” Mr. Proulx said. “We’re very excited about that at Morgan Stanley, because of the positioning of it for a sustainability bond designation.”
He also noted that the offering plan for this debt issue will focus on, “all the positives about Battery Park City as a green place that has 36 acres of open space, has tons of social attributes. We’re parsing those out within a sustainability designation to talk about the resiliency side of things and everything that the Authority is doing to address climate change.”
At the same meeting, Mr. Jones announced that the BPCA has also, “formed a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, otherwise known as NYSERDA, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, to help further develop strategies in this regard. As part of this effort we are going to pursue a number of State and City programs that will provide resources including technical assistance, energy management, and financial support.”
Battery Park City’s record of environmental stewardship began in the 1980s, when the Authority’s Parks Conservancy committed to maintaining the community’s green spaces without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilizers. This impetus was broadened in the 1990s, when the BPCA began requiring developers to incorporate eco-friendly features into the designs of new building. In 2003, the Solaire, at 20 River Terrace, became the first residential high-rise building in the United States to earn certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Buildings Council.
More recently, the BPCA has launched a Zero Waste Program among its staff, and has expanded its longstanding composting program to include Gateway Plaza, the community’s largest residential complex. Mr. Jones said that the Authority plans to roll this program out among other residential buildings, as well, in the months to come.
Finally, he noted, “we are committing to having a formal sustainability plan,” which will be announced on the next Earth Day (in April, 2020), “which will provide a road map to get us closer to a carbon-neutral Battery Park City.”
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