NYC Exorcises Antiquated Fuel

 Smoke_stack_buildingNew York City’s most notorious source of pollution has finally gone by the wayside. In an announcement last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed that the city has completely rid itself of heating fuel No. 6, a highly toxic oil long used to keep buildings warm during the winter. Some 5,300 properties had registered as users, all of which have now converted their boiler systems to cleaner sources.
The shift will prevent as much as 210 premature deaths annually, and reduce particulate matter emissions by 1,200 tons. Under Mayor de Blasio’s retrofit accelerator, the city will now move onto phasing out heating fuel No. 4, the next-dirtiest grade. The “grade” of oil indicates various attributes, such as boiling point and carbon chain length.

No. 6, referred to as a “heavy fuel oil,” arises using crude oil leftovers after extracting lighter fuels through distillation. The municipality aimed to replace this only with natural gas. However, due to limitations on Con Edison’s supplies and construction, many buildings could not afford to upgrade their systems wholly and so switched to No. 4. Environmental advocates expect the new programs in place to solve this issue.By 2030, the municipality will require all buildings to use No. 2 grade oil or natural gas. The regulations will keep the City in line with the OneNYC plans, which aims to hit an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 3050, and the cleanest air of all large, American cities by 2030. De Blasio has further pledged to move the energy production towards renewable sources in order to meet this goal.

Just one percent of all buildings in NYC contribute to 86 percent of the pollution, causing a laundry list of health problems, including asthma, lung and respiratory illness.