The bills make up what is the first green retrofitting legislation in the country. Critics have voiced complaints over the bills' reduced requirements.
"The package of four bills, which were unveiled on Earth Day, had recently been criticized for no longer requiring mandatory retrofits of buildings over 50,000 square feet that do not pass decennial audits. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn insisted the legislation still came close to reaching the council's initial benchmarks. "Our goal was to get as close to our original goal of 5 percent reduction in carbon as possible," Quinn said. "We've achieved about four-and-three-quarters percent, about as close as we can get."
Quinn said that, based on studies by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, voluntary retrofits would work almost as well as mandatory ones, given that when most building owners see the potential savings revealed by the required audits, they would make the upgrades anyway. Under the previous legislation, any building system that failed to meet current standards would have to be upgraded."