New York City Mayor Wants to Restrict Construction of Glass Skyscrapers

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. conduct / kənˈdʌkt / (v) – to allow heat or electricity to move from one place to another

    Silver conducts heat better than glass.

  2. eat up / it ʌp / (idiom) – to consume

    The long queue ate up my time.

  3. notable / ˈnoʊ tə bəl / (adj) – worthy of attention

    Most employees are very satisfied with the company’s notable improvements.

  4. advancement / ædˈvæns mənt / (n) – an improvement

    Work is getting easier because of advancements in technology.

  5. realize / ˈri əˌlaɪz / (v) – to achieve a goal 

    He finally realized his dream of becoming a famous athlete.


Read the text below.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to impose restrictions on the construction of glass skyscrapers in the city.

Mayor de Blasio announced the proposal on Earth Day last April. The plan is part of his OneNYC 2050 strategy, which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 2050. While he will not completely prohibit the construction of glass skyscrapers, he will urge developers to meet strict energy-saving standards. With this initiative, de Blasio hopes to discourage building owners from constructing these types of buildings or at least encourage them to use more energy-saving sources.

The mayor thought of this initiative because buildings are responsible for 70% of emissions in New York City. Findings of a report by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability revealed that glass skyscrapers conduct more heat than brick and concrete buildings do. This causes heat loss during winter. In addition, building occupants tend to rely on air conditioning when the temperature is hot. This practice eats up more electricity, thus contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite de Blasio’s good intentions, it is still uncertain whether his plan will push through. The mayor’s proposal was also met with criticisms. Some New York-based architects do not agree with the idea of restricting the construction of glass skyscrapers as there have been notable advancements in the construction of green buildings. They asserted that creating energy-saving buildings is possible with using any type of material, including glass panels.

Journalist Will Bredderman also commented that he doubts the mayor’s proposal will have a significant impact on New York’s energy code. He also suspects that the mayor only wants to realize the plan because of personal agenda.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Mayor de Blasio should still impose restrictions on the construction of glass skyscrapers in the city despite the criticisms? Why or why not?
• If you were mayor of New York City, what initiatives would you propose to curb greenhouse gas emissions? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think that adopting energy-saving practices is enough to help the environment? Explain.
• What energy-saving practices do you think a lot of people find difficult to adopt (e.g. reducing the use of air conditioners, using bicycles instead of cars)? What made you say so?