Courtesy of Ken Hillman, LEED AP, originally from Urban Green Council
New York's City Council passed major legislation this afternoon that places New York City at the forefront of municipal efforts to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
New York's City Council passed major legislation this afternoon that places New York City at the forefront of municipal efforts to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Under the umbrella of PLANYC, which outlined measures to reduce our city's total carbon footprint 30% by 2030, the four bills are known as the "Greener, Greater Buildings Plan" and are among the most progressive adopted in the United States. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn announced the legislation on Earth Day (April 22) of this year and their offices have worked alongside Council Members Jim Gennaro, Dan Gardonick, Domenic Recchia, Jr. and Melissa Mark-Viverito as well as many others to shepherd the bills to passage. Taken as a whole, this single suite of bills is expected to reduce the city's carbon footprint by nearly 5% – equal to eliminating the entire carbon footprint of Oakland, California.
The legislation includes the creation of a New York City Energy Conservation Code, building performance benchmarking, lighting retrofits & tenant submetering, and audit & retro-commissioning measures.
For years, attempts to improve the energy efficiency of our existing buildings have suffered from what is known as the "50% rule" in the New York State Energy Code. This rule means that buildings do not need to comply with contemporary codes when renovating less than less than 50% of a building system. For example, in a 50-story building, if 24 floors of lighting are replaced the building does not need to comply with the lighting provisions of the current Energy Code.
In a place like New York City where buildings are often renovated only a few floors at a time this loophole has stymied the introduction of energy efficient technologies like lighting, metering, and even base building physical plant systems. The creation of the NYC Energy Conservation Code closes this giant loophole, and gives New York City direct control over its building energy standards.
The remaining three bills apply not to the entire city, but to those buildings over 50,000 square feet (or buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 100,000 square feet.) These buildings make up nearly half of the built square footage of the city. Read the rest of the article