Newly Adopted Building Codes Promote Greener City
January 6, 2012
Around Town – By Neal Tepel
Newly-adopted green building codes are expected to put the city on track to meet PlaNYC’s goal to lower carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste. Buildings account for 75 percent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 95 percent of total electrical consumption. The adoption of recommended procedures will divert 100,000 tons of asphalt from landfills each year; reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide by 5 percent; lower the costs of lighting energy by 10 percent; and provide $400 million in savings by 2030.
In February 2010, the NYC Green Codes Task Force, led by the Urban Green Council, proposed 111 recommendations to address a variety of issues, including carbon emission rates, public health and safety, and unnecessary costs associated with wasted energy and other resources. In the two years since that report, the Mayor’s Office and City Council have made 29 of those recommendations law, and are currently working to codify 8 others.
The recent Urban Green Council report documented the City’s progress in adopting the 29 codes, and calculated their impact, including: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent; lowering the energy costs for lighting by 10 percent; saving 30 billion gallons of water through better plumbing regulations; treating 15 million gallons of toxic construction water; recycling 100,000 tons of asphalt; and saving $400 million in overall energy costs – all by 2030.
“When we launched PlaNYC five years ago, we put forward a bold vision to make our City more sustainable, and meeting those goals is now a part of how our city develops,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The forward-thinking proposals enacted in the last two years will benefit buildings that make up this City, and the people who inhabit them. I look forward to working with the Speaker’s Office and the Urban Green Council to continue our work to build a greener, greater New York.”
“We're well on our way to making New York the greenest City in America. The legislation passed in the Council over the past two years to green our City’s codes will help us achieve the vision laid out in PlaNYC for a more sustainable New York,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The plan will move us closer to our goal of greenhouse emission reduction, and it addresses the growing concern New Yorkers face about environmental impact in the five boroughs. The Council looks forward to continue to partner with the Bloomberg administration and Urban Green Council on future initiatives.”
“The successful implementation of 29 recommendations of the Green Codes Task Force is but the latest milestone on New York City’s journey to be the world leader in urban environmental sustainability,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro. “I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for creating the Green Codes Task Force and for their relentless commitment to fulfilling the vision of PlaNYC. I thank Urban Green and the Green Codes Task Force for their great work, and as Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, I pledge to do all I can to assist the Mayor and the Speaker in implementing the remainder of the Task Force recommendations.”
PlaNYC was enacted in 2007 to build a sustainable City that could meet the needs of a growing population, support a competitive economy, combat climate change and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Since then, the City has reached several milestones, such as the planting of 500,000 trees, construction of new parks, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Mayor released an update to PlaNYC in 2011, setting 132 new initiatives and 400 new milestones to meet by December 31, 2013.