New York approves green buildings legislation


Christine C. Quinn,
New York City Council
New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 11, 2009 – New York’s city council has approved a package of measures to improve energy efficiency in buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs, create thousands of green jobs, and establish a New York City energy code.

Buildings account for 80 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions and energy costs are estimated at $15 billion a year. The package of four bills – three of which apply to large buildings (generally larger than 50,000 square feet) – is expected to lead to energy savings of $700 million annually and to contribute to reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030.

The Audits and Retro-Commissioning bill will require owners of existing buildings over 50,000 square feet to conduct energy efficiency audits every ten years and to optimize building efficiency with focused maintenance. The bill also requires that City-owned buildings retrofit systems when audits show such work would generate an energy cost savings pay-back in seven years or less.

Under the Benchmarking Bill large buildings will be required to benchmark their energy and water consumption annually, making use of a free, online tool provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Benchmarking will empower building owners to take steps towards minimizing energy use and maximizing the economic benefits inherent to energy conservation.

The Lighting Bill will require lighting upgrades by 2025 in commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet. Such upgrades include the installation of sensors and controls, as well as more efficient light fixtures. In addition the bill mandates the installation of submeters by 2025 and the provision by owners to tenants of a monthly statement indicating their electricity consumption and its cost.

Finally the New York City Energy Code Bill creates for the first time a City Energy Code and requires that new equipment installed during a renovation must meet current efficiency standards.

“Today we are taking tremendous steps towards creating a more environmentally friendly New York City,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Working together with the administration, environmental advocacy groups, and construction, housing, and buildings organizations, we are making our world famous city skyline greener and greater than ever.”