Greening the NYC Building Code – A regular citizen gets an update

8 01 2008

OK, I’m not a regular citizen. I’m a Registered Architect in the state of New York whose entire career has been spent doing work in the 5 boroughs. So I have a vested interest in the recent changes in the NYC Building Code but I’m finding it difficult to get this information in any kind of efficient way.

I went to an event a couple of weeks ago at the New School called Greening NYC’s Building Code, sponsored by the NY Chapter of the USGBC.

The NYC Department of Buildings has been busy lately. They recently adopted a new Building Code, a modified version of the International Building Code which will require updates every 3 years (it’s been 40 years since the last update). One happy byproduct of the new code is that it will more easily allow new sustainable practices to to be incorporated into the code. Some of the examples Commissioner Patricia Lancaster mentioned are:

  1. Streamlined approvals for microturbines. Microturbines are highly efficient turbine generators that recover and reuse the wasted heat of their own combustion process, after producing electricity and heat for a building, to provide energy for other building operations.
  2. Allowing products approved by nationally recognized testing laboratories (such as UL) to be used in NYC instead of requiring MEA approvals (hallelujah).
  3. Requiring projects located in NYC to comply with NYS energy code (previously the DOB never asked for compliance).

These are impressive measures but I understand that this is just the beginning. If I can find a more comprehensive resource, I’ll post it here.

Stay tuned.