Mayor Announces Passage of New Energy Code

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Image credit: CityLand

The new code aims to improve energy efficiency for new and existing buildings as part of its Green New Deal. On February 27, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the passage of a new law that will update the existing energy code citywide in the fight against global warming. Buildings are one of the city’s greatest emitters of carbon and older buildings tend to be less energy efficient. The city is taking an aggressive approach to combat these effects and to become a global leader in sustainability. The 2020 Code is part of the city’s implementation of its Green New Deal.

The 2020 Energy Conservation Code was modeled after the 2020 New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) NYStretch Energy Code. The NYC code goes even further, taking into consideration challenges unique to urban living and population density.

As of May 12, 2020, new and existing buildings will have to meet the following efficiency requirements:

  • Improve the building thermal envelope by requiring better performing walls and windows
  • Minimize and control air leakage by sealing and testing the building envelope
  • Balconies and parapets must be continuously insulated
  • Meet minimum energy efficiency requirements for heating and cooling systems
  • More efficient interior lighting and additional lighting controls
  • Perform commissioning on more HVAC alteration projects
  • Efficiency measures on new elevators and commercial kitchen equipment
  • Create the infrastructure for the future installation of electric vehicle chargers in one- and two-family homes
  • Require whole building metering for new buildings greater than 25,000 square feet
  • Allow source energy as a metric, instead of energy cost, for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling
  • Additional thermal envelope performance requirements for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling

At the time of passage, the NYC Department of Buildings planned to continue to implement revisions as part of its ongoing Code Revision Cycle. This process involves meetings with advisory and technical committees to stay on top of best practices and innovations in the field.

Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, stated, “Our codes are how we speak the truth of our values in the language of our built environment. In the spaces where we live, work, and play, these new energy conservation codes will unlock healthier and more efficient buildings to help us in the fight against climate change – the fight for our future.”

NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair of Committee on Housing and Buildings stated, “Today’s passage of the 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code marks the culmination of work to advance sustainability. That work included government, advocates, and the private sector all putting in their insights and expertise to upgrade our commitments, take advantage of new technologies, and pursue strategies that conserve. By passing the NYC ECC, we reaffirm our City’s leadership in tackling climate change and create a positive example for communities across the world to pursue.”

John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council stated, “NYC’s new Energy Code is among the strongest in the nation. This breakthrough code will drive cost-effective efficiency in new buildings and renovations, helping to ensure affordable, healthy and low-carbon buildings for all New Yorkers.”

By: Anna Kovalevska (Anna is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, class of 2020.)



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