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New York City's recent LL86 Amendments are Game Changers for the City's Capital Projects.

April 13, 2016

In March of 2016, the New York City Council approved two (2) important amendments to Local Law 86, a solid step towards Mayor de Blasio’s ardent quest for New York City to emerge as the global leader in sustainability and resiliency - keeping the promises outlined in One City, Built to Last Plan developed by the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. The amendments, Int. Nos. 701A and Int. 721A, were drafted by committees chaired and guided through by Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council member Jumaane D. Williams respectively. We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead. All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index. The Amendments: Updates to Local Law 86 & the Segments Impacted The Standards for Sustainable Building and Design was updated and strengthened as the NYC Council voted a resounding YES for two (2) amendments to LL86. The requirements of Local Law 86 can apply to projects where construction is managed through city agencies as well as to projects where construction is managed through non-city entities, such as cultural organizations, state agencies, and private developers. The trigger for LL86 is city funding. New Language and Reporting Requirements: Call for Low Energy Intensity Buildings This bill would require city-owned buildings to be designed and constructed as low energy intensity buildings.

  • As targeted, for the first time Passivehaus ( a.k.a Passive House) was specifically written into Law

  • The amendments review and strengthen the reporting requirements

  • The amendment will effect City subsidized or capital projects which involve the construction of a new building in addition to an existing building or the substantial reconstruction of an existing building

  • Agencies responsible for project design would be required to consider the feasibility of designing and constructing certain capital projects as on site energy generating buildings

  • The Mayor will be required to create a plan by for ensuring that by 2030 all capital projects that will be subject to the requirements of this bill will be designed and constructed to have the same energy use intensity as buildings designed and constructed to Passive building standards

  • The new amendments upped the required acceptable base standard to LEED version 4 rating of Gold which includes some of the Passivehaus standards

  • The amendment affords the Mayor the ability to establish alternative building standards that are in the public interest providing that the certification is as or more stringent than LEED Certified and provided that where alternative standards are least stringent the Mayor of such agency reports the reason such alternative standards are necessary.

The bill would require the Mayor to produce an annual report with information about capital projects subject to this bill’s design and construction requirements. The Mayor would also be required to produce a triennial report containing recommended practices for designing and constructing low energy intensity buildings. New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years. Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power.

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards.

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved.

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year. Building Standards: Critical Tools in the Pathway to Sustainable Building & Design The term Passivehaus refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. Passivehaus has had a slow movement in the United States of America, but is now picking up speed. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is a widely adopted methodology in the United States. . Council member Jumaane D. Williams remarked, “the amount of new construction in New York City continues to increase and we have an obligation to ensure that new buildings constructed by the city have a minimum impact on the environment.”

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