With a new energy benchmarking law and new regulations for heating oils, New York City is pushing hard for greener, more efficient buildings. Yesterday, the City Council’s sustainable efforts continued, with the approval of three more green building bills, all of which address building roofs. The trio of bills is part of a larger proposal of 111 items that was introduced more than a year ago by the NYC Green Codes Task Force, a panel of environmental experts.
The new laws update the city’s building code to help create more energy-efficient roofs. The first bill modifies the building code to require that buildings’ roof materials be more reflective, so they absorb less heat in the summer. Starting on January 1, 2012, the law will apply to all new construction, and to any renovations made to roofs of existing buildings where more than 50 percent or 500 square feet is being replaced. Exemptions include green roofs, roof sections covered with mechanical equipment, or roofs made with glass, clay, wood, or slate.
Taking effect immediately, the second bill changes the code to allow rooftop solar thermal and solar PV installations to be excluded from a building’s height requirement. The Executive Director of the Urban Green Council, the group behind the proposals, said that several building owners have been unable to install rooftop solar systems because the systems often count as another floor. The third bill, also taking effect immediately, adds heat and power systems to the list of legal rooftop structures.
The regulations may not seem like a significant difference, but they are steps toward a much greener, more sustainable building code. Plus, they make it easier for building owners to install rooftop renewable energy systems. Including the new rules, the City Council has already implemented 20 of the 111 proposed changes.
Via Crain’s New York