Green Building Bills Hearing: Friday, June 26

June 15, 2009

This hearing has been moved to Friday June 26 at 10 AM.

On Earth Day 2009, the City announced a package of four bills mandating energy efficiency upgrades for a large percentage of the city’s structures. The New York City Council is holding a hearing on these bills on Friday, June 19 at 10am. These are important bills – both in their scope and content. We encourage you to read up on the proposals, and if you have an opinion, go to the hearing, participate, and testify. Public input absolutely impacts the final form of these bills, and the committee stage is where the major revisions will take place.

A more thorough description of the bills is below, but in short, this legislation would:

  • Create a New York City Energy Code that existing buildings will have to meet whenever they undergo renovations;
  • Require buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to conduct an energy audit once every ten years and make any improvements that pay for themselves within five years;
  • Require commercial buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to upgrade their lighting to more energy-efficient systems that pay for themselves through energy savings;
  • Require buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to make an annual benchmark analysis of energy consumption so building owners can better understand what steps they can take to increase efficiency

City officials argue that these requirements will ultimately generate 2,000 new jobs in energy auditing and related fields, temporary construction jobs, and save property owners roughly $750 million annually in energy costs. Beginning in 2013, the 22,000 buildings of over 50,000 square feet in the city will be impacted – nearly half of the built square footage of the City.

Public hearings are just that, open to the public. The Environmental Protection Committee meets Friday, June 19, at 10:00 AM in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Here are the directions. Generally, a panel of industry leaders and organizations will testify on the legislation to the committee first. Then members of the public simply sign up to testify – first come, first serve. It is a simple process.

The committee is chaired by Councilmember James F. Gennaro (Queens), and the committee members are Councilmembers Bill de Blasio, Elizabeth Crowley,
Mathieu Eugene,
Oliver Koppell,
Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Erik Ulrich, Peter F. Vallone, Jr., and Thomas White, Jr.

You can read the City’s Earth Day press release, or look at further analysis, including who is supporting the package and who is not, from the Sallan Foundation, the New York Times, the Gotham Gazette, CoStar, and Business Green.

A more detailed summary of each bill, along with a link to the original text from which the summary was sourced, after the jump!

Int. No. 967 – Audits, Retro-Commissioning, and Retrofits
Prime Sponsor: Gennaro
Co-Sponsors: Brewer, Comrie, Dickens, Fidler, Garodnick, Gioia, James, Koppell, Lappin, Martinez, Mitchell, Palma, Recchia Jr., Reyna, Rivera, Stewart Weprin, Nelson, Liu, Yassky, Sears,White

Intent
To require owners of buildings of 50,000 gross square feet or more to make cost effective energy efficiency improvements to their buildings once every 10 years.

Who’s Regulated
Owners of all classes of private buildings and city-owned buildings over 50,000 gross square feet.

Requirements
Owners must implement an energy audit for their building, performed or supervised by DOB defined energy professional. Audits will must be a level II audit as defined by ASHRAE, and focus on central building systems that use consumer or impact energy in common spaces or that supply or distribute heat, cooling, to spaces where energy bills are paid by the owner only: HVAC systems, the exterior envelope, etc.

The audit report must include a listing and cost and energy saving estimates of all reasonable retro-commissioning and retrofit measures available to the owner, a list of all reasonable retro-commissioning and retrofit measures available to the owner with a simple payback of not more than 5 years, at the option of the owner, a list of retro-commissioning and retrofit measures that when combined equal or exceed the overall reduction in energy consumption of all the retrofit and retro-commissioning measures with a simple payback of not more than 5 years. Costs associated with complying with landmarked building laws must also be included.

Owners must perform all retro-commissioning and retrofit measures identified in the audit report as having the acceptable payback periods listed above, prior to the date on which such building’s energy efficiency report is filed.

Energy efficiency reports must be submitted, which shall include (i) the energy audit report (ii) copies of approved construction documents for all required retro-commissioning and retro-fit work, (iii) sign-offs that any required work has been completed, (iv) substantiation of post audit computations of cost and simple payback in a manner to be provided in the rules of the department, and (v) other information relating to energy consumption required by the department.   Where an energy audit, retro-commissioning and retrofit are not required, such report shall include (i) substantiation that the covered building complies with such exception in a manner to be provided in the rules of the department and (ii) other information relating to energy consumption required by the department.

Exceptions/ Extensions
Audits and retrofits can be avoided if (i) energy modeling and comparisons to actual consumption can show efficiency equal or above equivalent code compliant building, (ii) buildings that have received the EPA Energy Star label for at least two of the three years preceding the building’s energy efficiency report, or if (iii) the building has been LEED for Existing Buildings Certified within two years of the filing of the building’s energy efficiency report. Only energy efficiency reports will be required in these cases.

Retro-Commissioning can be avoided where the owner determines post audit, that the actual cost of one or more of the retro-commissioning or retrofit measures may exceed the estimates set forth in the audit by more than 20% and that the simple payback for such measure or measures may exceed 7 years.

Extensions can be granted for good-faith efforts that cannot be completed on time, or buildings that are “financially distressed” by meeting quantitative thresholds (arrears on property taxes or water charges) or that participates in a city-managed financial assistance program.

Effective Date
Immediately, however energy efficiency reports would not required before December 31, 2013.

Int. No. 973 – Lighting
Prime Sponsor: Recchia, Jr.,
Co-Sponsors: Comrie, Dickens, Fidler, Garodnick, Gioia, James, Lappin, Martinez, Mitchell, Nelson, Reyna, Rivera, Stewart, Liu, Yassky, Sears, White

Intent
Requires the upgrade of lighting systems to meet the specific energy efficiency requirements.

Who’s Regulated
Commercial buildings over 50,000 gross square feet.

Requirements
Between July 1, 2010 and December 21, 2022, upgrades of lighting system within tenant spaces are required, whenever there is a renovation project of any kind, regardless of whether such renovation project would otherwise involve electrical work. The lighting system must be upgraded to comply with the standards for new systems set forth in section 805 of the New York city energy conservation code or ASHRAE/ IESNA 90.1 as referenced in Chapter 10 of such energy code. A “Tenant Spaces” is defined as “a suite of offices, mercantile space or other contiguous space classified within occupancy group B and/or M that is let or sublet by the owner of the covered building or a lessee of such space to another person.”

Before December 31, 2022, upgrades of lighting systems are required of the lighting system of the entire building (except in dwelling units classified within occupancy groups R-2 or R-3), including exterior lighting.

Exceptions
Exceptions for the first portion include (i) if the estimated cost of the renovation project, not including the estimated cost of upgrading the lighting system, is less than $50,000, (ii) if the renovation project is confined closed room, only the lighting system within the boundaries of such confined space shall be required to be upgraded.

Further, for both the first and second portion, no upgrade is required for elements of the lighting system that are in compliance with the standards of the New York city energy conservation code for new systems as in effect on or after July 1, 2010, or lighting power densities in closed rooms that are in compliance with the standards of the New York city energy conservation code for new systems as in effect on or after July 1, 2010.

Effective Date
July 1, 2010

Int. No. 476-A – Benchmarking
Prime Sponsors: Mark-Viverito, Recchia Jr.
Co-Sponsors: Avella, Brewer, Fidler, Gentile, James, Liu, Martinez, Nelson, Seabrook, Weprin, White Jr., Garodnick, Lappin, Yassky, Sears

Intent
Requires the annual benchmarking of the energy and water efficiency of larger buildings in New York City.

Who’s Regulated
City-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet, and private buildings over 50,000 square feet classified primarily in occupancy groups M (mercantile), F (factory and industrial), B (business), E (educational), I (institutional) or R (residential), including condos and co-ops.

Requirements
Buildings would annually energy benchmark for the previous calendar year using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager and provide the results to the Department of Buildings by July 1 2010, and every May 1 thereafter on the energy and water performance of the building.

Tenants would be required to provide relevant information to owners upon request.

Benchmarking information will be available on a public website no later than September 1, 2011 for City buildings and September 1, 2012 for private buildings, and September 1, 2013 for residential buildings, including the energy utilization index, carbon dioxide emissions per square foot, water use per square foot, comparisons to similar buildings, and annual comparisons within a building. Information on buildings’ whose use is primarily residential will not be disclosed.

Exceptions/ Exemptions
City buildings do not include buildings for which the City is only a tenant and does not pay the energy bills, city-owned buildings that participate in the tenant interim lease apartment purchase program, and buildings owned by the city of 50,000 square feet or less that participates in a program administered by the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD).

Rules for private data centers, television studios, and trading floors are yet to be developed.

Effective Date
Immediately

Int. No. 564-A – NYC Energy Conservation Code – NYCECC
Prime Sponsor: Garodnick
Co-Sponsors: Brewer, Fidler, Gonzalez, James, Koppell, Martinez, Sanders Jr., Seabrook, Weprin, White Jr., Gerson, Lappin, Yassky, Recchia Jr., Sears

Intent
Establishes the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC). The New York State Energy Conservation Code sets standards for the energy performance of buildings. For existing buildings, the current code only applies when an alteration leads to the replacement of at least 50% of a building’s system or subsystem. Thus, there are no energy efficiency requirements for many renovation projects of a lesser magnitude or lower threshold. As a result of this loophole, New York City does not reap the benefits of energy improvements of improvements that do not meet the 50% threshold. State Law, however, permits municipalities to adopt their own, stronger codes. This legislation would create a City code without the 50% exclusion rule.

This legislation authorizes the creation of the NYCECC, and establishes an advisory committee of design professionals, construction professionals, environmental advocates, labor organizations, and real estate professionals to formulate the details of the code.

Effective Date
January 1, 2010

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