NYC Policy Update – April 2011

April 17, 2011

Spring is in the air, which has seemingly resulted in a lot of announcements from City Hall.  Info on free rain barrels from the DEP, green commercials leases, water leak notifications, green roof legislation, greening historic properties, and a study on the City’s green policy, all after the jump! NYC DEP Free Rain Barrel Giveaway The NYC DEP has launched the Rain Barrel Giveaway Program to alleviate pressure on the City’s sewer system and help residents recycle rainwater.   The barrels are 55 gallons, and are available on a first come, first serve basis.  Check out the pickup dates and more info on the program here. First Green Commercial Lease Signed Downtown On April 5th, WilmerHale signed a green commercial lease for 7 World Trade Center – the first to incorporate energy efficiency language crafted by an industry round table working with the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and language developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Green Lease Forum.  The lease changes the way in which savings for energy efficiency capital improvements are calculated, incentivizing upgrades for owners and tenants. Check out the City’s press release here. New City Proactive Water Leak Notifications In March, the NYC DEP announced a program to proactively send notifications to homeowners warning that their water usage has spiked – which could mean a water leak.  Quick action can save money, and water, before the problem gets worse.  More information on the program is available here. New Green Roof Legislation Signed Earlier this month the City Council passed three laws related to green roofs.  Two of the bills reduce red tape for the installation of green roofs, and a third bill related to equipment for combined heat and power.  These are three more examples of the legislative accomplishments of the NYC Green Codes Task Force – please read more here. MAS Announces Landmarked Building Energy Demonstration Project The Municipal Art Society has launched an Energy Demonstration project on the headquarters of the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side.  A range of organizations are involved, with a goal of reducing energy usage by 25%, and the development of guidelines on improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings in conjunction with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.  This is a great effort to show that aesthetics, historic significance, and energy efficiency are not mutually exclusive.  Read about the effort here. CBC Reports on NYC’s Green Policies The Citizen’s Budget Commission (CBC) has released a report on the City’s green policies and how they relate to urban competitiveness, not just their impact on sustainability.  The report considers indicators of the City’s environmental quality, guidelines to clarify municipal decision-making, and recommendations for increasing competitiveness in relation to sustainability policy.  This is my kind of report.  The full report is available here. Let’s hope we see similar news this summer.