Round-up: green codes, NYC bills, fate of trash

July 18, 2009

In todays NYT

In today's NYT

Those of you who attended Wednesday’s forum on the role of building codes on green building will want to check out the piece on the green codes around the country in today’s New York Times. According to the graphic accompanying the article, New York State’s building energy code is only middling “green” – 23 States have more stringent energy codes, including California, the only State to meet the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Keep in mind that in New York City, even our middling State energy conservation code is inconsistently applied: the current code only applies when an alteration leads to the replacement of at least 50% of a building’s system or subsystem, a situation that one of the bills in the proposed four-bill green building package would address. Check out the notes from last month’s green bills hearing at the Sallan Foundation blog. Other items for your weekend reading: LEED 3.0 provision for decertification: One of the innovations in LEED 3.0 is the required post-occupancy verification, the lack of which was considered by many critics to be a key flaw in the previous versions of LEED.  The accompaying “stick” to the the requirement is that USGBC may decertifiy and revoke the LEED status of a building for non-compliance – catch up on what the green building law bloggers have to say about this topic via a great summary on the “Best Practices Construction Law” blog. Where does NYC’s trash go? We’ll soon find out, thanks to a project called Trash Track from the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. They’ve designed an electronic tag that can be attached to pieces of trash to follow them as they make their way through the sanitation system. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the exhibit at the  Architectural League scheduled for September, following the progress of the project on the Trash Blog, and learning about smarter waste management at the August green building monthly forum. Hardening softwood: This week’s highlights two companies in Europe that have figured out how to make softwood durable enough to substitute for hardwood, thus potentially alleviating logging pressures on tropical forests. Given the City’s appetite for tropical hardwoods for applications like boardwalks and other public infrastructure, alternatives to using tropical hardwoods are very important — maybe we’ll see some of these “hard” softwoods on this side of the Atlantic in the near future! Finally, if you’re involved in a green building project with volunteer labor, you’ll want to check out the Home Depot Foundation’s Building Healthy Communities Grant Program: Grants, up to $2,500, are now available to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public schools or tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. who are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community.  Grants are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase or tools or materials.