Greening the Knowledge Base: The Research Program at NYC DDC’s Office of Sustainable Design – March 15, 2006
March 15, 2006The March Green Building forum happily welcomed John Kriebel and Laurie Kerr of the Department of Design and Construction. The DDC is responsible for managing most of New York Cityâ€™s structure and infrastructure, and the purpose of the Office of Sustainable Design (OSD)is, as John put it, â€œto infiltrate the DDCâ€. John and Laurie aimed to research and define what the most reasonable, sustainable practices were for New York Cityâ€™s public projects. Since the DDC is involved in about 400 projects at one time, and Local Law 86 now requires that many new development projects achieve ambitious sustainability status, it was imperative that the city re-asses and update their practices. The outcome of their exhaustive research is the High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines. The agency set out on this impressive task for a few reasons. First, New York City is unique in that our developments are limited by our infrastructure, including water, energy, and sewer systems. Additionally, weâ€™re the largest US city, and while other locales have already taken the initiative towards becoming more sustainable, if New York raises the bar, then other regions are sure to follow. Our populationâ€™s health would benefit from more responsible design and materials, and on the fiscal end of the spectrum, by updating our infrastructure requirements to be more environmentally sound, we can expect a greater financial payback over the long term. For example, Laurie investigated the best way for the city to handle construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Over 60% of our cityâ€™s waste is of this nature, and 15,000 tons of C&D waste is shipped out to landfills across country every day. She compared data provided by other cities that already practice energy- and resource-saving strategies, and after calculating our numbers, a hierarchy of effective means for managing C&D waste was developed:
- 1) Reuse on site
- 2) Recycle onsite
- 3) Reuse offsite
- 4) Recycle offsite
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