City likely to adopt zoning changes to encourage green construction

April 27, 2012 09:30AM

The city is getting set to alter zoning regulations to encourage environment-friendly building construction and renovation. The New York Times said the City Council is expected to approve changes next week that would permit developers to add eight inches of thickness to exterior walls that are excluded from the building’s footprint measure and add height and alter facades of certain buildings to allow for solar panels, green roofs and wind turbines.

The move falls in line with Mayor Bloomberg’s environmental initiative as 75 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. Because green retrofitting can be costly, the Department of City Planning said it was unsure how many developers would capitalize on the new regulations, although the reduced utility bills would be the greatest incentive. Four inches of insulation to exterior walls could save 10.5 percent on annual heating bills, according to the Urban Green Council.

Paul Freitag, director of development for Jonathan Rose Companies, said the biggest advantage to the new legislation would likely be the time it saves developers who seek variances for green features. [NYT]