The Real Deal New York

City finally getting tough on enforcing energy code

So far, nine out of 10 audited architectural plans fall short of sustainability requirements
August 18, 2014 01:00PM

Of the architectural plans for new and renovated office and residential buildings submitted to the city’s Department of Buildings, one out of every 10 meets the energy code, according to an audit that began earlier this year.

Though the sustainability standards in question have been in place for more than 30 years, they are only now being stringently enforced, according to Crain’s. In some cases, the DOB is even stopping projects that fall outside the requirements. So far, the team has audited more than 1,200 applications, and plans to eventually quadruple that number.

“We’re very serious about this, and are trying to educate the industry on what is required,” Gina Bocra, chief sustainability officer at the DOB, which set up a permanent audit eight months ago, told Crain’s. “Buildings are the largest source of energy consumption in our city, and how we conserve energy is key to making progress on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Some developers are already fretting about the crackdown, expressing concerns about the costs of compliance in terms of both time and money. Additional building code measures also loom in the near future, fanning the worried flames.

“The energy code can be an effective way to increase efficiency if it remains flexible, but the more mandatory and prescriptive any code is, the more difficult it is to build a building that complies — particularly in New York City,” Angela Pinsky, senior vice president of management services and government affairs with the Real Estate Board of New York, which is consulting with the city on the code changes, told Crain’s. [Crain’s] Julie Strickland