By: Gregory J. Spaun Published: January 2010

On December 28, 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed comprehensive legislation dubbed the "Greener, Greater Buildings Plan."

On December 28, 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed comprehensive legislation dubbed the "Greener, Greater Buildings Plan." The purpose of this legislation is to reduce New York City's carbon footprint by five percent. In the first of this three part series, we will discuss several important provisions of the new New York City Energy Conservation Code (the NYCECC), and what it means to property owners and builders.  

The enactment of the NYCECC is intended to close what was perceived to be a loophole in the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (the State Code), adopted in 2007. The State Code applies only to new construction and renovation work where more than half of a building's system of subsystems were replaced. Thus, everything from simple remodeling work to extensive renovations and additions (provided that the new work used more than half of the building's existing systems) were exempted from compliance with the State Code. As a result of the enactment of the NYCECC, now any construction which requires a building permit including residential construction must be analyzed for energy efficiency to the standards set forth under the State Code.  

In order to comply with the NYCECC, an applicant for a building permit must have the lead design professional submit three items along with the permit application: 1) a statement that to the best of [the design professional's] knowledge, belief and professional judgment; [the plans and specifications submitted] are in compliance with the NYCECC, or that the project is exempt from its requirements; 2) the results of an energy analysis (which must include the building's envelope, its service water heating, lighting and power systems, and its mechanical systems) comparing the proposed project to the requirements of the NYCECC and setting forth how the project meets the NYCECC requirments; and 3) construction drawings which demonstrate conformance with the NYCECC. It is important to note that this submission is an ongoing process. The analysis and construction documents must be updated to account for any substitutions and changes made during the course of construction.  

This Legal Alert is supplied for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should consult competent legal counsel depending on the specific issues of your matter.  

1 Consult Real Property Tax Law § 1802(1) (Class One) for a full definition of exempt property.  

2 “Energy” is defined as electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and steam.  

3 With some exceptions, a “city building” is a building that is more than 10,000 square feet that is owned by the city or for which the city regularly pays all or part of the annual energy bills.   

4 Ratings generated by the benchmarking tool for a covered building that contains a data center, television studio, and/or trading floor that together exceed ten percent of the gross square footage of any such building shall not be disclosed until the office of long-term planning and sustainability determines that the benchmarking tool can make adequate adjustments for such facilities.  

5 Not applicable to separately-metered dwelling units.   

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