New York City Adopts Aggressive New Building Energy Codes

New York City

On Feb. 27, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced the passage of the 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code, following the successful vote in the New York City Council.

The new code provides a new benchmark of sustainability and energy efficiency for all construction in the five boroughs. It goes into effect May 12, 2020.

The foundation of the new code is the 2020 New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NYStretch Energy Code, a model energy code that provides additional energy savings over the New York State Energy Code.

“Our new city energy code goes even further, with additional energy efficiency requirements that are unique to New York City and our unique urban environment,” said the mayor’s office in a press release.

The code has a dozen major features, seven of which directly or indirectly impact electrical work. These seven are:

  • Meet minimum energy efficiency requirements for heating and cooling systems
  • Require more efficient interior lighting and additional lighting controls
  • Perform commissioning on more HVAC alteration projects
  • Require efficiency measures on new elevators and commercial kitchen equipment
  • Require the infrastructure for the future installation of electric vehicle chargers in one- and two-family homes
  • Require whole building metering for new buildings greater than 25,000 square feet
  • Allow source energy as a metric, instead of energy cost, for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling.

The other five relate to building thermal envelopes, sealing building envelopes to control air leakage, requiring insulation on balconies and parapets, identifying thermal bridging elements and requiring additional thermal envelope requirements for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling.

“Our new energy code will ensure that buildings⁠—our city’s biggest polluters⁠—are held to the highest standard of sustainability and efficiency,” de Blasio said.

Support for the new code came from several outside sources, including the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York and the American Institute of Architects New York.

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