New Energy Code Means Big Efficiency Gains for City and State

On July 14, 2016, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of adopting the new york city energy conservation code ), which in the coming years will increase the efficiency of buildings in New York. The update represents a major step forward for the city to achieve 2050 carbon dioxide reduction targets. With planned energy savings compared to the current coding rate of nearly 9{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e} in commercial buildings and an impressive 32{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e} for residential buildings.1

The voting of the City Council follows the recent adoption by the state of a new energy code, the second update to the city and state codes in less than two years. When the code comes into force on October 3, New York will become only the sixth country in the country that meets the most current energy requirements for commercial and residential energy with a federal certificate. A few recent updates of national model codes have dramatically improved. NYCECC residential code update represents two coding cycles, from 2009 to 2015, as well as a few NYC-specific corrections, which explains a large jump by 32{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e}.
Improvements to the power code over time

Adapted from: ACEEE

Significant code improvements and short time from adoption to enforcement mean challenges for specialists in the construction industry. From October 3, just around the corner, architects, engineers and other specialists should look for courses such as Conquer the Code Urban Green and new GPRO homes to meet the latest requirements and gain the knowledge needed to design higher performance buildings in accordance with the codes. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to start an engineering consulting firm.

What are the key changes in the new NYCECC?

The biggest recipient of novelties in NYCECC may be a radical improvement in the structure of the building envelope in the low-growth residential sector. The status code requires increased insulation and proven leakproofness, while NYC-specific requirements will further improve insulation. Final score? Doubling of insulation on external walls, from R-13 to R-25, as well as requirement that at least part of wall insulation should be continuous – which means that thermal bridging, which is responsible for heat and powdery mildew losses, will be dramatically reduced. The new NYCECC introduces a new generation of well-designed and well-constructed low-rise residential buildings in New York.
The most important elements of the code

Commercial code

Provisions of the New York / New York State Code (also applicable to NYC)
Numerous improvements to the envelope of buildings, including insulation requirements for all lower walls and panels
Open fuel combustion devices must be located outside the thermal envelope of the building
Increased startup requirements, especially for lighting control
Additives specific to NYC
A breakthrough new requirement for air leak testing. Buildings with an area of ​​25,000 to 50,000 square feet must perform a blower door test, and buildings with an area of ​​over 50,000 square feet must examine or inspect any type of articulation or seam
Reducing the power density by 10{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e} in commercial and office buildings
Heat transfer in passive PTACs and air conditioners should now be included in energy calculations

The housing code

Provisions of the New York / New York State Code (also applicable to NYC)
Requirement for builders to test the blower door on new residential buildings to ensure maximum air leakage from three air changes per hour
Significant improvements to the envelope, for example increasing the wall insulation from R13 to R20 in the New York climate zone (Zone 4)
Increased high-efficiency lighting requirements from 50{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e} to 75{0aa6ff39f88f6874aa1314be06f6c24c81d3f2a8727f221ed543cd45c6c6423e}
A new compliance path based on the Energy Rating index, which evaluates buildings from 0 to 100 in relation to the 2006 code
Additives specific to NYC
Requirements for insulation from a more stringent climate zone (zone 6)
Requiring that new residential buildings be “ready for solar energy” with allocated space for panels

How big is the impact of the new NYCECC?

We have evaluated the impact on the next three-year coding cycle only for new designs because it is difficult to assess the update rate. In the last 15 years, the city has added an average of 32 million square meters of building space – about 2.5 times the campus of the University of Morningside at Columbia University – with about a quarter of what is covered by the housing code2. At this pace of the new construction, over the next three-year code cycle, estimated coal savings translate into approximately 70,000 metric tons – equivalent to the removal of approximately 15,000 vehicles from NYC roads.

Today’s vote in the City Council limits the months dedicated to the efforts of Gina Bocra and the Department of Buildings team who have expertly supervised NYCECC since the law was established. Urban Green, AIANY and