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CHPC New York

Green Buildings


In 2009, CHPC established a standing committee to examine issues around green building construction and retrofitting. Since Mayor Bloomberg launched PlaNYC – a long-term sustainability plan for the city – there have been a number of new legislative initiatives designed to incentivize or require buildings to incorporate green features. CHPC’s Green Building Committee, chaired by Bill Stein, principal of Dattner Architects, has been examining and testifying on the proposed legislation.

Over the next two years, we will be focusing on a variety of ways to put forward four main priorities for our committee: to continue to raise awareness of regulatory obstacles to green construction; to offer clear information for the industry on the most effective construction methods for energy efficiency; to examine Best Practice from other cities, especially on green retrofitting; and to give advice on green financing that is available to developers and landlords.

The Moreland Commission Report

Recycle Building

On June 22nd 2013, the final report from the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response was released. We found the findings extremely useful and concise, and they support the conclusions that we have been revealing through our Green Building committee work.

As a starting point, the report reflects on the fact that “New York could – for the money that it is spending – do much better in providing these [energy efficiency] vital services”. It provides an overview of the obstacles and consequences as well as a series of recommendations in approaching energy efficiency in New York … Read more…

CHPC Goes to Coney Island!

On Tuesday, CHPC staff visited Coney Island to tour the nearly-complete Coney Island Commons  - the fantastic result of a collaboration between CHPC board members Andrea Kretchmer, Larry Hirschfield and William Stein. Coney Island Commons is a mixed-use affordable housing development anchored by a community center to be operated by the YMCA of Greater New York.

When complete, Coney Island Commons will provide the neighborhood with 195 high-quality residential units for rent to low and middle-income families. In an effort to address neighborhood disaster-recovery challenges, 39 of the 195 units have been specially reserved for those applicants who were displaced … Read more…

Green Housing Ideas in NYC: Encouraging Progress

Light bulb Earth

The good news is that it is getting easier to implement sustainable design in our built environment – and in particular for housing. For the last several years, CHPC has strongly advocated for the removal of regulatory barriers that discourage green development in New York City. Since CHPC issued our Top Ten Green Housing Ideas Discouraged in NYC, we have worked with the real estate community and with the responsible government agencies to support the necessary regulatory changes that now encourage—not discourage—green housing in NYC.

As the updates to our list show, CHPC is encouraging progress in NYC green housing. More can be done to increase the sustainability of our city and our housing stock, but it is indeed getting easier – and more cost effective – to be green!

Ten Green Housing Ideas Discouraged in NYC



a) It is actually illegal under the Multiple Dwelling Law for more than 3 unrelated people to share a housing unit

b) Multiple Dwelling Law, the Zoning Resolution and real estate tax exempt programs set out minimum floor areas per unit, which make it extremely difficult to design and build compact, flexible units.


ConEd does not allow excess energy created by sustainable energy technologies to be fed back into the grid. This discourages the creation of onsite power generation from fuel cells, micro-turbines or co-generation – which uses … Read more…

Policy Brief on Proposed City Council Green Building Legislation

At the end of 2010, the City Council put forward a number of legislative items that were related to green building construction. CHPC put together a summary of these numerous bills to inform our green building committee:

  • The Building Code will be amended so that rooftop structures, including greenhouses, will not be included in the height of the building, or considered an additional story, unless the aggregate area of the structure exceeds a third of the area of the roof (INT-0338);
  • Solar thermal and solar electric (photovoltaic) collectors and/or panels and their supporting equipment will now be considered rooftop structures
  • Read more…

Testimony on new DOB rules

In May 2010, the Department of Buildings proposed new rules regarding progress inspections for new construction and compliance with the NYC Energy Conservation Code. Our Green Building Committee analyzed the complication new rules and put forward our detailed recommendations on amended the proposed rules. Our testimony followed a similar theme for CHPC; there should be more focus on incentivizing green construction materials and processes rather than adding to the cost of construction for developers.

DOB Energy Code Comments by the Green Building Committee

Our committee has reviewed the proposed amendment and adoption of new rules related to the NYC Energy … Read more…