Green Buildings

In 2009, CHPC established a standing committee to examine issues around green building construction and retrofitting.

We are focusing on four main priorities for the committee’s work: 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.

You can read our latest work on the sustainability and energy efficiency of buildings here:

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Advances in Green Housing



Last summer CHPC released the All Green Buildings Great and Small study, which identified barriers to implementing energy efficiency improvements in small and midsize buildings. Shortly thereafter we held a roundtable with industry experts and government actors to discuss some of our findings and recommendations. Since the roundtable, CHPC has continued to work with government agencies to find ways to encourage energy efficiency retrofits in small and midsize buildings:

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Green Building Roundtable: Sustainable Innovation

Last Tuesday, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, CHPC hosted a roundtable focusing on the demographic of small to mid size building owners. In our report, All Buildings Great and Small, we discovered that this group of building owners often does not take advantage of programs aimed at creating more sustainable housing stock.


There were nearly twenty participants seated around the table. Click here for a list of the participants. We brought together city planners, utility representatives, industry experts, and building owners to share ideas and build a stronger vision of what a green future looks like for all …

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All Green Buildings Great and Small



By Ilene Popkin, Senior Fellow


Over the last year, we have conducted a wide-ranging industry study looking at the efficacy of the current energy efficiency programs for New York City’s rental housing stock.

CHPC’s Green Building Committee – comprising industry leaders in architecture, development, planning, finance, and engineering – agreed that there are many good programs and talented practitioners with substantial technical expertise working to make greener and more sustainable housing stock a reality. But they shared a concern that owners of small to mid-size buildings (5-49 units) were failing to …

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Roundtable Discussion: All Green Buildings Great and Small


CHPC will be hosting a round table discussion with industry professionals designed to help policymakers improve the coordination of existing programs and identify what policies are missing that new programs should address.

Using our report, All Green Buildings Great and Small as a starting point, the round table will explore what barriers limit building owners from taking advantage of all available resources and knowledge. The timing of the event couldn’t be better.. With the release of his plan to reduce New York City’s green house emissions,Built to Last, Mayor DeBlasio, has draw national attention to the question

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Steering the New Course: policy ideas for the new administration


CHPC’s Ideas for Housing and Land Use Policy in New York City

With so much political change in New York this year, we felt that it was important to set out our suggestions and priorities for housing and land use policy based on all of CHPC’s work over recent years. We always aim to be a resource for decision-makers inside and outside of government – to help them to understand NYC’s most pressing housing and neighborhood issues, think through the real impact of policy on the three-dimensional built environment, and map out realistic policy steps for …

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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 …

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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 …

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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!

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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 …

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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
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