Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Most new buildings are not energy efficient

From Crains:

Earlier this year, the city's Department of Buildings began auditing thousands of architectural plans for new and renovated office and residential buildings. The results have been staggering: nine of every 10 have failed to meet the energy code, a set of standards that have been on the books for more than 30 years but are only now being enforced in earnest.

In some cases, the Department of Buildings has even stopped nonconforming projects in their tracks.

"We're very serious about this, and are trying to educate the industry on what is required," said Gina Bocra, chief sustainability officer at the Department of Buildings, which set up a permanent audit unit about eight months ago. "Buildings are the largest source of energy consumption in our city, and how we conserve energy is key to making progress on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions."

As laudable as the motivation might be, some people are fretting about the potential costs of compliance in terms of time and money. Looming additions to the building code over the next year only fan the concerns.

Several changes already are under consideration, including a potential requirement for developers to purchase pricey sensors that regulate building systems depending on how many people are present, and another that might require rooms to be more airtight.

The new scrutiny might take some in the development community by surprise. The first energy code was set in place in the 1970s. Subsequently, the city passed its own version but rarely enforced it.

But make no mistake: Flouting the energy code now carries serious risks for developers. The department is drawing up new fines and regulations that will apply specifically to the code.

In a handful of cases, building inspectors have issued stop-work orders at construction sites. And in at least one instance, a random tip called into the department resulted in a developer being investigated and fined for building a structure that was not up to sustainability standards, even though the property had already been occupied.


Anonymous said...

Good on DOB.

Anonymous said...

Not one oversized McMansion is energy efficient. It's just impossible to build them that way just because of their shear size.

We're Queens - We Can't Have Nice Things said...

Does anyone think that these Asians that destroy beautiful old homes in the middle of the night all over Flooshing give a rat's ass about building to code?

The city should just confiscate properties with major violations (e.g. complete tear-downs with a modification permit) - that would sent the appropriate message - everything else is just absolute total fucking bullshit!

Anonymous said...

Who the hell wants to be in an "airtight" room!

My late grandmother was one of those typical French women who always felt a 'draft' and had her apartment so sealed=up that I swear the air did not change between October and and May when the windows finally opened.

A block away on Fifth ave @ 79th st is a 1966 hi-rise with sealed windows.

If the central AC fails or power goes out, the place is unlivable.

Anonymous said...

A step in the right direction, but are the fines substantial enough to make people rethink this? Or will they just write them off as "the cost of doing business"?

Anonymous said...

take a good look on queens boulevard with all the empty apartments -- these are brand new -- not one is rented -- all of them have building code violations so they can not rent them at all -- Queens Boulevard is a mess with all of these ugly buildings --- the Asians could care less about building codes, etc. --