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PR- 041-12
February 2, 2012


New Report Celebrates City’s Rapid Progress Just Two Years After Building Code Recommendations Were Made

Innovative Policies Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 5 Percent and Save $400 Million by 2030 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today announced that newly-adopted green building codes are putting the City on track to meet PlaNYC’s goal to lower carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste. In a report released today, the Urban Green Council celebrated the City’s progress in quickly codifying the recommendations on building construction and renovation, which were first proposed two years ago this month. Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn convened a task force to outline steps the City should take to mitigate the impact buildings have on a sustainable future. Buildings account for 75 percent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 95 percent of total electrical consumption. According to the report, the adoption of 29 recommendations will divert 100,000 tons of asphalt from landfills each year; reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide by 5 percent; lower the costs of lighting energy by 10 percent; and provide $400 million in savings by 2030.

“When we launched PlaNYC five years ago, we put forward a bold vision to make our City more sustainable, and meeting those goals is now a part of how our city develops,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The forward-thinking proposals enacted in the last two years will benefit buildings that make up this City, and the people who inhabit them. I look forward to working with the Speaker’s Office and the Urban Green Council to continue our work to build a greener, greater New York.”

“We're well on our way to making New York the greenest City in America. The legislation passed in the Council over the past two years to green our City’s codes will help us achieve the vision laid out in PlaNYC for a more sustainable New York,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The plan will move us closer to our goal of greenhouse emission reduction, and it addresses the growing concern New Yorkers face about environmental impact in the five boroughs. The Council looks forward to continue to partner with the Bloomberg administration and Urban Green Council on future initiatives.”

“The extraordinary story here is one of alignment – between the Mayor and Speaker, and between government, industry and nonprofits – and small steps adding up to big ones,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “The code changes help maintain a healthy business environment by lowering energy costs, in addition to saving money and resources for all New Yorkers. They enforce the city's position as a thought leader and keep it at the forefront of major growth industries: energy efficiency and green building.”

“Greening the Big Apple will improve our quality of life for generations to come, but all of us must do our part to make sure that happens – including government,” said Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri. “Today’s report shows that the City’s hard work is paying off. We have been working closely with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn’s Office and the Urban Green Council to implement the goals set forth by PlaNYC and amend the construction codes to encourage innovative ideas such as using daylight to illuminate public spaces and allowing water to be reused in building operations. These simple changes are just the beginning of making our buildings more environmentally friendly and making New York one of the world’s greenest cities.”

“The successful implementation of 29 recommendations of the Green Codes Task Force is but the latest milestone on New York City’s journey to be the world leader in urban environmental sustainability,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro. “I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for creating the Green Codes Task Force and for their relentless commitment to fulfilling the vision of PlaNYC. I thank Urban Green and the Green Codes Task Force for their great work, and as Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, I pledge to do all I can to assist the Mayor and the Speaker in implementing the remainder of the Task Force recommendations.”

Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn convened the NYC Green Codes Task Force to examine how to mitigate the impact of building construction and renovation. In February 2010, the Task Force, led by the Urban Green Council, proposed 111 recommendations to address a variety of issues, including carbon emission rates, public health and safety, and unnecessary costs associated with wasted energy and other resources. In the two years since that report, the Mayor’s Office and City Council have made 29 of those recommendations law, and are currently working to codify 8 others.

The Urban Green Council report celebrated the City’s progress in adopting the 29 codes, and calculated their impressive impact, including: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent; lowering the energy costs for lighting by 10 percent; saving 30 billion gallons of water through better plumbing regulations; treating 15 million gallons of toxic construction water; recycling 100,000 tons of asphalt; and saving $400 million in overall energy costs – all by 2030.  These improvements are critical to achieving the energy, emissions and quality of life milestones set by PlaNYC.

Mayor Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC in 2007 to build a sustainable City that could meet the needs of a growing population, support a competitive economy, combat climate change and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Since then, the City has reached impressive milestones, such as the planting of 500,000 trees, construction of new parks, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Mayor released an update to PlaNYC in 2011, setting 132 new initiatives and 400 new milestones to meet by December 31, 2013.

Urban Green Council, the U.S. Green Building Council of New York, is a leader in sustainability education, policy development and research. Signature programs include technical workshops, in-depth conferences, and specialized programming for a range of building and real estate professionals, including GPRO, green construction skills training for trades and contractors. With its in-house technical staff and network of expert members and pro bono consultants, Urban Green Council is also a center for policy development, leading the NYC Green Codes Task Force and assisting with New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. More information can be found at


Stu Loeser / Lauren Passalacqua   (212) 788-2958

Ami Cholia (Speaker’s Office)   (212) 788-7116

Russell Unger (The Urban Green Council)   (646) 670-2595


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