New York City Mandates all new Buildings Must go Green

New York City has passed a piece of legislation set to transform the skyline that is home to more than eight-million people. Earlier this week, the city passed a bill mandating that all new buildings are to be fitted with either solar panels, plants or wind turbines; or a combination of all three.

Known as the Climate Mobilization Act, the legislation is aiming to curb the city’s overall environmental impact, and is said to be the equivalent of taking more than one million cars off the road by 2030; hoping to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

“Today, we are passing a bill that won’t just make our skyline prettier - it will also improve the quality of life for generations to come,” Rafael Espinal, NYC Council Member and main sponsor of the bill said.

The bill has taken inspiration from other North American cities like San Francisco, Denver, Portland and Toronto, who have already mandated that all new residential and commercial buildings are to be fitted with renewable technology and/or a green space for vegetation.

“We’ve already seen the revolutionary benefits of green roofs in action thanks to place around the city like Brooklyn Steel, the Barclay’s Center, the Javits Center, the USPS Morgan Processing and Distributing Center, and many others.”

“They cool down cities by mitigating the urban heat island effect, cut energy costs, absorb air pollution, reduce stormwater runoff, promote biodiversity, provide soundproofing, and make our cities more livable for all.”

As Jennifer Pattison Tuohy writes, "vegetated roofs reduce the urban heat island effect, as the plants absorb light that would otherwise become heat energy. By mitigating heat gain, green roofs can help reduce demand on power plants and even reduce energy use inside buildings."

According to Dwell, “research published by the National Research Council of Canada found that an extensive green roof can cut a building’s daily energy demand for air conditioning by 75 percent.”

Council member Costa Constantinides said that “the climate mobilization act is a downpayment on the future of New York City- one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change.”

New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio has signalled his support for the bill, which complements his OneNYC 2050 plan, which aims to slash the city’s emissions by 40% in the coming ten years. Included in the plan are measures to ban all-glass facades, which magnify and trap heat in the city, as well as the introduction of congestion charges on Manhattan Island.

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