New York City Local Law 86

Introduced in 2005 by The Speaker (Council Member Miller) and Council Members Gennaro, Brewer, Clarke, Fidler, Gerson, Gioia, James, Koppell, Liu, Martinez, Nelson, Recchia, Sanders, Stewart, Weprin, Gonzalez, Yassky, Moskowitz, Reyna, Foster, Perkins, McMahon, Addabbo Jr., Monserrate, Gentile, DeBlasio, Baez, Palma, Katz, Avella, Reed, Jackson, Vallone, Jr., Quinn, Rivera, Barron, Lopez, Arroyo, Sears and The Public Advocate (Ms. Gotbaum).

To amend the New York city charter, in relation to green building standards for certain capital projects.

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Statement of findings and purpose. Probably no urban activity has greater impact on human health and the environment than building construction and use. Enormous quantities of resources are used during building construction, renovation and operation, and the production of these resources has substantial environmental impacts. It is estimated that 40% of raw materials consumed globally are used for buildings. In addition, in the United States, commercial and residential buildings are responsible for approximately 65% of electricity consumption, 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, 12% of potable water use and 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste annually. Also, many indoor building materials release hazardous toxins, impairing indoor air quality and reducing occupant health and productivity.

Since most of New York City’s electricity is produced within the City and many buildings use oil or natural gas for their heating and hot water, energy consumption in building operation translates into greater local pollution, including emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and mercury. These pollutants contribute to respiratory disease, heart disease, smog, acid rain, and climate change. Moreover, as energy demand rises, so does our reliance on dirty, inefficient power plants, as well as the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and natural gas.

Modern architects and engineers can reduce the health and environmental impacts of buildings by designing “high-performance buildings” or “green buildings.” The United States Green Building Council, the nation’s foremost coalition of real estate and environmental organizations working to promote green buildings, has developed a green building rating system known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Buildings receive LEED certification if their designs score sufficient "points" in five general design areas including siting, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. Read more