By Abigail Knopps
As new environmental policies and sustainability standards for construction are implemented, it can be difficult to keep up with the seemingly ever-changing rules and regulations – even as sustainability efforts continue to grow within the industry.
While some states may be more lenient when it comes to environmental regulations, others may be stricter leading to confusion and fines if state standards are not achieved.
To aid in understanding the main differences, AMAST has created a series of articles focused on the most common green building policies across the many states AMAST is located in.
This first article will focus on implemented policies in New York State with a special focus on New York City.
Many improvements have been made in recent decades to reduce carbon emissions across the state. Between 1990 and 2016, New York saw a 13 percent reduction of emissions across the board. In fact, as of 2016, buildings only account for 30% percent of all greenhouse gases released in the state – sharp reduction from previous decades!
How did we get here?
Rather than overextend their resources, New York has chosen to focus the bulk of their resources on carbon reductions across all sectors. To do this, politicians at both the state and local level have introduced bills aimed at mitigating the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
New York City Climate Mobilization Act (New York City Int. 1253)
71% of greenhouse gas emissions released in New York city alone are attributed to buildings. The New York City Climate Mobilization Act seeks to cut emissions in buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.
Enacted in 2007 by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, PlaNYC is a strategic 30-year plan for making the city of New York greener and more resilient to the changing climate. By bringing together more than 25 city agencies, PlaNYC pools resources and expertise to determine the best course of action moving forward.
With a bold agenda, here is what PlaNYC was able to achieve by 2011:
Here is what PlaNYC was able to achieve by 2014 under Mayor Bill de Blasio:
In 2015, PlaNYC was renamed to OneNYC to account for poverty and income inequality. Here is what OneNYC was able to achieve by 2019:
Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act
Enacted in 2019 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act “establishes ambitious goals to reduce GHG emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels” across the state with the end goal of carbon neutrality.
There are two specific goals:
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