New York Odds
So if you have been reading DEBlog over the past month, you know I have been taking the mayor of the Empire States’ largest city to task for indiscriminate attacks on glass. You can read about them here and here. My concern only grows stronger, however, after having read the whole proposed Amendment to the City Charter and Administrative Code.
Please note first and on an important symbolic level, nowhere in the amendment is the word “glass” actually mentioned. That’s right. For all the verbal daggers sent its way, glass as a material is no different than any other material in the amendment. But a review of the entire document leads me to wonder if it is anything beyond show. Here’s why:
- The proposed amendment creates an office of building energy and emissions performance (let’s call it BEEP) to oversee the implementation of laws and policies for existing buildings, new construction and renovation. Oh, and it’s supposed to establish a way to assess annual energy usage in buildings and monitor them.
- Once this is all established, building owners are going to have to submit annual emissions assessments to BEEP through an online portal. And BEEP will audit those emission assessments, inspect buildings and determine penalties for non-compliance.
- There are penalties if you don’t file the report, equal to 50 cents per month per gross square feet of floor space.
- Determine non-compliance with what regulations exactly you might ask? We don’t know that yet either. BEEP is responsible for figuring that out too—they have to deliver a report to the mayor by January 1, 2023 with their plan, methodology, recommendations and more. The report is also to include a reference guide that delineates the responsibilities of “the building designer and owners” to comply with emissions.
- We know only that the goal is a 30% (or 40% as it says two different things in two different places) reduction in citywide emissions by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
- What’s covered? Buildings with more than 25,000 square feet of space or two or more buildings in the same tax lot that exceed 50,000 square feet.
7. But check out these exempted buildings: industrial facilities generating electricity or steam, property that is three stories or less where each unit owner controls their own HVAC system; city buildings, buildings owned by housing developments, city housing authorities or housing development fund companies; rent-controlled buildings and all buildings owned by religious entities. Also exempt are buildings in arrears on property taxes or exempted from taxes all together and buildings with liens against them. I have to ask how serious the commitment is when so many different categories of building are exempted.
- No legislation would be complete without an advisory board and this one is no exception. It calls for a 16-member board comprised of a chairperson and eight members appointed by the mayor and eight by the speaker of the council.
- The amendment also calls for 13 prescriptive energy conservation measures. Of the 13, ten pertain to heating, hot water, boiler and steam controls, one deals with lighting and one with exhaust fans. Only one overlaps with our industry. Number 11 requires “weatherization and air sealing where appropriate, including windows and ductwork, with a focus on whole-building insulation.”
Though the proposed amendment is short on actual arrows shot toward glass, the public relations blitz is aimed squarely at a glass target. In this day and age, perception often becomes reality.
So what do you think of the legislation? What are the odds?
Some Happy News
Just wanted to also share some happy news here from KMR as our team gathered last week to celebrate the impending birth of Tammy and Nick St. Denis’s first child. We are so excited for them as they get ready to welcome their son into the world in July!