Green Bureaucracy: In Two Years, City Has Passed 25 Percent of Its Sustainable Building Bills

Green giant. (AP/NYM)

The current mild winter, without the habitual annoyance of your feet tracking  snow all over the apartment, could excuse some hard-nosed New Yorkers for not giving two hoots about global warming.

However today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that 29 recommendations aimed at making the city’s buildings more sustainable have been drafted into law. Eight more recommendations are currently being codified.

The initial green building report–commissioned by the Mayor’s office–was published all of two years ago by the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit whose goal is to lead sustainable urban design. The report contained 111 recommendations. The city claims that the implementation of the new laws will reduce those pesky greenhouse emissions by 5 percent citywide, making for a $400 million saving by the year 2030.

It is all part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC sustainability initiative. “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,” the mayor said in a statement.

Some of the laws include no use of artificial lighting where natural lighting is efficient, water fountains instead of vending machines and white roofs that reflect the suns heat, instead of those nasty heat gathering black ones. The city is also working on removing old red tape that used to impede green design.

“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,” Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said.

Challenges remain. With only two years left for the administration and the current council class, how many more of these initiatives will be passed? After all, much of what has been tackled so far is the low-hanging fruit—CFLs, anyone?—meaning that the road ahead will be a little rougher.

Green Bureaucracy: In Two Years, City Has Passed 25 Percent of Its Sustainable Building Bills