New York City Department of Buildings
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy, Commercial Energy Efficiency
New York, NY
In her work for the Department of Buildings, Emily Lamon developed construction code recommendations to reduce energy use and advocate for the decarbonization of New York City buildings.
New York City is striving to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions of 80% by 2050. Meeting this goal is closely tied to the success of Local Law 97, an innovative law passed by NYC in 2019 to establish carbon emission limits from new and existing buildings.
The Department of Buildings recognized that the city’s construction codes need to be updated to support their citywide sustainability goals. To begin this process, the DOB engaged Emily Lamon to develop recommendations to be considered for adoption during the upcoming code cycle to further align NYC building codes with carbon reduction goals.
Lamon conducted a review of the New York City 2014 Construction Code and 2020 Energy Conservation Code. For a point of comparison, she also reviewed the codes of other progressive state and local governments, including Seattle’s Energy Code, Boulder’s Energy Conservation Code, and California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.
Lamon evaluated code language and developed a report to summarize findings. This work allowed Lamon to advocate for specific code provisions to be included in the next version of the NYC Energy Conservation Code. Recommendations were made to add new code provisions and expand upon existing provisions, covering a wide range of topics including electric-readiness, energy monitoring and metering, energy efficiency, and interactions with other NYC local laws.
The code recommendations put forward by Lamon will directly impact New York City’s one million buildings, totaling upwards of 5.4 billion square feet. In 2020, approximately 5% of total NYC building square footage was under an active construction permit issued by the Department of Buildings, triggering compliance with the city’s construction codes.
As a result of the code recommendations, new and existing buildings will perform to a higher level of energy efficiency, achieve a reduction in carbon emissions, and play a central role in New York City’s transition to a low-carbon future.