Support NYC Intro Bill No. 1629 – Building Energy Efficiency

Achieving legislative breakthroughs is vital  reshaping our built environment, that is why we are calling on all Passive House advocates to make their voice heard at 1pm, on Tuesday June 27th, 2017, in the Committee Room at City Hall. On that day, there will be a public hearing on NYC Council Intro Bill No 1629-2017. The bill will require large newly-constructed or substantially-retrofitted buildings to meet very low energy/Passive House targets starting in 2025, with increasing intermediate efficiency requirements until that time.

There are many reasons why this bill should be vigorously supported, not only be Passive House enthusiasts, but the larger sustainability and resiliency communities in NYC:

1. Climate protection: Buildings make up over 70% of carbon emissions in New York City. To achieve the city’s policy of 80% carbon reductions by 2050, drastic reductions in building energy use intensity are required. This bill helps deliver those needed reductions essential to maintaining a livable climate and stable coastlines.
2. Resilience: Very low energy and Passive House buildings significantly increase resilience capacity by allowing occupants to shelter in place for extend periods of time, without power, during extremes of cold and hot weather.
3. Affordability: Very low energy and Passive House buildings are being built affordably with increases in cost of only approximately 3-5%. And this construction results in heating and cooling energy use reductions of up to 90% from typical buildings. By substantially lowering operating expenses, the risk of rapidly rising and unaffordable energy costs are lowered too. This provides building owners and occupants greater financial security and a better standard of living.
4. Health and Well Being: With airtight construction and filtered fresh ventilation air, very low energy and Passive House buildings provide improved indoor air quality and acoustic comfort. This is particularly beneficial for at risk populations such as children and the elderly, and for those living in areas of the city that have greater concentrations of air pollution.
5. Jobs: Very low energy and Passive House buildings require increased attention to enclosure construction and the installation of insulation, airtightness and high quality windows. These are local jobs that cannot be outsourced. With a few days training our existing construction workforce can competently execute – at the higher level of quality needed – these buildings.
6. Social Justice: Very low energy and Passive House buildings supports greater social justice. New skilled construction jobs, healthier indoor environments, storm resilience and lower ongoing operational costs, all serve to protect and serve the most vulnerable populations of our city.
7. Long term growth and sustainability: With up-training workers for more skilled jobs, making buildings that are healthier and more comfortable, while eliminating wasted expenditures on energy – Passive House and very low energy buildings are a cornerstone to New York City’s long term growth and sustainability.
8. Support of fast growing professional community to implement: With the increased attention on, and demand for, Passive House and very low energy buildings, there are ongoing and expanding local training opportunities for professionals such as architects, engineers and contractors. This growing, highly trained professional community is ready to meet the challenges of implementation.
9. Will not be subject to unfeasible mandates: As written, if for particular building types or occupancies, such low energy targets are determined to be unfeasible, there is a mechanism to adjust those targets – removing the threat of unmanageable requirements. In the interim years, we can collect the data on costs, occupant satisfaction and energy use, and move forward confidently.
10. A step in the right direction: While this bill only addresses part of New York City’s building stock, it is a significant segment of buildings. We look forward to working with New York City to extend the benefits of very low energy and Passive House buildings to all New York City building sizes and types in the future.

Click on this link to view/download the announcement and complete bill. If you have any questions regarding this important hearing or would like to be more directly involved in advocacy that day, please do not hesitate to  send an email to