Greening The Apple

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New York City government is rarely hailed as a model of efficiency, but now at least its buildings will be. In September, the City Council passed legislation that sets green building standards for hundreds of city-owned or -funded buildings—similar to laws in place in Austin, San Francisco and Boston. Cosponsored by Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilmember James Gennaro, it requires projects that cost more than $2 million to adhere to standards based on a nationwide rating system that analyzes siting, water efficiency, energy use, building materials and indoor environmental quality. Construction or major renovations worth $12 million or more will also be required to substantially cut energy use. Katherine Kennedy, senior attorney in the New York office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, is quick to praise the legislation, which goes into effect in January 2007. “New York does so much construction, it can really be a leader in green building,” she says. Next up for her group: pushing to extend the provisions to affordable housing development.

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