New York City government is rarely hailed as a model of efficiency but now at least its buildings will be. On Sept. 15, 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. Co-sponsored by Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilmember James Gennaro, it will require 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 costing $12 million or more will also be asked to substantially cut energy use. Katherine Kennedy, senior attorney in the New York office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, was quick to praise the legislation, which goes into effect in Jan. 2007. “New York does so much construction, it can really be a leader in green building,” she said. Next up for her group: pushing to extend the provisions to affordable housing development. (C. Feldman) [09/19/05]