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Transportation & Environment

Application for the support of the implementation of the Passive House Standard in the New York City and State building and energy codes.

WHEREAS, Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of New York State’s and New York City’s national leadership promoting clean energy solutions and addressing climate change; and

WHEREAS, New York State has proposed a comprehensive energy efficiency initiative designed to accelerate progress towards a 40% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050 from 1990 levels; and

WHEREAS, New York City has demonstrated its commitment to address climate change through its membership in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and its planned attendance at the upcoming San Francisco C40 conference; and WHEREAS, Community Board Five passed a resolution in support of the International Passive House Standard for New York City in February of 2016; and

WHEREAS, The Manhattan Borough Board adopted an International Passive House Resolution on Earth Day, 2016; and

WHEREAS, These actions helped inspire a similar Brooklyn Borough Board Resolution, increased public engagement, and led to additional Passive House projects; and

WHEREAS, New York City has demonstrated its commitment to the values of the Paris Climate Agreement, as evidenced by Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Order 26 of 2017, which directed the city to the achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to l.5 degrees Celsius; and

WHEREAS, The city is committed to work with other domestic and international cities to develop a protocol to reduce carbon footprints to zero; and

WHEREAS, New York City Local Law 84 (2009) requires annual benchmarking and reporting of energy and water use in city buildings with 50,000 gross square feet; and

WHEREAS, New York City Local Law 133 (2016) expanded covered buildings to those with more than 25,000 gross square feet, adding 17,000 buildings; and

WHEREAS, Under New York City Local Law 87 (2009), covered buildings must undergo a ten-year energy audit and commissioning process to tune up existing equipment and identify all cost-effective measures to improve energy efficiency; and

WHEREAS, New York City Local Law 31 (2016) strengthened sustainability requirements and introduced measures to make city-owned buildings among the most efficient in the country; and

WHEREAS, The City plans to ensure that by 2030 all new city construction and substantial retrofit capital projects are designed to Passive House Energy Use Intensity (EUI) with the Passive Standard as a compliance path option; and

WHEREAS, Mayor de Blasio signed New York City Local Law 32 (2018), Stretch Energy Code, outlining aggressive reductions in the 2019 and 2022 energy standards with “Passive like” performance targets by 2025; and WHEREAS, New York City Local Law 33 (2018), Building Energy Grades, will require posted building energy grades based on Energy Star scores, starting in 2020; and

WHEREAS, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has proposed Stretch Code Supplement Amendments (March 2018) of “passive-like” standards to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE 90.1-2016, including an alternative compliance provision (Section R408), specifying Passive House standard for residential buildings; and

WHEREAS, The Passive House Standard is a recognized world-wide protocol for energy-saving buildings, identified by the United Nations as the best way to achieve Paris Accord targets (2016); and

WHEREAS, The Passive House Standard reduces heating and cooling energy requirements by up to 90% and overall energy demand by up to 75% compared to conventional buildings, while providing the most comfortable, healthy, and noise-conditioned inside environment; and

WHEREAS, Passive House reduces energy needs through the application of building physics and high quality and proven construction technologies including insulation, air-tightness, heat recovery, solar energy, and solar shading; and

WHEREAS, The resulting reductions in energy use from the application of the Passive House Standard can enable renewable sources to meet 100% of energy needs (“net zero”) or to supply surplus energy to the utility grid (“Net Positive”); and

WHEREAS, New property developments meeting the Passive House Standard serve as further examples of the potential benefits provided by the PH Standard, such as The House at Cornell Tech, which opened in New York City in 2017 and is the world’s largest residential high-rise built to PH Standard, and Sendero Verde, the largest PH project in the world, which will be a mixed-use development that will bring 660 affordable PH units to East Harlem (projected completion in 2021); and

WHEREAS, The number of recently-completed or under-construction Passive House developments in Manhattan include: ABC No Rio Headquarters; Gramercy Park EnerPHit Townhouse; the Perch Harlem multi-family; the Passive House Canal Street mixed-use; the 29th Street multi-family; and the 511 East 86th Street multi-family; and

WHEREAS, Recent successful PH retrofit projects in Manhattan include the 206 East 20th Street townhouse and the 11 West 126th Street multi-family; and

WHEREAS, As New York City is one of the world’s leaders in real estate development, architecture, and engineering, the city is uniquely positioned to develop the integrated solutions needed to transform our city and to share these solutions with the world; and

WHEREAS, New York is the 3rd largest tech hub in the nation, with more than 7,600 technology firms now residing in the City,;

WHEREAS, The integrated urban lifestyle of the city results in a low carbon footprint, ranking NYC’s carbon profile as the 4th lowest in the nation; and

WHEREAS, The Passive House Standard could help solidify and extend New York City’s sustainability leadership efforts; and

WHEREAS, In 2017 NYSERDA funded a cost study by the architectural firm, F.X.Fowle that demonstrated the feasibility of constructing high-rise residential buildings in New York City to the Passive House Standard at near cost parity with conventional construction; and

WHEREAS, In practice, Passive House is achieving cost parity with conventional construction, as exemplified by the recent Knickerbocker Commons Passive House project, which was delivered at no extra cost in 2014; and

WHEREAS, Residential buildings built to Passive House standards would increase energy efficiency; reduce tenant utility costs; improve overall housing affordability; enhance community health; reduce noise; produce savings and social capital; and develop new jobs and careers in the eco-economy; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports the implementation of the Passive House
Standard in the New York City and State building and energy codes; and therefore be it

RESOLVED, CB5 calls for all buildings constructed in NYC that receive any form of public
financing and/or are located on NYC-owned property to be built to Passive House or low energy
standards, and that an effective means of monitoring be developed and deployed to verify
performance and guide construction practices and efficient building oversight; and therefore be it

RESOLVED, CB5 urges New York City to normalize energy efficient buildings and retrofits, to
set a net-zero energy standard, and to require the use of renewable energy in New York City to
serve as an example for other states in the nation and abroad.

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