Thinking Green: Local Law 86

Urban Green Council (who is the USGBC New York City’s chapter) has been working hard to educate and make changes to better our environment. It has demonstrated the success of their efforts when New York City's milestone Local Law 86 regulating green building came into effect. This development alone will result in an estimated $12 billion in municipal construction being built to USGBC's LEED standards by 2017.

An interesting variety of green building projects have begun to dot the City including those that have already received actual LEED ratings. And now LL86, known as the “LEED Law” requires construction satisfying various LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) qualifying criteria for many Agency and City-funded projects. The law requires LEED Silver for all the projects.

As of June 26, 2009 the Law has been modified to use the all new LEED 2009 rating systems as before the law only applied to new construction, commercial interiors and existing buildings. In the new revision LEED for Schools, Major renovation and Core and Shell were added into the text. An example of the regulations of Local Law 86 establishes a series of mandates for non-residential municipal construction in New York City:

1. All buildings (or building renovation projects impacting either half the structure’s square footage or two major building systems), costing a minimum of $2 million must be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Schools and hospitals need only meet a LEED Certified rating. This requirement also applies to all capital projects to which the City provides at least fifty percent of the funds, or projects where the City contributes more than $10 million.

2. Projects costing more than $12 million must exceed New York State energy efficiency standards by twenty percent.

3. Projects costing more than $30 million must exceed New York State energy efficiency standards by twenty-five percent.

4. Projects with plumbing costs exceeding $500,000 must reduce end water use by thirty percent from New York State code (only twenty percent if an application for waterless urinals is rejected).

As we educate the public we will also need to change the laws and create standards for green thinking to become part of our everyday life. As ADA accessibility guidelines have become part of our design thinking and practices so does environmental sustainability.

Check out the Urban Green Council at for information, educational seminars and volunteer opportunities.

Thinking Green: Free Energy Modeling Software

The US department of energy (DOE) developed free energy modeling software that is an information resource on national model energy codes. They are COMcheck, for commercial applications, and Rescheck, for residential applications. The Materials (software, manual code compliance, and reference guides) simplify and clarify commercial, high-rise residential and general residential energy code compliance. Forms and checklists are included for documenting compliance. Example: The COMcheck software simplifies energy code compliance by offering a flexible computer-based alternative to manual calculation.

It is simple download the program, go to the DOE website There you have software, technical support and info about all energy coeds for all the states.

Making sure energy savings are in place will help us reduce our carbon footprint and take a step forward to help reduce our environmental impact. We need to start thinking in all ways to how we can design, build and renovate our surroundings to generate environments that benefit our planet not hinder it and use all the resources we have to help us do so.

Eco Product: NanaWall

Here is a product that is great to design with and is Ideal for Green Design Projects. NanaWall allows natural sunlight to illuminate interiors, saving energy with passive solar, building orientation and reduced demand on artificial lighting. High performance windows are able to also significantly reduce the energy loss through the building envelope.

The use of NanaWall provides the following health and living/work space benefits:

• Be able to build a smaller building by being able to utilize the outside as part of the living space
• NFRC/Energy Star certified systems with industry leading U-factors and Solar Heat Gain Coefficients
• Weather resistant with excellent air infiltration and water penetration ratings
• Excellent acoustic performance
• Recyclable aluminum frames with 50% recycled content with eco friendly powder coated finishes
• Wood frames with eco friendly water based pretreatment. PEFC certified Douglas fir standard and FSC certified pine, meranti, spruce, and American white oak available on request.
• Natural ventilation
• Daylighting with more natural light
• Innovative Shipping Crates design

NanaWall can achieve 30 points under the USGB’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction and Existing Building. The following credits can be sought after:

• SS CR 8: Light Pollution Reduction
• EA CR 1.1-1.10: Minimum Energy Performance
• MR 2.1,2: Construction Waste Management
• MR 4.1,2 4.1: Recycled content of Materials
• MR 5.1, 2: Regional Materials
• MR 7: Certified Wood
• EQ 2: Increased Ventilation
• EQ 3.2: Construction IAQ Management
• EQ 6.1, 6.2Lighting System & Thermal Comfort Controllability
• EQ 7.1: Thermal Design
• EQ 8.1, 8.2: Daylighting
• ID Cr 1.1: Innovation

NanaWall not only can help a LEED project but is a great tool for a design team. It has a lot of flexibility and can create diverse environments with the products application. This product gives the design team freedom to push beyond the buildings envelop. For more information check out their website at