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Sidestepping Zoning to Build Green in NYC

Even in New York City, it's a pain to try to "green" a building with insulation, overhangs, and other methods that violate zoning. Katharine Jose reports on the Zone Green Text Amendment, which addresses such impediments, and the team behind it.
January 31, 2012, 6am PST | Judy Chang
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"The amendment, which is currently under public review-meaning it's been referred for comment to community boards, borough boards and borough presidents, before city planning approves a version for the City Council to consider-is the product of the Green Codes Task Force, a panel pulled together by the Bloomberg administration and the nonprofit Urban Green Council; last year it released an in-depth analysis of the city's building codes, with a mission 'to remove zoning impediments to the construction and retrofitting of green buildings.'

This was desperately needed because, as [the city's deputy director of sustainability Howard] Slatkin said, standing in front of a black-and-white slide of a just-built LeFrak City, 'a lot of the regulations that were drawn up with zoning were not drawn up with the notion of promoting green buildings.'

According to PlaNYC-the mayor's master plan for the city-buildings generate 75 percent of the city's greenhouse-gas emissions. The zoning code has been in effect for 50 years, since long before the concept of 'greenhouse gasses' even existed."

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Published on Monday, January 30, 2012 in Capital New York
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