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Buildings, Infrastructure and Land

Zoning and Codes

Advancing Sustainable and Resilient Communities

The Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice works on a range of programs to improve the energy efficiency and resiliency of buildings throughout New York City by incorporating climate standards and new technologies into building and zoning code requirements. The City has launched smart, forward-thinking policies that help advance carbon neutrality and housing affordability goals and is exploring ways to integrate future climate risks into codes, guidance and design standards.

Building a Green NYC

The City has been updating its planning approaches to promote sustainable and resilient communities across the five boroughs. In 2012 the City passed the Zone Green zoning text amendment, which supported the construction and retrofitting of green buildings. Measures included removing impediments to energy-efficient building walls, sun control devices, renewable energy, and electric vehicle charging (EV).

In 2016, the City passed the Zoning for Quality and Affordability zoning amendment, which reduced unnecessarily high costs of building transit-accessible affordable housing and included elimination of certain parking minimums. It also allowed existing parking for affordable senior housing to be converted into other uses, including green space, amenity space for residents, or more affordable housing.

New York City requires compliance with strict energy codes for new construction and building modifications . Beyond typical energy code standards, NYC adopts energy code no less stringent than the New York State Stretch Code (NYStretch) which includes additional efficiency measures, estimated to improve the efficiency of the standard New York State energy code by 10%.

Transforming our energy grid, retrofitting our buildings, improving the City’s waste stream, and supporting the growth of zero-emission vehicles and micro-mobility options to meet our ambitious climate goals means continuing to identify necessary zoning and code updates. The City is developing Zoning for Zero Carbon, which will help pave the way for the green investments needed in our buildings by modernizing the City’s Zone Green regulations to incorporate the latest climate, architectural, and engineering best practices. This includes making it easier to install heat pumps, solar, and energy storage systems, removing zoning impediments for EV charging infrastructure, and supporting the next generation of high-performance buildings.

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When we bring our voices, our action, and our advocacy to our schools, our homes, and our workplaces, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for the 8.6 million people who call our five boroughs home.

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