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Case Studies: Low Energy Policies for Communities

Note: All of the links on this page leave the DEC

Communities are Adopting Green Building Standards and Policies

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system of the US Green Building Council is a nationally-recognized set of standards for designing, constructing, and certifying sustainable buildings. LEED establishes standards for six categories of design and construction: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental air quality, and innovation in design. Using LEED as a local standard shifts the certification process to a third party, eliminating the need to establish a local body to certify green building projects.

Standards and Policies in New York's Climate Smart Communities

Links access the text of the local code (wait while section loads), or the municipality's website.

  • *Schenectady County, NY - In 2008, the legislature passed a resolution requiring that any county building capital project involving greater than five thousand square feet be designed, constructed and certified to comply with LEED silver standard. The county also requires the purchase of Energy Star products where available. To view these requirements follow the link and click on 2008 and enter search words "LEED" or "Energy Star."
  • *City of Syracuse, NY - In 2007, Syracuse became one of the first cities in New York State to adopt green building standards for all new construction and major renovations of City-owned municipal buildings. The law requires that all major renovations and new construction of public buildings meet a LEED Silver standard. If there is no appropriate silver standard, then the City Engineer can set an alternate green building standard. The ordinance does not apply to privately owned city buildings. This year, Syracuse's Joint Schools Construction Board passed a green schools resolution to design the four schools in Phase I of the city's school reconstruction project to meet the LEED Silver standard.
  • *Town of Brookhaven, NY - The town has adopted LEED standards for all new town buildings with a goal of "gold" but at least basic LEED. The resolution requires the same LEED standards for 75 percent renovated town buildings. In 2009, the town amended its definition of "Rubbish" to include the carbon component of energy waste. [To view Brookhaven's code, follow the LEED standards link above and type Energy Star, LEED or carbon in the Keywords search box.]
  • *Town of Babylon, NY - In 2006, the town adopted NY Energy Star standards for all new single family dwellings and the LEED rating system for all new commercial, office, industrial, multiple residence and senior citizen building construction. In 2008, Babylon included carbon in the town code definition of solid waste to facilitate a funding mechanism for the Long Island Green Homes program. [To view Babylon's code, follow the town code link above and type Energy Star, LEED or carbon in the Keywords search box.]
  • *Town of Greenburgh, NY - In 2002, the town adopted NY Energy Star standards for any new one or two-family dwelling or multifamily dwelling of three stories or fewer. Since passing the Energy Star standards, more than 84 homes have been built that save residents 30 percent on their energy use. [To view Greenburgh's energy standards, follow the Greenburgh Code link above and type Energy Star in the Keywords search box.]
  • *Town of New Paltz, NY - In 2008, the town adopted NY Energy Star standards for any new one or two-family dwelling or multifamily dwelling of three stories or fewer. [To view New Paltz's energy standards, follow the Greenburgh Code link above and type Energy Star in the Keywords search box.]
  • *Town of Red Hook, NY - In 2009, the town adopted NY Energy Star standards for any newly constructed one - to four-family dwelling, not more than three stories in height. [To view Red Hook's energy standards, follow the Red Hook Code link above and type Energy Star in the Keywords search box.]
  • *Town of Smithtown, NY - Under town code, every single-family dwelling, two-family dwelling, and multiple-family dwelling (in buildings containing four units or less, not more than three stories in height, with a separate means of egress for each dwelling, minimum of one heating facility for each four dwelling units and a separate primary electric meter for each dwelling unit, including townhomes) which is permitted on or after August 1, 2008, shall be built to comply with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) New York Energy Star Labeled Homes Program requirements.

Standards and Policies in Other Communities

For New York municipalities, links from the municipality name or the code subject or year lead to the local code (wait while section loads).

  • Town of Blooming Grove, NY - As an incentive for the construction of new buildings to Energy Star and/or LEED guidelines, the town permits a ten percent increase to the allowable subdivision base lot count in their rural residential district. (2005)
  • Village of East Aurora, NY - All major municipal facility projects must be designed, constructed and certified to LEED standards. (20
  • Town of Huntington, NY - The town requires LEED certification for commercial buildings (2008) and also provides an incentive of increased building height from four (4) to six (6) stories in the light industry district for achieving LEED silver standard (2006). Also, all new one-family dwellings must comply with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) New York Energy Star Labeled Homes Program requirements. (2007)
  • Town of Malta, NY - Applications for planned development districts, special use permits, and site plan approval of major subdivisions must contain a review of possible LEED certification (2007)
  • Town of Southampton, NY - Incentive - The maximum gross floor area or height of a building in specific planned development districts may be increased up to 25% if the building is built and certified to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating SystemTM Gold Standard.
  • Village of North Haven, NY - Any new single-family dwelling must be built to comply with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) New York Energy Star Labeled Homes Program requirements. (2007)
  • Town of North Hempstead, NY - After January 1, 2009, all new one- and two- family dwellings, and multiple family residences with less than five units had to conform to the New York ENERGY STAR Labeled Homes Program as administered by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). New construction must be one-hundred-percent newly built structures from the ground up and do not include expansions and renovations.
  • Town of Oyster Bay, NY - Any new one-family, two-family, or multifamily dwelling, in buildings containing four or fewer units, with a separate means of egress for each dwelling, shall be constructed to comply with the requirements of the New York ENERGY STAR Labeled Homes program (2006)
  • Town of Riverhead, NY - Any new single-family dwelling must be built to comply with the Long Island Power Authority New York ENERGY STAR Labeled Homes Program (2006).
  • Massachusetts Commercial Energy Code - includes elements from ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999 and the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code, as well as several requirements that are unique to Massachusetts. Calls for: increased efficiency for HVAC equipment and systems; labeling and rating for windows and doors; improved vapor barriers; continuous air barriers; full continuous insulation on metal-framed buildings, substantially reduced allowances for lighting power; automatic lighting controls for most spaces; high-efficiency transformers, and other energy-saving requirements.
  • Frisco, TX - The city's Green Building Ordinance incorporates standards that regulate energy efficiency, conservation of water, indoor air quality and recycling of waste.
  • Seattle, WA- The city's Sustainable Building Policy, adopted in 2000, requires that all City projects and renovations larger than 5,000 square feet must achieve at least a Silver rating in the LEED Green Building Rating system. A link at the bottom of the Green Building page leads to the text of the policy.
  • State of Colorado - US Green Building Council describes the extensive program within Colorado's state and local governments to adopt green building standards.