New York Launches Green Building Program

New York will soon have new green building standards for state buildings. (Photo: William Warby [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

New York is the latest in a growing list of state and city governments mandating green building for government-owned facilities. Gov. David A. Paterson has signed the State Green Building Construction Act and all new construction and major renovations must meet green building guidelines.

Although the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system is one of the most popular green building standards in the world, New York’s State Green Building Construction Act will be based off of as of yet unwritten guidelines. The state’s Office of General Services (OGS) will be crafting new green building standards for state buildings.

Over the past five years OGS has pursued LEED status for all projects completed for its agency clients. The agency now has 31 designers who are LEED-accredited professionals and the OGS Design and Construction unit now assigns a LEED professional to every design project to review opportunities for sustainable design features and to identify projects that may be eligible for LEED certification.” Source: OGS (PDF)

Although the OGS will be crafting a new set of guidelines, their extensive experience with the LEED certification system will likely play a major role in these new guidelines. The group has recently completed the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) certification process on the Governor’s Mansion. In February of this year, the residence was awarded LEED-EB Gold certification.

Many pundits may consider green building a partisan issue but the State Green Building Construction Act passed with strong bipartisan support. The final vote in the Assembly was unanimous (139-0) and nearly unanimous in the New York State Senate, 55-2.