NYS Emissions & Energy History
How did we get here?
The New York [State] Consolidated Laws includes a statutory code called the “Energy Law.” The New York Energy Law is the statutory, regulatory, and common law of the State of New York concerning the policy, conservation, taxation, and utilities involved in energy, which became effective on July 26, 1976 as Chapter 17-A of the Consolidated Laws. The Energy Law applies statewide however, it does permit municipalities to adopt their own local energy codes providing that the local codes are more stringent than the state code. It is under this provision that New York City promulgates its “Local Laws” regarding building emissions and energy efficiency.
The New York state energy code became effective on January 1, 1979 and was amended for residential buildings in 1989. The energy code was substantially rewritten and called the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (NYSECCC) which became effective March 1, 1991. The purpose of the newly developed code was to provide uniform statewide regulations for the design of building envelopes to ensure adequate thermal performance and for the design and selection of energy efficient mechanical, electrical, and lighting systems and equipment for all new and renovated public and private building construction in New York State.
The Federal government enacted the State Energy Efficiency Programs Improvement Act of 1990 and the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 which recognized the crucial role states play in regulating energy industries and promoting new energy technologies. It was announced on July 29, 1999, that the New York State legislature allowed for the state's conversion to a model energy code to take advantage of a U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Code Assistance Grant.
A new energy code, the 2002 New York State Energy Conservation Code, took effect July 1, 2002, and on January 1, 2008, the 2007 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (ECCCNYS) was updated (with a name change: NYSECCC to ECCCNYS) to conform to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) supplemental edition with state amendments for both residential and commercial buildings. A further update of the code in April 2008, also allowed for the alternative design of commercial buildings using American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1-2001.
Staring in late 2009, numerous efforts were undertaken to update and rectify inconsistencies between the New York State Uniform Fire and Building Code and the 2010 version of the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State. After a lengthy process both the Uniform Code and the ECCCNYS become effective on December 28, 2010. A key feature of the new code was the removal of an exception known as the “50% Rule” that exempted commercial renovations, additions and alterations from being subject to the state energy code unless the project affected more than half of the building space. The Energy Law of New York State was also amended by the New York State Assembly and the Senate and subsequently became effective as of January 1, 2011.
The new Energy Law mandated that a State Energy Planning Board prepare detailed statistics and long-range projections on the quantities, sources, uses and prices all types of energy resources used in-state as well as risks and alternatives. With this information, the Board is tasked to provide guidance and recommend policy with regard to maintaining and improving the quality of life, business and sustainability in the form of a State Energy Plan. A new plan is to be adopted every four years with biennial status updates delivered two years following the adoption of each plan.
This period also marked the beginning of New York State taking a more aggressive approach specifically regarding building energy efficiency and emissions, indirectly. In 2012, New York State committed to a 20% improvement in energy efficiency in State buildings by 2020, administered through the BuildSmart NY Initiative. The Governor, launched, in 2014, New York’s signature and current energy policy, Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) which is intended to develop an integrated energy network to harness the combined benefits of the central grid with clean, locally generated power.
The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council voted to adopt an update to commercial provisions of the ECCCNYS to establish minimum requirements for energy-efficient buildings using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. This makes it possible to use new materials and techniques for energy conservation. The new code became effective January 1, 2015.
As of October 13, 2016, the latest version of the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) and Energy Conservation Construction Code (Energy Code) became effective. Unlike previous versions, the 2016 Uniform Code and the 2016 Energy Code no longer include modified provisions specific to New York State. State-specific modifications are detailed in the publication entitled “2016 Supplement to the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (Revised August 2016)” (referred to as the “2016 Energy Code Supplement”).
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)
In 2014, the New York’s Governor launched an energy policy called Reforming the Energy Vision or REV. The policy was based upon fostering economic prosperity and environmental stewardship through government and industry working together in public-private partnerships. The policy ended up forming much of the foundation of New York State’s 2015 energy plan. The stated goals of REV for 2030 included:
A further goal of REV was an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 2050.
To achieve the goals of REV, a number of initiatives were defined: