NYC’s Green New Deal Targets Construction Industry, Bans Inefficient Glass-Walled Buildings

There’s no doubt that pop culture shapes the way people think, especially when it comes to interest in certain activities.  The narrative for the past few years in the construction industry has been that there is a workforce shortage…that young people aren’t interested in working in construction.  It’s no secret that kids love cartoons, though.

On Thursday, April 18th, the New York City Council passed what they are calling “NYC’s Green New Deal,” which legislators hope will greatly reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.  In order to achieve those results, several mandates included in the legislation will have major effects on the construction and real estate industries.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined the Green New Deal policies in a document called “OneNYC 2050: Building a Strong and Fair City.” The plan expects a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to their baseline from 2005 and expect to reach full carbon neutrality by 2050.

A major change that will have a large effect on both construction and real estate is the plan to ban all-glass facades in new construction, unless they can prove to meet strict performance guidelines. This will cause quite the shake-up in the standard design of tall structures, which NYC is famous for.

According to CNBC, the Real Estate Board of New York is pushing back against the all-glass building ban, saying that it will discourage development of taller, dense buildings.  They also contend that the many exemptions will not help reduce the emissions and create a much larger burden for a smaller amount of developers.

The deal isn’t necessarily bad news for the construction industry, as all existing buildings 25,000 square feet in area or larger will need to make efficiency upgrades to lower their energy usage.  There are currently roughly 50,000 buildings in the city that will be affected, creating retrofit and other renovation opportunities for many contractors in the area.

Other initiatives include installing 1 million square feet of a heat reducing rooftop coating, enhancing infrastructure to allow for better walkability and accessibility, upgrading city bridges and other facilities, among others.

“The laws and investments of New York City's Green New Deal will directly confront income inequality, generating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs retrofitting buildings and expanding renewable energy,” explains the press release on the Green New Deal.

Full story: Action on Global Warming: NYC's Green New Deal |