2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code holds new buildings to strict standards to implement Green New Deal


The 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code will provide a new benchmark of sustainability and energy efficiency for all construction in the five boroughs, says Mayor Bill de Blasio. New legislqdemonstrates the Administration’s commitment to leading the country in actively addressing the threat of climate change. The energy code will go into effect on May 12, 2020.

“New York City is leading the nation in our fight against global warming,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our new energy code will ensure that buildings – our city’s biggest polluters – are held to the highest standard of sustainability and efficiency.”

“We must meet the challenge of global warming by tackling the single largest source of emissions in New York City – our buildings,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “Our revised Energy Code means that new construction and improvements to existing buildings will be part of the solution to climate change, not contributing to the problem. By helping us implement the Green New Deal, these strict energy standards ensure we are leading the nation by building a more sustainable and fairer city for all.”

The foundation of New York City’s 2020 Energy Conservation Code is the 2020 New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) NYStretch Energy Code, a model energy code that provides additional energy savings over the New York State Energy Code. Our new city energy code goes even further, with additional energy efficiency requirements that are specific to New York City and our unique urban environment. The 2020 code mandates that construction projects:

  • Improve the building thermal envelope with better performing walls and windows
  • Seal and test the building envelope to minimize and control air leakage
  • Require balconies and parapets to be continuously insulated
  • Identify thermal bridging elements in the building envelope
  • Meet minimum energy efficiency requirements for heating and cooling systems
  • Require more efficient interior lighting and additional lighting controls
  • Perform commissioning on more HVAC alteration projects
  • Require efficiency measures on new elevators and commercial kitchen equipment
  • Require the infrastructure for the future installation of electric vehicle chargers in one- and two-family homes
  • Require whole building metering for new buildings greater than 25,000 square feet
  • Allow source energy as a metric, instead of energy cost, for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling
  • Require additional thermal envelope performance requirements for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling

The 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code is just one of the New York City Construction Codes being updated by the Department of Buildings as part of the ongoing Code Revision Cycle. The Department convenes multiple advisory and technical committees as part of this continual revision process as a commitment to have New York City remain on the cutting edge of development trends and best safety practices. The Department will be introducing updates to the balance of our New York City Construction Codes later this year.


“The City Council has a strong history of working to mitigate the effects of climate change, the existential threat of our times. This legislation tackles greenhouse gas emissions from one of our worse polluters: buildings. The bill ensures that new or substantially renovated buildings will be more sustainable and energy efficient. New York City is and will continue to be a leader in fighting climate change,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Proponents says new energy conservation codes will unlock healthier and more efficient buildings to help us in the fight against climate change.

“NYC’s new Energy Code is among the strongest in the nation. This breakthrough code will drive cost-effective efficiency in new buildings and renovations, helping to ensure affordable, healthy and low-carbon buildings for all New Yorkers,” says John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council.

New York’s professional engineering community is strongly committed to helping the city implement sustainability, energy efficiency and carbon emissions reductions. ACEC New York supports the 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code.

“We commend the Administration and the City Council for having a robust process for stakeholder input and congratulate the city for passing this important legislation,” said Jay Simson, President and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York called the policy “one of the most advanced building energy codes in the country.”

“Studies show that buildings in NYC produce seventy percent of carbon emissions. Therefore, architects are among the key players who can help us fight climate change and improve air quality, through the design of more energy efficient buildings and retrofits in compliance of this new code,” said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York.


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