This weekend ! It’s Open House New York, an annual “open house” showcasing distinctive examples of architecture, engineering and design around the city. From private residences and historic landmarks, to hard hat tours and sustainable skyscrapers, OHNY gives you rare access into the extraordinary architecture that defines New York City, while introducing you to the people who make the city a vibrant and sustainable place to live, work, and play. Part of a worldwide celebration, Open House New York educates and inspires discussion of issues of excellence in design, planning and preservation, and showcases outstanding new work as well as structures of historic merit.
Last week’s UN symposium on sustainability and resilience, held in New York City, highlighted the imperatives to minimize risks and mitigate our consumption, to keep our urbanizing passion from accelerating into an “uncontrollable” future.
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday took no action for the second week running over whether it plans to undertake a potentially wide-ranging legal review of the Obama administration’s first wave of regulations aimed at tackling climate change. The rules, which apply to a cross-section of polluters from vehicles to industrial facilities, are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists say these are the prime contributor to climate change.
Designers from coast to coast are breaking through the old distinction between “grey” (aka “hard” ) and “green” (aka “soft”) infrastructure to establish strategies that apply a mix of the two.
by Peter Lehner @ NRDC
A year after Superstorm Sandy crashed into the heart of the Northeast, two things are clear. One, climate change is here, its costs are already high, and they are likely to climb higher soon. Two, political leaders in the region have shown that there is an alternative to head-in-the-sand denialism—namely, taking forward-looking steps to reduce risk and prepare for climate change, as well as addressing many of the other threats to our air, our water and our health.
In fact, with New York City’s high population density, extensive demands for energy, water and other resources, intensive coastline development threatened by rising sea levels, and pressure to cope with, and reduce, vast waste streams, the metropolitan region has become the epicenter of the American environmental challenge.
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In its waning days, Mayor Bloomberg’s administration is issuing grades to rate the energy use of the city’s largest residential buildings. Officials have released energy consumption data for large multifamily buildings, allowing residents to find out how their co-ops, condos and rental buildings compare with similar structures.
It was the first time any city in the country publicized such data, environmental groups said, and will be one of the most prominent legacies of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s environmental agenda. The city has been tracking energy use among its largest buildings under a 2009 law intended to help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, an issue that acquired added urgency after Hurricane Sandy.
The heating and cooling of buildings produces three-fourths of the city’s emissions contributing to global warming and sea level rise, city officials said; the 2009 law applies to the biggest energy consumers, buildings of more than 50,000 square feet and multiple-building properties with a total of more than 100,000 square feet.
Annual results for the city’s large office and government buildings have been released since 2011, using the scores under the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Residential buildings are not yet rated under that program, so city officials are using letter grades, just as they do with restaurants, to encourage improvements and to guide consumer decisions.
“The benefit is a more informed marketplace,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation, a nonprofit group in Washington that promotes building energy efficiency and advises the city on its rating efforts.
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