2013 National Planning Excellence Awards: Environmental Planning

NYC Department of City Planning, Zone Green

New York, New York

Zone Green is an initiative to modernize regulations for greener buildings. It is a coordinated package of zoning amendments, city legislation, and state legislation that promotes the construction and retrofitting of greener buildings. The regulatory changes adopted through Zone Green affect all categories of buildings throughout New York City, from single-family detached homes to high-density office buildings. It also gives owners and builders more choices for investments to save energy, save money, and improve environmental performance.

The goal is to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. To do so, new and existing buildings must become more efficient, particularly since existing buildings make up 85 percent of the structures in the city by 2030. The building restorations look to improve energy efficiency, management of storm water, and contributions to the city's ecology. The improvements are expected to save builders and building owners' energy, money, and improve environmental performance.

Zone Green sees urban rooftops as a precious resource for energy generation, stormwater management, recreation, agriculture, and more.