The Ithaca Green Building Policy report was adopted by the City of Ithaca Common Council and accepted by the Town of Ithaca Town Board in May 2018. Municipal staff are now working with the consultant team to codify the policy recommendations contained in the report. This project is a priority, and legislation is expected to be considered for adoption by Common Council and the Town Board later in 2019.

The report provides policy recommendations for energy efficiency requirements and related incentives to substantially reduce carbon emissions in all new buildings, while emphasizing affordability. The policy that we are currently proposing would require all new buildings to be constructed to produce 40-50% fewer GHG emissions than New York State code requires, and would ramp down to net-zero buildings by 2030. There are two compliance paths. The "Easy Path" is a point system where the builder chooses from a menu of options to achieve six points. Using the Easy Path, it is possible to comply with the mandate using only "affordability-driven energy efficiency measures" that would keep construction costs the same or lower, which we are very excited about. We are not aware of other municipal requirements that offer this. The second method of compliance is a "Whole Building Path" that allows the use of well-known 3rd party programs such as LEED or a HERS rating (with specific levels required to meet the 40-50% GHG reduction). One other item of note is that the point system highly incentivizes fossil-fuel-free development (for example many points are awarded for the use of heat pumps, which operate on electricity as opposed to natural gas). 

You can now download the Ithaca Green Building Policy final report, released April 25, 2018 below.

You can also view the final Ithaca Green Building Policy Guide presentation.

Upcoming Meetings

No meetings are currently planned

All meetings are open to the public and have time set aside for verbal comments from any interested community members. You do not have to be a Town/City resident to speak.


The Ithaca Green Building Policy is studying energy use and water use standards in new construction, and the policy tools that could be used to implement the standards through mandates and/or incentives.

Ithaca has a strong history of sustainability efforts. The Comprehensive Plans of the Town of Ithaca and the City of Ithaca feature Sustainability and Equity as thread-through themes. These plans state the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. 

Energy use in buildings, responsible for nearly three quarters of the City’s carbon footprint, is a crucial sector to address. The City and the Town have already taken important steps to address energy use in existing buildings, such as establishing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing service, co-founding the innovative Residential Energy Score project, and signing on as an inaugural member of the Ithaca 2030 District. However, given the building boom that Ithaca is experiencing, now is a crucial time to address the energy efficiency of new construction.

This project will culminate in spring 2018 with a set of recommendations for standards and policies that the City and the Town could use to improve the efficiency of new construction and meet their ambitious GHG emission reduction goals.