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The second draft of the Ithaca Green Building Policy report is open for public comment and will be considered for approval by City of Ithaca and Town of Ithaca elected officials in the upcoming months. The report provides policy recommendations for energy efficiency requirements and related incentives to substantially reduce carbon emissions in all new buildings, while emphasizing affordability. City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick mentioned the 2018 goal of adopting a green building policy in his State of the City address in January.

You can now download the GBP second draft report released March 9, 2018. Submit comments about the report to ngoldsmith@cityofithaca.org.

Below is additional information about the policy, along with a schedule of upcoming meetings.


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 would be 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).  

Current meeting schedule (subject to change):

·         March 14, 6pm, City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Committee

o   Consider approval to officially circulate GBP 2nd draft report. Download agenda packet here.

·         March 28, evening (time, location TBA), Public Outreach Session

o   Hold final public outreach session to get feedback on second draft

·         April 11, 6pm, City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Committee

o   Present final GBP report to PEDC and ask for approval to move on to Common Council

·         Late April or early May, Town of Ithaca Town Board

o   Request approval of final GBP report

·         May 2, 6pm, City of Ithaca Common Council

o   Request approval of final GBP report


All meetings are open to the public and have time set aside for verbal comments from any interested community members. Agendas can be downloaded here for City and Town meetings.


Overview

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.


 

Project goals/purpose

  1. Lay the groundwork for increasing energy efficient development by gaining an understanding of the energy standards and policy tools available to and appropriate for Ithaca
  2. Understand the potential positive and negative social impacts of a green building policy
  3. Advance greenhouse gas reduction efforts in the community
  4. Lay the groundwork for reducing energy costs and improving public health
  5. Increase the diversity of active participants in Ithaca sustainability efforts
  6. Assess and build support for mandated and/or incentivized energy standards for new construction