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This page was updated January 17, 2020

Overview

A public comment period was held August 15 to September 30 2019 to collect feedback on the August 8, 2019 draft of the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement (IECS). Presentations were given at 13 meetings, and hundreds of verbal and written comments were submitted. Listed below is a summary of the major activities that have taken place since then, an estimated timeline for adopting the Energy Code Supplement, and a selection of proposed changes to the IECS.

Since October 2019
  • Worked with consultants to respond to 250 public comments received on IECS draft. Comment responses are about 80% complete.
  • Proposed changes informed by comments and/or additional research.
  • Vetted changes with Working Group (composed of Town and City Planning and Building Codes staff; Elected officials).
January 2020
  • Deliver project update to PEDC 1/22 (details in Upcoming Meetings, below).
  • Finish responding to public comments. All comments and responses will be made public along with the final draft IECS.
  • Incorporate additional changes into IECS.
February
  • Develop code language with City Attorneys and Building Division.
  • Meet with Working Group to approve final changes
March
  • IECS draft to Town Codes and Ordinances Committee.
  • IECS draft to PEDC 3/18, including public hearing.
April / May
  • Common Council, Town Board consider adoption of final legislation.

Changes
Several changes are being proposed to the Code Supplement, but it is still in alignment with the Green Building Policy Report adopted in 2018. Below is a selection of the proposed changes.
  • Removed exemption for historic buildings. Several comments were received in favor of this change, and none in opposition. There will be a clear appeals path in case historic buildings cannot fully comply.
  • Added Electric Vehicle Parking Spaces point, which offers up to two points for installing electric vehicle chargers, parking spaces and related infrastructure. The number of EV chargers required to earn the point is based on building size.
  • Removed the prerequisite of no fossil fuels in the building for OP5, Custom energy improvement.
  • Changes to the off-site renewables regulations are being proposed to make compliance more feasible. Some have been approved by the Working Group, others are still under discussion.

More about the Ithaca Energy Code Supplement

The City of Ithaca and the Town of Ithaca have been working on a Green Building Policy (GBP) since 2017. In May 2018 the Town Board and the City Common Council adopted the GBP Report, which contained recommendations for code requirements that would substantially reduce carbon emissions in all new buildings, while emphasizing and supporting affordability.

Since then, a working group made up of City of Ithaca and Town of Ithaca elected officials, senior staff, and other staff members, in conjunction with consultants Stream Collaborative and Taitem Engineering, have worked to add the necessary details to the GBP report recommendations. A list of working group members and consultant names can be found on the People page. The product is the draft Ithaca Energy Code Supplement (IECS), dated August 8, 2019. This is meant to be an easy-to-understand document that contains all of the content that will be in the final Energy Code Supplement, but is formatted for ease of discussion and editing. The goal is to maintain one unified regulation that covers both the Town and the City.

The Energy Code Supplement contains requirements to substantially reduce GHG emissions in all new buildings, while emphasizing affordability. The Code will require all new buildings to be constructed to produce 40% fewer GHG emissions than New York State code requires, and will 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 third party programs such as LEED or a HERS rating (with specific levels required to meet the 40% GHG reduction). The Easy Path 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.

Upcoming Meetings

All meetings are open to the public. Many have time set aside for verbal comments from any interested community members. You do not have to be a Town/City resident to speak. Written comments are also accepted in advance of the meetings.

City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Committee
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 6pm
Agenda will be available for download here.
Provide project update to Committee

Tentative: Town of Ithaca Codes and Ordinance Committee
March 2020
Agenda will be available for download here.
Discuss Draft Ithaca Energy Code Supplement

Tentative: City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Committee
March 2020

Agenda will be available for download here.
Public hearing; Consider draft of Ithaca Energy Code Supplement