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December 16, 2019
by Adam Roberts
The glass in the Jacob. K. Javits Convention Center, renovated by FXCollaborative in 2013, includes patterns that have caused a 90% drop in bird deaths. Image credit: Chris Cooper.

After nearly two years of tireless effort, AIA New York’s advocacy in support of bird-friendly glass has come to fruition. Last week, the New York City Council passed Int 1482, which will mandate that new buildings and those replacing significant amounts of glass must install “bird-friendly glass”. This term refers to strategies that deter bird collisions through fritting, metal screens, bug screens, or other materials.

AIA New York, in conjunction with its partners NYC-Audubon and American Bird Conservancy, along with architects from FXCollaborative and Ennead Architects, worked closely with the City Council to write the bill. Thanks to the hard work of Speaker Corey Johnson and his team, most of our coalition’s recommended changes were written into the bill’s final version. This bill represents the most all-encompassing bird-friendly glass legislation passed in the country, if not the entire world.

Among the most noteworthy provisions are:

  • Bird-friendly glass is defined as glass that scores a 25 or lower on the American Bird Conservancy’s Threat Factor rating.
  • Non-bird-friendly glass may be no more than 10 square feet within a 10-by-10 foot area 75 feet and below (coterminous with tree height, where most collisions occur)
  • Regardless of height, the bill applies to glass along balconies, glass adjoining green roofs, glass awnings, glass handrails and guards, glass wind break panels, or glass acoustic barriers, and “fly through conditions” where multiple panels of glass align.
  • The NYC Department of Buildings must offer design guidelines for bird-friendly glass no later than October 1, 2020. These should provide architects and owners with a better idea of what constitutes bird-friendly glass and how to best utilize it.

The passage of Int. 1482 represents the culmination of a very successful year for AIA New York in advocating for sustainable design legislation. Laws requiring retrofitting, green roof installation, and solar power passed earlier in the year made 2019 a landmark year for sustainable design in New York city.

Check out some additional articles detailing bird-friendly the legislation below:

Pulse Points:

  • NYC Health + Hospitals has released an RFP seeking ten architectural/engineering firms, and five mechanical, electrical, and plumbing firms to provide consulting services across the system. You can find more information here.
  • On Wednesday, January 15, AIANY is hosting a presentation by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services on its new online procurement system, PASSPort. You can sign up for the event here.

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