November 10, 2009
by Jessica Sheridan Assoc. AIA LEED AP

Event: Energy Code Changes: What the Design Team Needs to Know (5-part series)
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.26-28, 11.03-04.09
Speakers: Session 1 — Overview of the Greening of the NYC and other Codes: Chris Garvin, AIA, LEED AP — Senior Associate, Cook+Fox Architects & Project Leader, Terrapin Bright Green; Session 2 — Lighting Design and the Energy Code: Hayden McKay, AIA, FIALD, FIESNA, LEED AP — Principal, Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design; Shoshanna Segal, IALD — Associate, Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design; Session 3 — Mechanical Systems and the Energy Code: John Rundell, LEED AP — Buro Happold; Session 4 — Building Enclosures and the Energy Code: Michael Waite, PE, LEED AP — Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; Session 5 — Energy Modeling and the Energy Code: Adrian Tuluca, RA, LEED AP — Principal, Viridian Energy and Environment
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter; AIANY Committee on the Environment; Building Enclosure Council; AIANY Building Codes Committee; ASHRAE; Urban Green

As of this past September, New York State instituted the latest update to its energy code. Currently, all projects in New York must comply with the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (ECCCNYS) or ASHRAE 90.1-2004. With the city’s plans for all buildings to reduce energy consumption by 2030, the codes and regulations will become more stringent while greater enforcement will be put into place. The Greener Greater Buildings Plan, part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC, sets a goal of achieving a 30% reduction in NYC’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In addition, there are rumors that once the Department of Buildings begins new mandatory auditing procedures, projects that do not meet the current energy code will lose their permits. Because of this, the AIANY Committee on the Environment teamed up with the Building Enclosure Council, AIANY Building Codes Committee, ASHRAE, and Urban Green to produce a five-part series on what architects need to know about the ever-changing energy codes.

Prescriptive vs. Performance-Based Methods
To calculate energy use in a building, architects have a choice to use either prescriptive or performance-based methods. The prescriptive method is the cheapest, fastest way, as COMcheck (for commercial buildings) and REScheck (for residential) are readily available online. These programs filter information provided by architects and engineers to determine code compliance. While all methods provide a choice to use ECCCNYS or ASHRAE 90.1-2004 (not to be confused with ASHRAE 90.1-2007, the code required for LEED), all of the speakers recommended using ASHRAE 90.1-2004.

Performance-based methods involve energy simulation, a process that takes longer, is more expensive, and often requires additional consultants. However, energy modeling is sometimes required, and, as codes become stricter, it may become inevitable for new projects.

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