The NYC Green Codes Task Force, convened by Mayor Bloomberg in response to PlaNYC, has set forth 111 proposals to “green” the NYC Building Code and other regulations related to zoning, health and environmental protection. The proposals are broken down by category, including: Overarching Code Issues; Health & Toxicity; Energy & Carbon Emissions – Fundamentals; Energy & Carbon Emissions – Energy Efficiency; Energy & Carbon Emissions – Operations & Maintenance; and Water Efficiency.

GreenEsq. is featuring an ongoing series of posts in an effort to track the progress of the NYC Green Codes Task Force’s proposals and any resulting local laws that are relevant to building owners and tenants in New York City. Please click here to view the introductory post to this series, which features links to all our posts covered in the series.

The following is a summary of recently enacted Local Laws that correspond to NYC Green Codes Task Force proposals in the Water Efficiency category:

Local Law 57/2010 – Maximum Flow Rates for Plumbing Fixtures

  • NYC Green Code Proposal: Water Efficiency 1 (WE1)
  • Effective Date: July 1, 2012
  • Amended Laws: Sections 202 and 604.4 of the New York City Plumbing Code; and Section 20-689 of the Administrative Code
  • Underlying Policy of the Local Law: The amendment seeks to achieve greater efficiency of plumbing fixtures and fixture fittings throughout New York City by prescribing maximum flow rates and requiring fixtures to conform with the “WaterSense” program.
  • Requirements of the Local Law: (1) more efficient maximum flow rates and consumption for plumbing fixtures and fixture fittings in public and private lavatories, water closets, shower heads, sink faucets, and urinals; and (2) the following must meet the specifications required for the “WaterSense” program and feature the “WaterSense” label: shower heads, private lavatory faucets, water closets (except those in public restrooms), and for urinals, the urinal flush valve or fixture/valve combination. “WaterSense” is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program designed to encourage water efficiency; it is the water equivalent of “EnergyStar.”

Local Law 56/2010 – Prevention of Leaks by Measuring Water Use

  • NYC Green Code Proposal: Water Efficiency 3 (WE3)
  • Effective Date: January 1, 2011
  • Amended Law: Sections 202, 606 and 608 of the New York City Plumbing Code
  • Underlying Policy of the Local Law: Leaks and equipment malfunctions can waste water if left undetected for an extended period of time. Sub-meters allow building owners to monitor equipment for water consumption patterns that might be attributable to leaks or faulty equipment. Alarms attached to sub-metered equipment offer an additional way of alerting building operators when water consumption reaches excessive levels, or to detect a leak or overflow in the fastest way possible.
  • Requirements of the Local Law: (1) all water roof tanks are required to be equipped with a high water level alarm that indicates when the water level is at or slightly below the overflow level; (2) water distribution pipe lines that serve: (a) a commercial cooking facility, (b) a commercial laundry facility, or (c) a commercial gym or spa, shall be equipped with at least one water sub-meter to measure the amount of water supplied through such pipe lines; and (3) make-up water lines that supply water to boilers that service buildings six stories or higher are required to be equipped with at least one sub-meter to measure the amount of water supplied through the make-up water line.

Local Law 54/2010 – Prohibition of “Once-through” Cooling Systems

  • NYC Green Code Proposal: Water Efficiency 6 (WE6)
  • Effective Date: January 1, 2011. This law only applies to systems installed after to January 1, 2011. Any renovations to systems installed prior to this date are exempt to the extent such renovation does not increase the amount of potable water used in the process.
  • Amended Law: Sections 202 and 428, and Chapter 13 of the New York City Plumbing Code
  • Underlying Policy of the Local Law: “Once-through” cooling systems use potable water to cool condensers and other building equipment or process equipment, and then discharge the potable water into the sewage system. The amendment prohibits the use of “once-through” cooling in certain instances to avoid waste of potable water.
  • Requirements of the Local Law: Potable (drinkable) water shall not be used for “once-through” cooling. Instead, equipment used to power equipment such as ice making machines, walk-in coolers, refrigerated walk-in boxes, or air conditioning equipment shall be provided with air cooled condensers or re-circulating condenser water systems, or supplied with non-potable water.

For more in-depth analysis on GreenEsq. of the newly enacted Local Laws addressing water efficiency, please click here.