Ithaca Green Building Policy Report Approved by City and Town

The Ithaca Green Building Policy report was adopted by the City of Ithaca Common Council on May 2 and accepted by the Town Board on May 7.

Both municipalities have directed staff to codify the policy recommendations contained in the report. The draft legislation will then be considered for adoption by Common Council and the Town Board.

The product of months of discussion and debate, the report offers a compelling framework to move new construction in the City to significantly reduce its energy usage and, ultimately, establish a net-zero standard. That goal puts it squarely in alignment with the efforts of the Ithaca 2030 District. The report comes as downtown Ithaca experiences one of its biggest building booms in the community's history.

The proposed policy requires all new buildings to be constructed in a way that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 percent to 50 percent compared to what New York state code requires. The policy would ramp down over time to require all new buildings to be designed to a net-zero energy standard within the next 12 years.

Nick Goldsmith, the City's sustainability coordinator, and the project consultants, Stream Collaborative, Taitem Engineering, and Randall + West, were primarily responsible for putting the pathbreaking report together.