New York State and New York City energy code requirements for residential buildings have become more focused, especially in regard to the building envelope requirements. The latest code went into effect on October 3, 2016, and includes two three-year code cycles, so it is significantly more stringent than the previous code. This will increase energy efficiency by 28%, and an amendment in New York City will increase efficiency by another 5%. Overall, energy use is scheduled to decrease by one-third.

The code is a major step towards New York Cityís goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050, but it will also dramatically change how architects design and build. For example, for the first time in residential buildings, the code will require blower-door testing. The industry needs assistance in preparing for this step. (See the city's Roadmap to 80x50 here.)

In preparation for the new code, AIA New York has been offering Urban Green Councilís Conquer the Code, a training course to help architects and engineers design more energy-efficient buildings. The courses, while comprehensive and helpful, are a general overview tailored to a broad audience.

The 80x50 Taskforce
AIA New York has identified a need for more specific resources for architects. The innovative and technical materials will primarily assist the architects who design small residential projects in New York City, providing them with specific information to meet and exceed code, covering wall sections and insulation, ways to reduce air infiltration through more effective details, and how to file documentation with the NYC Department of Buildings to ease the process of applying and increase success with gaining approval.

This will not only focus on code requirements, but it will also work in tangent with AIANYís 80x50 Taskforce scheme: Good/Better/Best. Meeting code is good, but this will focus on how to design better than code: to do more than is required in order to further reduce energy use and increase efficiency. The materials will highlight best practices from around the world and help local architects apply them.

The project will aim to develop materials that architects can peruse at their own speed and refer back to at any time. They will be available online or in hard copy as practitioners prefer. These will increase awareness of how to meet and even exceed code and help the community achieve the goals presented by 80x50.

When people know how to meet code, they will be able to move to a stricter code in the future. By going beyond code, this resource will help to set longer-term goals for future code cycles. By starting to go further now, we can transform and lead codes and achieve scale more quickly.

A new code is a lot for smaller firms and sole practitioners to handle. While larger firms have in-house sustainability advisors, this is not a resource available to all practitioners in our Chapter.

Five years ago, AIANY developed a short-term series of code trainings, which were instrumental in changing the code. We have experience with these processes, and would like to be able to better cater to our members and their work cycles.

2,600 residential buildings, totaling over 8 million square feet, are built to code each year. As a result of this resource, buildings will be more efficient, architects will see how the process with the DOB can be streamlined, and how going beyond code will have positive implications for all involved.

By distributing the resource online and by mail, the resource will reach a larger audience and will be available to everyone. Having this tool readily available during the design process will help architects working with the new codes. The knowledge created here to advance best practices will help define the next code cycles and make them better.

This resource will be available to 5,500 AIANY members, members of the other NYC AIA chapters, and the thousands of registered architects in New York.

Get Involved
Contact Justin Pascone, Policy Coordinator, AIANY:


AIA New York Chapter
536 LaGuardia Place
NY, NY 10012
(212) 683-0023

Gallery Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 8pm
Sat: 11am to 5pm

Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 9am to 5pm