NYC Energy Code, LEED, and Beyond

POSTED ON: September 18, 2011

Writing in the Real Estate Weekly on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, Continuing Education Director David Greenstein discusses the changing landscape of green certification and archiecture, and Cooper Union's Green Building Design program.

We all know that New York is one of the most energy-efficient cities in the country thanks to high population density, extensive public transportation, and the ability to forego air conditioning for a good part of the year. Now, however, the Bloomberg Administration’s Department of Buildings (DOB) is pushing building owners and operators toward newer energy sources, more efficient HVAC, and more sustainable lighting (daylight, CFR, LED, etc.) The New York City Energy Conservation Code applies to all new building and alteration applications filed on or after July 1, 2010. The updated NYCCECC, based on the 2010 ECCNYS, affects all applications filed on or after December 28, 2010.

To ensure that architects, engineers, building owners, and those in related professions are thoroughly and authoritatively informed about the 2011NYC Energy Conservation Code, DOB has teamed up with The Cooper Union’s Department of Continuing Education to offer a two-day course that covers NYC compliance requirements.

The course, entitled Energy Code Compliance in New York City, is a partnership between DOB and The Cooper Union Department of Continuing Education. It consists of six modules taught by experts from DOB and Viridian Energy and Environmental LLC and takes place over two days, October 4 and 13 from 9 am to 5 pm (with a break for lunch.)   The lead  instructor is Deborah F. Taylor, AIA, LEED AP., DOB’s Executive Director for Special Projects and MEA as well as the Chair of the Model Code Program's Advisory Committee Sustainability. Instructors from Viridian are Adrian Tuluca, RA, LEED AP, Carl Ian Graham, PE., John Amatruda, RA, LEED AP BD+C. Topics covered include Administrative Overview, Residential Requirements, Commercial Envelope Requirements, Commercial HVAC 1 and 2, and Commercial Lighting and Power Requirements.

Participants can receive credit for 14 hours of professional development. The fee for the course is $235 and advance registration is required Information is available at 212-353-4195. The course meets in Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall, located at Seventh Street and Third Avenue, one block from Astor Place. It is easily accessible by the #6 train to Astor Place or the N and R trains to 8th St. (one block away.) Parking is available at Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue. A wide variety of lunch options are available within a few minutes walk of the building.

The Energy Code Compliance course is part of The Cooper Union’s Green Building Design program which features individual courses and a 110-hour Certificate in Green Building Design. Since its start in 2007, more than 550 architects, engineers, developers, building owners, and real estate professionals have participated in courses taught by faculty members from Cooper Union’s Chanin School of Architecture and practicing professionals in the fields.

Anyone interested in LEED qualifications should take a look at the Green Building Design program’s exam prep courses.  Separate courses cover the LEED Green Associate examination as well as the LEED AP for Building Design and Construction, LEED for Commercial Interiors, and LEED for Existing Buildings. All of the LEED prep courses include learning aids and practice tests, along with recommended study techniques. The LEED Green Associate Exam Prep and the LEED AP Exam Prep are also available online through the New York Times Knowledge Network. Information on all entire Green Building Design program is available at or by calling 212-353-4195.

For those seeking a broad overview of Green Building Design, Cooper Union offers three complementary courses. Sustainable Design Principles: An Engineering Perspective, Sustainable Design: Principles: An Architectural Perspective, and The Ecological City: Sustainability and Resilience investigate all elements of the sustainability puzzle from specific equipment to regional plans.

Other courses offered this fall include Low-Carbon Energy, Green Retrofit: The Fundamentals of Gut Renovation, and Sustainable Construction Methods. Daylighting Fundamentals and Introduction to Buildings Systems Management use Cooper’s new LEED Platinum building as a laboratory. Solar Energy Policy and Economics can be followed by a hands-on Solar Essentials Workshop that covers both thermal and photovoltaic equipment.

Like the New York City Department of Buildings, The Cooper Union has a deep commitment to sustainable design. Although Cooper Union’s new LEED Platinum building has received wide publicity for its energy efficiency, green roof, and ample daylight, it should be remembered that the 1859 Foundation Building was as great an advance over the buildings of its day. That building’s internal structure of wrought iron beams (made in Peter Cooper’s own Trenton, NJ mill) paved the way for the steel skeletons of modern skyscrapers. Two years before Elisha Otis patented the safety brake that made passenger elevators practical, Peter Cooper insisted in building a shaft that rose to the top of his building so that an elevator might one day be installed.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.