NYC & Vancouver are Climate Agitators: Be One Too

NYC & Vancouver are Climate Agitators: Be One Too

Climate action continues to be led by the cities, and Vancouver and New York City have formed perfect bookends of what must become a continent-wide movement if we want to make the progress called for by recent climate science.

In the market transformation and disruption underway, exemplified by these cities, there are new opportunities to align business with sustainability goals. 475 is proud to be featured in Crain’s New York Business, as such an enterprise. We look forward to helping build a robust supply chain to support architects, builders and owners in New York City and Vancouver and all places between.

Vancouver Gets Electrified

On April 29, Vancouver City Council approved the proposed Climate Emergency Response recommendations. Among the many mandates it is demanding on its buildings, included are:

  • A target to require all new and replacement heating and hot water systems use only renewable energy by 2025 - meaning electrification and heat pumps.
  • A target of reducing embodied carbon emissions from new building and infrastructure projects by 40% by 2030, driving innovation in the reduction in cement use and increasing demand and innovation in mass timber.

In addition, Vancouver is adopting the BC Energy Step Code that pushes aggressively to Passive House levels of performance, while also providing seed funding for ZEBx, a local public-private collaboration and partner of Passive House Canada, to accelerate knowledge sharing and market transformation to a zero-carbon built environment.

All of this activity is fueling the desired acceleration, epitomized by the recently announced Earth Tower, a forty-story, mass timber, Passive House certified building.

New York Challenges Itself To Go Passive

In New York City, on April 18, the New York City Council passed Intro Bill 1253, with the explicit goal of reducing building carbon emissions rates 80% by 2050. The bill is aimed at buildings with 25,000 SF of floor area and larger, which represent a majority of greenhouse gas emissions produced by buildings in NYC - laying out three steps to the 80% reduction in 2050. The bill is supported by Mayor De Blasio, and is expected to be signed into law.

While there has been much debate over the new risks to owners, such as proposed penalties for noncompliance, possible alternative pathways of compliance and the various building occupancy types - drawing the ire of the massive real estate lobby - one thing is clear: that by utilizing the Passive House standard building owners can optimize their building’s carbon emissions and drastically reduce their potential risks. Existing Buildings should plan for EnerPHit and new buildings should be Passive Houses. Going forward, building a Passive House building will be the least risky path for new buildings in New York City, freeing the owner from concerns of alternative compliance mechanisms that may or may not be there in the future.


“Going forward, building a Passive House will be the least risky path for new buildings in New York City”


In New York, as well, the Building Energy Exchange has become an established public-private center for advanced building efficiency knowledge sharing, working closely with New York Passive House, North American Passive House Network and the Passive House Institute, among others, to support the acceleration of market transformation.

Vancouver & New York City: Together June 27 and 28

For the last six years, leaders of this transformation in policy, building design, construction, and supply chain support - from New York, Vancouver and many other jurisdictions - have come together at the North American Passive House Network Conference. In light of recent developments, this year stands to be bigger than ever. NAPHN19 is happening June 27 + 28 in New York City and 475 is pleased to be a sponsor of this two-day event, featuring leading edge efforts from around the world, at all scales, demonstrating and exploring bold implementation of policy and practice.

Together, let’s agitate!

banner photo credits: @luke_photograph and @vpedit18

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