New York City has updated its New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC), which now includes more stringent fenestration and building insulation requirements. The updated code will be current with the 2020 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State, which is based on the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016. The 2020 NYCECC will become effective May 12, 2020, the same effective date as the state’s energy code.

The update aligns the code with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) NYStretch Energy Code-2020, which was adopted by the New York City Council on March 29, 2020. Updates include:

  • Additional thermal envelope performance requirements for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling;

  • More stringent insulation and fenestration requirements for most assembly types;

  • Allowing source energy as a metric, instead of energy cost, for buildings choosing to comply with energy modeling; and

  • Whole building energy monitoring on commercial buildings.

Kathy Krafka Harkema, U.S. codes and regulatory affairs manager for the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance, says the updated energy code provides an opportunity for the city’s building owners to achieve greater energy efficiency through proper selection, installation and maintenance of today’s more energy efficient windows, doors and skylights.

“New York City prides itself on enacting stringent energy codes that increasingly save greater energy over the latest model building codes to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2020 New York City Energy Code includes energy efficiency requirements that will help to improve overall building envelope performance through installation of better performing and more energy efficient windows,” says Krafka Harkema. “Changes incorporated from ASHRAE 90.1-2016 include more stringent requirements for fenestration, which reduced the U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (0.36).”

Changes incorporated from the feedback of the NYC Energy Code Advisory Committee also include reduced U-factors for fenestration, as well as default U-factors for spandrel panel assemblies. U-factors are now material dependent, explains Krafka Harkema. Windows at higher elevations on a building also will require more structural support/framing.

New U-factor requirements in the 2020 NYCECC include:

  • Non-metal framing: U-factor of 0.28. This was previously a U-factor of 0.38 for fixed units and 0.45 for operable units;

  • Metal framing, fixed: U-factor of 0.30 (below 95 feet) and 0.36 (95 feet and above). Both previously required a U-factor of 0.38; and

  • Metal framing, operable: U-factor of 0.40 (below 95 feet and 0.42 (95 feet and above). Both previously required a U-factor of 0.45.

In addition, one- and two-family homes will be required to meet some mandatory requirements of the residential code when those homes are greater than three stories.

“The 2020 NYC Energy Code also requires thermal bridge documentation for all new buildings, including both commercial and residential construction. The requirement also applies to all additions to residential or commercial buildings, as well as any alteration where the building envelope is part of the project scope,” adds Krafka Harkema.

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