Hastings is Adopting a Unique Green Building Code

Hastings on Hudson, a village with a population of just over 9,400, located east of the Hudson River, less than 20 miles north of Times Square, conducted a final public hearing last evening on its custom written Green Building Code.

The Code is unique because it was written by a group of residents from this village. It is not based on LEED, the IgCC, ASHRAE 189.1 nor any of the national green codes, rating systems or standards. Few other local governments have undertaken the daunting task of writing a green building code from scratch. In point of fact, more than 400 local governments across the country tie their green policies to LEED. 

In Hastings, the 20 page proposal was worked on for three years by volunteers seeking a more sustainable community and provides,

The intent of this Green Building Code is to minimize short-term and long-term negative impacts on the environment; reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate human impact on the climate; and provide owners and occupants with economic benefits from energy and water savings, use of renewable energy sources and sustainable building products and practices.

The Code will apply to all residential and commercial projects that require a building permit.

The custom code regulates a broad breadth of the usual green building requirements, including: stormwater, heat island – non roof, irrigation, native plantings, bicycle racks, electric vehicle charging stations, light trespass, energy monitoring dashboards, reduced interior water use, low VOC paints, reflective White roofs unless vegetated, construction waste recycling and mechanical system commissioning.

In addition to those mandated requirements, the Code delineates a list of ‘greener’ optional sustainable measures. Projects over a minimum size must achieve at least 5 points from the list that includes: rainwater harvesting, economy of wood construction framing, geothermal hearting, photovoltaics, passive solar heating strategies, use of LEDs, salvaged or reused materials, local materials, FSC certified wood, restoring sites with native plants, and other “sustainability measures” suggested by the builder.

While there has been little public comment on the Code, one criticism is that projects in Hastings will apparently not be eligible for New York state’s new property tax exemption for building that meets LEED standards or meets “a similar program for green buildings”.

That observed, the Village Trustees of Hastings are striving to be “at the forefront of best building practices in the country today.”

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