The struggle to design green buildings amid shifting legal, tech landscape

Sunday, May 21, 2023 - 14:32 in Earth & Climate

The push to prepare American cities and towns for greater climate resilience has become more urgent in recent years as scientific evidence of warming mounts and extreme weather events grow more common. Officials in many states, including Massachusetts and New York, are enacting new rules requiring developers and property owners to change or reduce the type or amount of energy used in their buildings, to incorporate certain construction materials and technology while excluding others, and to plan for rising seas and stormwater runoff. These rules are adding extra costs to projects and sometimes require using relatively unproven technologies. And the rapidly shifting scientific, regulatory, and technological landscapes mean that even the most forward-thinking projects can soon be rendered obsolete, which is what happened with One Vanderbilt, a skyscraper near Grand Central Station. The project, intended to be an environmental showpiece, faced potential retrofitting of its innovative green heating-power system by the...

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