As Manhattan grows and progresses, change, with regard to building performance, is inevitable. Many newly constructed buildings uphold sustainable standards from the start; yet, the city is overwhelming settled with existing structures that need some upgrading – case in point, the retrofit project of the Empire State building that will cut energy usage by close to 40% and carbon emissions by over 100,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. As the city tries to put its greenest face forward by retrofitting older buildings and adding sustainable features, zoning laws from the 1960s did not account for, and thus, in some cases do not allow, such changes. Recently, the city has introduced its latest initiative, Zone Green, which Amanda Burden, Chair of the City Planning Commission, has called the most comprehensive effort of any U.S. city to sweep aside zoning obstacles to the construction and retrofitting of green buildings. ”Removing zoning impediments to green buildings will give building owners more choices to make investments that save money, save energy, and improve the quality of our environment,” explained Burden.
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