New York's mayor has told city agencies to build with climate change in mind while private developers are pushing the envelope on passive design

New York City dropped to number two behind Washington, DC in the green buildings awards stakes year, but a new set of guidelines from the mayor's office on resilient building might push the Big Apple back to the top spot in 2018.

The guidelines instruct city agencies to build with climate change in mind, and to include projections for climate impacts through to 2080. New public buildings are to include robust backup systems for power outages, window shades and building angling to avoid direct sunlight, and use materials that absorb heat.

Green roofs and permeable pavements are also suggested against increasing storms. In spite of flood risk, New York’s waterfront magnetically attracts luxury development, and the resilience standards are not mandatory for private builders. Yet just as green building standards were at first rejected and then adopted by the design and construction community, resilience rules are likely to enter the mainstream. Hurricane Sandy was a seminal storm that altered the view on the need for resilience against climate events.

Across the East River from Manhattan, Hunter’s Point South Park has a storm protection buffer park of ten acres; meanwhile a 100-unit passive building further southeast from the city in Far Rockaway in...

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