Sometimes, it actually is easy being green. Starting this month, all new commercial buildings in the Town of Islip must be at least 20 percent more energy-efficient than the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code requires. That's a carbon idea worth copying.
Islip, following other towns, had already mandated that new homes meet Energy Star efficiency standards. Now, the town is setting the pace for commercial construction.
Town Councilman John Edwards has been working with the Suffolk County Planning Commission to create model codes for towns to adopt countywide, and some of the commission's work helped inspire the 20 percent idea for Islip. Edwards considered requiring commercial builders to comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, which cover not only energy efficiency, but other environmental issues. But those standards are more complicated, and the approvals take more time than they will in the process the town ultimately chose.
To comply with the state code, builders already have to do a computer analysis of their design's energy efficiency. The Islip law simply adds another 20 percent on top of that, wisely leaving it to builders to decide how to reach the higher goal.
Making it easier to make buildings greener is smart. It would be smarter still to make more buildings greener in a uniform process from town to town. hN