SYRACUSE, NY — New York has become the first state in the nation to approve incentives for the construction and rehabilitation of commercial (20,000-sq-ft) buildings using environmentally enhanced “green” designs.

With its May 5 adoption of the 2000-2001 budget, the state established a tax credit offering building owners $25 million worth of incentives over the next five years in exchange for conforming to a prescribed set of green building standards.

Among these standards, a 10% credit will be allowed for the purchase of new air conditioning equipment (excluding installation) that uses EPA-approved, non-ozone-depleting refrigerants.

“The passage of the green building tax credit clearly puts New York State out front in environmental leadership,” said John Mandyck, vice president of government and international relations, Carrier Corp.

“States can play a valuable role in providing incentives to building owners to consider every way to build environmentally friendly buildings.”

Governor George Pataki proposed the tax incentives to the state legislature in January to help accelerate the development of green buildings in the state.

“Governor Pataki’s leadership on the green building tax credit was tremendous. He has once again proven his ability to champion smart, creative environmental policy for New York,” said Mandyck.

Other legislators who supported the program include Sen. John DeFrancisco, Sen. Roy Goodman, Assemblymen Richard Brodsky and Paul Tonko, Sen. Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman.

Following the 'LEED'-ers

Elements of the state’s new program are patterned closely after the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program (see article on page 59).

“The USGBC was helpful in supporting our efforts in Albany and attesting to the importance of including the provision addressing ozone protection,” said Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman of the USGBC and director of communications and environmental affairs for Carrier.

A green building integrates the latest technologies, designs, and standards for reducing pollution and waste and improving occupant health and productivity.

“We are particularly proud that this ‘first-of-its-kind’ legislation recognizes the advantages of non-ozone-depleting refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons,” Mandyck said. “New York’s actions already have, and will undoubtedly continue to, spur similar interest in other states.”