Historic Buildings Exempt From Energy Conservation

This morning I was browsing Brownstoner and came across a post that mentioned that landmarked buildings are exempt from the NYS Energy Conservation Guidelines. I sent off a note to our architect and his expediter (who’s also an architect), and it seems the exemption is somewhat new. It’s somewhat ironic though, considering all the hassle DOB put our expediter though last year to show compliance with the 2007 energy code when it now appears we’re exempt.

Here’s the explanation of the exemptions:

Buildings & Spaces

  • National- and State-designated historic buildings, buildings certified as contributing buildings within National or State historic districts, and buildings certified as eligible for such designation are exempt from the NYCECC (ECC 101.4.2).


  • The building thermal envelope of low-energy buildings is exempt from the NYCECC (ECC 101.5.2).

Work Types

  • Life-safety work types: FA, FP, SD, SP (ECC 101.6).
  • Other work types not regulated by the ECC: FB, FS, EQ, CC, OT/BPP, OT/FPP, (ECC 101.3).


Those codes will probably mean more to your architect than it does to you or me, but the big one is exemption from rules about the thermal envelope.

Of course, for practical reasons you want to be as energy efficient as possible, but this is the first case I’ve seen where landmarked buildings had less regulation than regular buildings – so it’s notable.

C of O issues @ DOB

Another post on Brownstoner is worth mentioning as well. DOB is requiring some poor homeowner to prove that their place is really 2 family when the DOB lists the building as 2 family and the DOF also lists it as 2 family. In other words, the DOB is not honoring their own building classification. The problem is larger buildings have I-Cards (the precursors to C of Os) which can prove prior approved usage, but with smaller buildings it’s extremely difficult to show when buildings were reclassified. In the case in question the building was converted from 1 family to 2 family in the 1930s.

Homeowner’s Night @ DOB

And lastly, I’ve been saying DOB really needs to help homeowners with their difficulties getting projects through the DOB bureaucracy. Well, it turns out DOB already does exactly that (who knew?) Tuesday night is Homeowner’s Night at DOB – from 4pm to 5:30. Just show up at your borough office and there will be someone to answer your questions. Though I did see someone recommend that you call first to confirm the meeting hasn’t been canceled.

4 thoughts on “Historic Buildings Exempt From Energy Conservation

  1. @Peter – I think the problem was the expediter didn’t know about the exemption and the plan reviewer didn’t know we were covered by the National Register of Historic Places.

  2. Hey Jay,

    The Landmarks exception has been in place since the adoption of the new energy code. The problem may have been the certification of your building or district.


    • No, we haven’t yet. We thought about it a couple weeks ago, but had other obligations that evening. Then once a week had past we figured we could just wait for the appointment.

      However if things don’t go well with the sprinkler plan review tomorrow we may go tomorrow night. We need that signed off urgently.

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