BECx Providers Note: NYC Is for The Birds

One of the unintended consequences of designing elegant, light-filled glass structures is that an estimated 100 million birds are killed annually in the US as a result of collisions with buildings. NYC Audubon estimates that up to 230,000 birds are killed every year from flying into the city’s buildings.

On December 9, NYC Committee on Housing and Buildings voted unanimously to pass a Local Law to amend the New York city administrative code and the building code, in relation to bird friendly materials. The regulation will require that, effective one year from date passed by the City Council (expected NYC Council Vote on Tuesday, December 17), 90% of the external building envelope for the first 75 feet of new construction and major alterations be made of bird-safe materials, to make glass appear as an obstacle to birds but still provide transparency for humans.

The new Local Law also requires that bird-friendly materials be installed on the entirety of the first 12 feet of a building’s exterior walls that are adjacent to a green roof system, on the entirety of the first 75 feet of fly-through conditions and on the entirety of bird-hazard installations — glass awnings, handrails, windbreak panels and acoustic barriers — no matter the height.

At the same time, both houses of the NY State legislature passed Senate Bill S25B to establish a council to promote the use of bird-friendly building materials and design features in buildings, but the Bill was vetoed by the Governor in November. Several California cities including San Francisco and Oakland have already adopted bird-friendly building envelope rules.

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