Data from 2015 indicated that New York City buildings were responsible for 67 percent of citywide greenhouse gas emissions. In a citywide effort to combat further environmental damage, the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) updated their energy-efficiency standards for new construction and remodels to also apply to existing buildings. All new roof applications would need to meet stringent local codes for the building’s energy performance.
But adding on layers of insulation to the building envelope posed considerable challenges and costs to the building owner.
“There would have been three or four major renovations that would need to be done to the roof,” says Andrew Wilson with Kingspan, who worked with the building owner on the project.
“The biggest change was probably the railing details. In New York, you have to have your railing details a certain height, so, when they add additional insulation needed to meet the current code of R-30, the railings would be too shallow, which means you’re not compliant with regulations for railing details.”
Repairs to the roof’s terrace brought up additional issues. Three door entries led to the building’s terrace, and any new insulation added would raise the roof’s paver system. All of the door thresholds would then need to be raised, which meant contractors would need to address all flashing on the roof.
In addition to all of the extra renovations, any nearby rental space in the building would need to be cleared out.
“The biggest concern for the client,” says Andrew, “was that they would have to take the renters out of that building during the renovation because there was going to be heavy work done. So they would have to move them out of there, losing that space for six to nine months, which is a huge loss of income for them.”