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De Blasio insists his ban on glass-and-steel buildings is real

Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t crack on his claims that he will bar future glass-clad buildings, despite clear evidence his administration&…; intends nothing of the sort.

De Blasio first announced on Earth Day that he would push legislation to “ban the glass-and-steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming”—an announcement that caught both the City Council and real estate community by surprise, sources told Crain’s. The mayor and his aides quickly qualified his remarks, saying the administration is only advocating a change in the city’s energy code that would still permit developers to use glass with heat-retaining properties or otherwise modify their building operations to increase efficiency.

But when radio host Brian Lehrer pressed him on the subject Friday, the mayor resumed his assertion that this policy, in fact, was a bold and sweeping prohibition on glass-and-steel buildings.

“It’s a ban, and I’ll tell you why,” the mayor said.

The mayor proceeded not to tell Lehrer why his proposal constituted a “ban,” but instead launched into a lengthy digression noting President Donald Trump’s declared opposition to the proposal.

De Blasio did, however, reiterate talking points he first expressed Monday: that too many facades on city buildings leach heat into the air and require energy-intensive climate controls.

“The idea here is that the glass-and-steel skyscrapers that predominated here and all over the world were just hemorrhaging energy,” he said on his weekly WNYC appearance. “They were built for the aesthetics, they were built in the idea of the owners to be monuments to themselves. But what happened was they emitted a huge amount of greenhouse gases and were fundamental to the problem of global warming.”

But even then, he had to concede his proposal is not, in fact, a blanket ban on glass sheathing.

“It is true that if a building owner wants to invest a lot more to make sure that-that glass is not inefficient—it’s a major investment to do that—they can still have, certainly, a notable amount of glass,” he said. He has yet to introduce a bill to make the change or release any details about it.

The mayor mainly vented on existing buildings he deemed “too negative for our environment.” But construction industry insiders noted that developers have moved aggressively toward air-sealing panes and special coatings to increase the efficiency of their building facades and depress energy consumption. They noted, moreover, that glass admits a great deal of daylight, which helps keep electricity bills down and improves workers’ productivity and well-being.

“Glazing that is being used on significant buildings in New York is high-efficiency, and much higher-efficiency than what has been used in years past,” said architect Marc Weissbach, founder of the consulting firm Vidaris. “The idea that you are going to outlaw glass buildings is really nonsense.”

SOURCE: Section Page News – Crain’s New York Business – Read entire story here.