Here is a good general check list to keep in mind when building:

Sustainable Site

Stormwater run-off reduced
Alternate transportation nearby
Urban Heat Island Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution reduced

Native drought-resistant plantings; permeable paving
Light-colored, high-reflectance, low-emissivity roofing
Skylights and windows screened to limit bothersome light escape at night
Urban setting near public transportation

Water Efficiency

Potable water use reduced in building
Landscaping uses no potable water

Low-flow fixtures, flow restrictors
Native drought-resistant plants requiring no irrigation


Fossil fuel use reduced
Energy use reduced – 33% over a baseline NYS Energy Conservation Code 1991
Annual energy savings of $9,400 (2002 rates)
Payback – 11 years simple payback of energy conserving measures
Ozone depletion reduced
System-operations integrated

Geothermal heat pumps, open loop water-to-water
Daylighting for all regularly occupied spaces, using windows, skylights, light shelves, fritted glass curtain wall
High-performance lighting, daylight dimming, occupancy controls
Natural ventilation with skylight louvers and operable windows
BMS system with remote monitoring
Terra cotta rainscreen panel system provides breathable exterior wall
High-efficiency multi-zone variable-air-volume system and controls
Commissioning of systems
Stairs inviting and centrally located to encourage use

Material Conservation

Recycled materials used
Local products given preference
Rapidly renewable products used
Forest Stewardship Council wood products required
Materials conserved

Major materials targeted for recycled content, including ceiling tiles, rubber flooring made from tires, terrazzo flooring, wheat-board substrates, fly-ash in concrete, steel, gypsum board
Bamboo wood flooring, rubber and linoleum resilient flooring, cork display boards
Lumber and wood veneer from managed forests required
Materials for exterior cladding reduced by design
Rain screen used at the exterior facade

Healthy Interiors

Controlled daylight maximized; views outside maximized
Reduced exposure to toxins, volatile organic compounds, urea formaldehyde
Occupant-controlled lighting, heating, and cooling
Building systems and occupants protected from construction contamination
Sound from HVAC components controlled

Expansive low-emissivity glazing, controlled from glare – atrium skylights with louver-controlled sun filters, clear north-facing windows, light shelves/fritted glass on the east, deep-set south windows
Natural ventilation; air intakes remote from street traffic
Low-emitting paints, adhesives, sealants, non-urea-formaldehyde wheat-board
Separate ventilation for interior service areas; walk-off grilles
Air quality management during construction planned
AC units mounted on roof curbs; sound attenuators in ductwork.

Taken from NYC Dept of Design and Construction