Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground Green Roof - Staten Island

The NYC Green Schools Guide and Rating System was developed to guide the sustainable design, construction and operation of new schools, modernization projects and school renovations, and to achieve compliance with Local Law 86 of 2005 (New York City's Green Building Law). Local Law 86/2005 established a set of demanding sustainable standards for public design and construction projects in general, and makes NYC one of the first and largest school districts in the nation to have sustainable guidelines required by law. 

On March 13, 2007, the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination determined that the NYC Green Schools Rating System is no less stringent than LEED for New Construction, version 2.2, for the achievement of a LEED Certified rating (the minimum required by Local Law 86/2005 for school projects). Copies of the independent review of the 2007 GSG, undertaken by OEC on behalf of the Mayor, and the Mayoral Findings can be downloaded from the Mayor's Office of Sustainability website at nyc.gov/oec.

Designing and building sustainable schools by following the NYC Green Schools Guide uses standards best suited to school buildings in New York City, and allows "building green" to be integrated with the SCA's other core mandates of designing and building high quality projects within aggressive timeframes and as cost effectively as possible.

The NYC Green Schools Guide 2007 was valid for applicable projects whose design started after January 1, 2007, but before June 26, 2009. It was last revised on May 1, 2009. For projects that started design on or after that date, applicable projects were required to follow the "NYC Green Schools Guide 2009" which was based on LEED 2009. An update to the 2009 guide, the "NYC Green Schools Guide 2016" applies to projects that started design after May 31, 2016. For convenience, changes from the 2009 guide are highlighted in yellow. Revisions effective 10/31/2018 in the 2016 are highlighted in pink. Projects being added to the Authority's current Capital Plan must comply with the "NYC Green Schools Guide 2019" which is based on LEED v4 and is currently in draft form as it is being submitted to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability (MOS) for review. Designers will be notified by A&E if the GSG 2019 is applicable to their assigned project. Click on the links below to view each of the guides. (Please note that for optimal viewing in hardcopy, as well as to conserve paper, the Green Schools Guide is designed to be printed double-sided).

*Local Law 32/2018 projects should utilize 2019 NYC Green Schools Guide Draft. This guide is pending review by the Mayor's Office of Sustainability.

If any errors are found in the Green Schools Guide or Forms please email the CADD Unit. The forms are regularly updated and should be taken from the website at the beginning of each phase of the project.

NYC Green Schools Rating System Forms

The following Green Schools Ratings System forms are an editable format of those provided in the 2009/2016/2019 Green Schools guides and are for the designers use in making submittals to the Authority.  These forms may differ slightly from those provided in the guides as they are updated when needed to correct errors that are found.  Designers will be notified by A&E of the GSG Rating System applicable to their assigned project.

To view the Green Schools Rating System Forms, you will need Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel installed.

















Energy Modeling Use Guide and Template

Energy Modeling is required for all Green School Guide projects. While there are several modeling software platforms with varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses permitted by the energy code, the Authority has determined that eQuest is the platform to be used on its projects. Previously the significance of modeling was to create a comparison of the percentage of energy savings against a baseline case for both GSG and LL 86 of 2005 compliance. However, the Local Law 31 of 2016 mandate of an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target has led the SCA to select one program so that variations in the modeling software algorithms and assumptions will not lead to schools meeting or not meeting the required targets.

The SCA has developed templates for use in project specific energy modeling based on its prototypical design case and different size buildings for use with eQuest.  The set of templates based on ASHRAE 90.1-2013 is intended to meet the required 20% energy savings over ASHRAE 90.1-2013 as required by LL 86 of 2005. There is also a set of templates based on ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for Green Schools Guide Compliance. ECMs to meet LL31 of 2016 requirements need to be modeled by the design teams.  For projects that required energy modeling but are based on earlier versions of ASHRAE 90.1, the templates can be revised to incorporate the provisions of the earlier ASHRAE 90.1 versions.

The intent of providing these templates is to give Designers a guide to creating their own project specific models so that the models are repeatable and use consistent information.  A major item that is often guess work by the designers is the occupancy schedule.  The templates provide this information which can thus be used.  Using a uniform format and providing the information in the same manner as these templates  will allow the Green Schools Guide Review Committee to more easily review the energy models presented with the green submissions.  Designers are to provide their own modeling reports in a similar manner.  When using the template, if the designer notices a parameter at odds with the SCA design requirements, please notify the GSG committee through NYCGSG-Submissions@nycsca.org    

The eQuest Energy Modeling Guide explains how to format the modeling report and is used in conjunction with the eQuest Input Summary report, which provides the schedules and other data to be used in the model.  As indicated, the data is applicable to the SCA's prototypical model and the designer will need to input project specific parameters if something other than the prototype values are used.  Energy modelers will need to update the building geometry to reflect the actual design, and will need to verify all baseline fan power and efficiency calculations based on allowances and equipment sizes.  Each of the zip folders contain the .inp, .pd2, and .pdl file for each size school.  The main difference between the "Large_School" and "Medium_School" files are the schedules, for which High Schools have extended hours.  Again, these templates are a starting point to improve consistency among models.

Of note is that ASHRAE 90.1-2013 baselines no longer use existing envelopes, and thus an existing building template is not provided.  For addition projects, the templates do have the option to use a packaged DX unit in the corridors to serve the space between a new building and existing if necessary. 

Sample Report

In order to provide a consistent format for relaying information from the energy model for review by the Green Schools Guide Committee, a sample for the report is provided.  The modeler is to ensure at a minimum information provided in the tables is included in their own report.

Review Checklist 

The SCA has developed eQuest Energy Model Review Checklists to help Designers quickly and easily review and assess input/output information in their proposed energy models.

The intent of providing these eQuest Energy Model Review Checklists is to give Designers a tool to provide an accurate eQuest energy model that  maybe scrutinized by BCC or Building Department audit.

Three (3) levels of the eQuest Energy Model Review Checklists have been developed to be utilized at different stages of the design and/or atypical designs.

eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 1

Designer should utilize eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 1 for all models submitted before 60% Construction Documents are fully developed. It's a quick overview for projects where a lot of mechanical and lighting information still needs to be finalized.

eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 2

Designer should utilize eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 2 for all models submitted at 60% and 100% Construction Documents. The Level 2 checklist includes more details, and should be adequate for projects that don't deviate much from the typical SCA design. 

eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 3

Designer should utilize eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist Level 3 for all projects that have schedules or space types that deviate from the typical SCA school, or projects where the results are very different from the typical values.

eQuest Results Checklist Report Annotated Example

The example shows locations of where the information in the checklist is listed in the report utilizing reference numbers.

GSG submissions should include results of the Designers eQuest Energy Model Review Checklist and the following eQuest energy modeling reports:

Report - BEPU: Building end use breakdown by fuel type Report - ES-D: Utility costs
Report - LV-B: Summary of Spaces
Report - LV-D: Details of Exterior Surfaces
Report - LV-H: Details of windows
Report - LV-I: Details of Constructions
Report - SV-A: System Design Parameters for HVAC (1 for each system)
Report - PV-A: Plant Design Parameters
Report - PS-E: Energy End-Use Summary for All Meters (one report for electricity, one for fuel)
NYC Sustainability Laws

The City of New York green building laws set sustainable standards mandate by the NYC Green Schools Guide. The following local law and code requirements pertain to sustainability and green buildings. Refer to legislation text and compliance flowcharts below:

Local Law 86/05

Local Law 130/13 and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 06/16 and Compliance Flowchart 

Local Law 31/16 and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 32/16 and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 97/17 and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 32/18

Local Law 33/18 (as amended by Local Law 95 of 2019) and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 94/19 and Compliance Flowchart

Local Law 97/19

Green Schools Guide Construction Toolkits

Green Schools Guide Construction Toolkits

In order to assist the construction team, consisting of the Contractor, Project Officer and Architect, to successfully track and document the construction phase credits for the GSG Rating System, the SCA has developed the following Toolkits.

These Toolkits highlight the sustainability requirements included in the Contract Documents and what credits they are applied to. They should not be considered all inclusive; they are based on the current SCA Standard Specifications and thus the Contract Documents may have different or additional requirements that are to be incorporated in the same manner.

Geothermal Feasibility Guide

The New York City Geothermal Screening Tool can help identify areas where ground source, or geothermal heat pump systems, may be an option for building heating and cooling systems. The tool allows building owners to conduct a feasibility study before installing them and verifies geothermal system applicability per LL06/16.


For projects that indicate geothermal system feasibility, utilize the SCA Geothermal Feasibility Tool. Utilize the feasibility tool, sample report, template report and user guide below accordingly. This tool provides more detail and will be used as the report to the Mayor's Office of Sustainability to justify proceeding or not proceeding with a geothermal design.

SCA Geothermal Feasibility Tool

SCA Geothermal System Design Team Sample Report

SCA Geothermal System Design Team Template Report

SCA Geothermal System Feasibility Tool User Guide

Climate Resiliency Design Guide

The Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines assists in integrating historic and predicted climate change data into the project planning process. The guidelines help project teams assess risks and determine design strategies useful for the integrative design process. Designers are required as part of their submission to indicate the impact to the design based on the guidelines for determination of implementation by the SCA


Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines-Design Strategies Checklist

Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines-Exposure Screening Tool

Green Infrastructure Feasibility Guide

LL31/16 compliant capital projects will need to consider the feasibility of designing and constructing such project to incorporate green infrastructure, per Local Law 97/17.

While the Green Infrastructure Feasibility Guide is currently under development, project teams must still demonstrate feasibility and magnitude of cost above DEP required site detention.

GSG Sample Submissions

The following are examples for each design submission phase of a submission that is fairly complete and uses the appropriate Green Schools Guide forms.

The content of all the samples may or may not have been accepted by the GSG Committee reviewing the submission, but is intended to provide guidance as to a format that will expedite the review process and reduce the need for multiple resubmissions. Each phase submission is to be resubmitted separately until it is deemed complete. Click on the link for the appropriate sample submission for the appropriate Rating System.

To view the Green Schools Rating Sample Submissions, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, follow the link below to install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader Please note that provided sample submissions serve only as references and are project-specific.

2019 Rating System Sample Submission

  • Schematic (Under development)

2016 Rating System Sample Submission

2009 Rating System Sample Submission

GSG Presentation

GSG Presentations

As a further guide to completing the GSG Submission, click on the links to presentations Below.