Bird friendly buildings bill passed in New York

New York City’s Council has passed legislation requiring new buildings to contain bird friendly materials, aiming to decrease bird deaths.

Under the bill, new buildings and glass renovations to old buildings will have to use materials that reduce avian collision risks.

The American Bird Conservancy note that up to a billion birds die in the US each year due to building collisions.

Under the new plans, 90% of exterior wall envelopes built or renovated will have to be constructed with bird friendly materials for the first 75ft.

Buildings next to green roofs will have to have contain bird friendly materials on the first 12ft.

New York City Council worked with a number of organisations providing background and solutions to the problem, including the American Bird Conservancy, New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, FXCollaborative and Ennead Architects.

Dr. Christine Sheppard, the American Bird Conservancy’s glass collisions program director, said: "Bird-friendly building design should not be seen as an add-on or an extra.

"Many strategies for controlling heat, light, and even security can be bird-friendly strategies, too. These can be incorporated into almost any building style, but should be built into project design from the outset to minimise additional costs. That’s why this kind of legislation is so important."

Dan Piselli, FXCollaborative’s director of sustainability, said: "It’s our ethical responsibility as members of the building industry to address the role of glass in bird population decline.

"This informed our strategy for renovating the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in 2013. Once identified by NYC Audubon as the city’s top bird-killing building, it was renovated with the goal of not only making the facility more transparent and welcoming, but also making it bird-friendly.

"New glass incorporated patterns that birds perceive as an obstacle and that also reduce cooling costs. Bird deaths have dropped by 90% and the building now uses less energy since the renovations were completed."

Resources and additional information is available via the American Bird Conservancy here.

Image: A seagull on Brooklyn Bridge (Bumbleedee/Dreamstime)

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