Ever walk down a street in New York City and see a brown street sign? These are very special and it means that the buildings on the block are considered Historic/Landmark properties. Buildings in these locations need to go through a special Landmark Approval process whenever construction changes are made to the property in order to ensure the historic nature of the building is maintained.

Before we go into what that means for solar, let’s take a short walk through NYC street sign history…

Street signage in New York City today is an amalgamation of modern-day standardization and references to historical styles. A few of the signs from the 1960s and 1970s remain, but the majority are the recognizable green and white signs were inspired by the color of U.S. highway signs. Any green signs with a Statue of Liberty date from the 1986 anniversary.

The larger blue street signs are a reference to the “humpback” style of signage that date from the 1910s to the 1930s. The brown signage was introduced in 1989 to demarcate historic districts on the 25th anniversary of the Landmarks Law. Only streets within official historic districts can have the brown signage, whose terracotta color was designed to blend nicely with New York’s limestone and brownstone buildings.

Sometimes one side of a street can be part of a historic district, while the other is not. This can lead to two sides of the street having different colored signs, like at Henderson Place on the Upper East Side.

Ok, so back to how this affects solar. In order to install solar on a home or business deemed as a Landmarks property, we must go through the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is the largest municipal preservation agency in the nation. It is responsible for protecting New York City’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark or historic district status, and regulating them after designation.

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

There are more than 36,000 landmark properties in New York City, most of which are located in 142 historic districts and historic district extensions in all five boroughs. The total number of protected sites also includes 1,412 individual landmarks, 120 interior landmarks, and 11 scenic landmarks.

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

As part of EcoMen’s design process, we work with our NYC Architects to ensure compliance with the protective rules of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. There are a number of steps involved in order to design and install a solar system that meets the current needs of the property while respecting the past. This process can take several months to go through but at the end the property will receive an approved notice from LPC on the installed work. Such approvals depend on the specific site and include Notices of Compliance and Certificates of No Effect. Below are some samples from successfully completed EcoMen Solar installations.

Sample NYC Landmarks Certificate Of No Effect

Sample NYC Landmarks Notice of Compliance

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