NYC's Recent Change to the Building Code for Elevator Shaft Ventilation Helps Building Owners Increase Energy Efficiency

The code previously required either a permanently open louver or a louver that was 1/3 permanently open, with the 2/3 portion being actuated by a smoke detector. The new 2014 building code has been changed as follows:

The total required open vent area shall not be required to be permanently open where all of the vent openings automatically open upon detection of smoke in the elevator lobbies or hoistway, upon power failure (except when provided with a code compliant standby power supply from an approved standby power source) or upon activation of a manual override control. The manual override control shall be capable of opening and closing the vents and shall be located in an approved location.

You can now install a permanently closed damper, so long as there is a manual means to open the vent located in an approved location.

Here is a link to an article by the New York Times regarding this code change and how implementing these changes can help make your building more energy efficient.