Building Decarbonization NYC

Big Buildings Hurt the Climate. New York City Hopes to Change That

As per all plying climate treaties, the most important being The Paris Agreement, CO2 emissions must be eliminated by 2040 to keep our planet habitable at 1.5 degrees celsius. The buildings and real estate sector need to seriously buckle up because of the total emissions, building operations are responsible for 28%, and materials and construction another 11%!

The pressing need has been realized and addressed well in the Climate Mobilization Act, which is a comprehensive piece of legislation enacted in May of 2019. It was designed to reduce New York City’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 40% (2030), and up to 80% (2050), but ideally to achieve net zero by 2050.

GHG is the primary driver of the unprecedented rate at which climate change is taking place. Reducing emissions thus, from buildings is most significant as buildings contribute nearly three-quarters of citywide emissions owing to the consumption pattern vis-a-vis electricity use, HVAC, etc. The legislation with its package of bills aims to evolve these consumption patterns for optimum efficiency and via cleaner energy sources. It is also estimated that 2/3rd of these buildings will continue to exist come 2040, making retro-commissioning, re-commissioning, or commissioning a necessity.

What exactly constitutes the CMA and how does it address climate change?

To facilitate the ambitious goal, a series of bills were passed. The centerpiece of the legislation is Local Law 97, among other laws. This is the part of the bill which specifically mandates what the greenhouse emissions limits are for each building type. More than 50,000 buildings will get impacted overall. In 2024, about 25% of those will be directly affected by the carbon emissions limit and practically every building in NYC by 2030. A typical commercial office building in midtown Manhattan of 250,000 sq ft. producing over 1.5 tons of stipulated carbon limits will be looking at a fine of over $100,000, and progressively for each year that follows.

Local Law 97 was enacted in 2019 as part of the Climate Mobilization Act to essentially place hard carbon caps on various building types – residential or commercial, that are larger than 25,000 sq. ft. The law gets implemented in 2024, only to become more stringent with time to accomplish its grander goal of 80% carbon reduction by 2050. Many buildings have significantly reported being way over permissible limits requiring immediate intervention with retrofitting and alternative compliance.

The Climate Mobilization Act impacts multiple stakeholders in NYC’s real estate marketplace. To remain ahead of the curve and protected from having to bear heavy penalties, seeking expert consultancy is best recommended. It does so by taking ensuring compliance vis-à-vis the following as well:-

1. Local Law 92 & 94: these laws mandate green architecture on all new construction or renovation of a certain scale in NYC, in the form of green roofs, wind power, and solar PV.

2. Local law 95: the law enables better-suited labels. It guides in adjusting metrics that are used for letter grades to assess a building’s energy performance.

3. Local law 96 – PACE: The law helps establish clean energy financial tools for building owners by laying the groundwork for Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). The program is a way of financing retrofits for the buildings to be able to comply with LL97.

4. Local Law 98: The law obligates the Department of Buildings to include wind energy generation in its toolbox of renewable energy technologies.

We, The Cotocon Group, have a history that demonstrates its devotion to addressing climate change via offering compliance services that help avail institutional safety through various certifications like the LEED.  Our highly skilled team ensures building owners meet all the requirements from strategizing, budgeting, and handling documentation along with curating the information that needs to be shared by conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning to generating and submitting the Energy Efficiency Report within the deadline. We will demonstrate that the greatest return on investment for building owners is investing in energy efficiency, which positively impacts the whole ecosystem.