NYC DoB Local Law 97

NYC Department of Buildings Releases Local Law 97 Regulations

New York City’s Department of Buildings (DoB) has released the draft regulations on how city’s building owners can reduce their building’s carbon emissions to meet the standards set by NYC Local Law 97 of the Climate Mobilization Act. The new regulations pave way for building owners to understand how they can calculate their building’s GHG emissions and how the law is structured to get gradually more and more stringent. Buildings that fail to comply with the law will face huge fines starting in 2024. Most importantly, the proposed rules dramatically expand LL97’s available occupancy use groups to include all Energy Star use groups; set the GHG coefficient for utility electricity for LL97’s second compliance period (i.e., 2030-2034); establish new restrictions on the use of Renewable Energy Certificates (“REC”) as a means of compliance; and confirm that an owner’s good faith efforts to comply with LL97 and other mitigating factors will be considered by the Department when determining penalties for non-compliance.

DOB will accept comments on the proposed rules through November 14, 2022. A public hearing on the proposed rules will be held by DOB on that same date.

One of the major proposed rules now extends the number of occupancy groups of buildings from the initial 10 to 61, which is all the Energy Star use groups. This is supposed to help building owners better identify their energy usage and they can calculate their GHG emissions more accurately according to their occupancy group. This allows for a more detailed approach to establishing their GHG limits.

The city has also established the GHG coefficient for utility electricity for the 2030-2034 compliance period.

The proposed DOB rule also refines the calculations used for setting emission limits for each building covered by the law. A building’s emissions limit is calculated by multiplying the square footage of each occupancy group within the building by the GHG coefficient assigned to those occupancy groups. LL97 used the occupancy groups identified in the NYC Building Code. The proposed DOB regulations would instead use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager property types, which are more detailed than the NYC Building Code occupancy groups and are intended to capture the differences in energy usage among narrower subsets of property types than those identified in the NYC Building Code. The proposed DOB rule also sets forth the GHG coefficients for property types through 2050; zero GHG emissions across all property types will be required by and after 2050.

According to the proposed rules, the calculations are now to be done as the following:

An annual building emissions report submitted pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section must be prepared using the calculation methodologies set forth in this subdivision.

(1) Gross floor area. The owner must calculate and report the gross floor area of a covered building, and the floor area of each occupancy group or property type in a covered building. The floor area of each occupancy group or property type reported must add up to the covered building’s gross floor area.

(2) Building emissions limits.

(i) Buildings with a single occupancy group. The building emissions limit for a covered building with a single occupancy group or property type must be calculated as the gross floor area multiplied by the emissions factor for the building’s occupancy group or property type.

(ii) Buildings with multiple occupancy groups. The building emissions limit for a covered building with multiple occupancy groups or property types must be calculated as the sum of the emissions factor for each occupancy group or property type multiplied by the floor area of each occupancy group or property type in the covered building:

B = ∑ Lk . Sk

Where:

B = the total building emissions limit for a covered building with multiple occupancy groups.

Lk = the emissions factor of each given occupancy group or property type, k, as specified in Article 320 or in this rule, in tCO2e per square foot.

Sk = the total floor area in square feet of each property type or occupancy group, k, in a covered building.

As we know, the penalties for noncompliance with NYC Local Law 97 are significant and building owners need to start taking seriously starting now. Many buildings are currently not on track to meet compliance, and deadlines are approaching quickly. The Cotocon Group holds over a decade of experience in Building Sustainability Compliance and reducing carbon emissions. Reach out to us today on (212) 889-6566 oremail us and we will help you out!