03 Sep NYC Local Law 97 – Prepare Now for the Future
What is NYC Local Law 97?
Beginning in 2024, buildings over 25,000 square feet will have to meet carbon emissions limits based on the facility’s occupancy group type. The New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, which is an ambitious package of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050. This “Green New Deal” will take effect in 2024 and is comprised of eleven pieces of legislation, but the centerpiece is the carbon emissions limits law for large NYC buildings (Local Law 97 of 2019).
These carbon emission limits are based on the building’s occupancy group type. Once established, an emissions intensity report must be submitted by May 1st of every year starting in 2025. Although it begins in 2025, the report must be from the year prior (2024) so building owners need to start preparing as soon as possible. The emissions report must be stamped by a registered design professional, a registered architect, or a professional engineer. Failure to submit an annual report will result in fines. The penalty for a missed report is $0.50 per sq. ft. per month. This means if a building 100,000 sq. ft. would receive a penalty of $50,000 per month not in compliance.
The following case study is an actual building that The Cotocon Group is currently the ENERGY STAR Service and Product Provider (SPP). These GHG emissions projections show how efficiently run buildings by 2020 standards can still be at risk of violation for 2024.
As seen in this picture, fines and violations can get expensive if the report is not taken care of right away. Now is the time to start preparing while you still have time to combat it. These fines will affect the value of your building, cause your building to lose value, and impact your assets.
How are Building Emissions Measured?
The carbon emissions a building can produce are measured by that building’s total energy consumptions and the distribution of those consumptions among sources. These sources can be grid electricity, natural gas, on-site solar power, heating oil, etc. There can be on-site emissions, exhaust from furnaces or boilers, or off-site emissions, the emissions from power plants. A useful tool to calculate emissions is The Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This energy consumption profile tool is already used by property managers to benchmark their buildings and comply with Local Law 84 and Local Law 133. Benchmarking calculates emissions based on the greenhouse gas coefficients published for each source.
There are alternate compliance options and emission deductions for buildings with limited capital. If your building uses clean distributed energy sources or purchases greenhouse gas offsets it can receive an emission deduction. Examples include tidal energy, wave energy, solar photovoltaics, hydroelectricity, etc. Buildings can also comply with LL97 of 2019 by applying prescriptive energy efficiency measures. Examples include inspecting and repairing leaks in heating systems, adding insulation to steam condensate tanks or water tanks, weatherization, air sealing, etc. An energy audit is highly recommended to be able to identify the most effective energy efficiency measures.