NYC Building Emissions Law

Will New York City Be Ready to Implement Landmark Building Emissions Law?

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.

Commercial buildings in the US consume 39% of America’s energy and 68% of its electricity. They further emit 38% of the carbon dioxide and overall 71 of NYC’s emissions are a by-product of building pollution. Studies also show that lightning, HVAC, and office equipment are responsible for most of the energy consumption in a typical building, which is good news for these are readily manageable.

In the face of such dire and direct consequences, certain penalties ply which vary for each local law. 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. Local Law 97 cannot experience compliance in isolation for its related laws sort of prepare the building to come into a fit condition to comply. These sustainability strengthening initiatives date back to 2009 – Local Laws 84, 87, and 133.

Local Law 87 mandates for buildings over 50,000 square feet to perform energy audits & retro-commissions periodically as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. The law intends for building owners to remain informed about their energy consumption patterns so as to ideally maximize energy efficiency and slash carbon emissions.


New York City Housing Authority’s public developments might not contain any penal consequences because a deal has been signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio which extended the LL97 deadlines. A program namely, PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) that is run by NYC Accelerator under the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, has also been put in place to facilitate financial assistance which empowers owners to borrow money for retrofits and incorporate renewable energy into the infrastructure. These revolve around green roofs, solar energy systems, upgraded HVAC systems, and improvements to sealing and air ventilation. However, the accelerator program has not offered the respite which was hoped for.

The Office of Buildings and Energy Emissions Performance takes care of rulemaking, oversight, public education, and information and its complicated navigation landscape is still struggling for funds.

We, The Cotocon Group, have a proven history of providing compliance services in New York City to building owners that helps acquire LEED certifications of all categories. We also hold abundant knowledge to avail of the best of rebates through the accelerator programs.

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.

Get Savvy to Measure and Verify Your Building's Emissions.