The Climate Mobilization Act, more infamously known as the Local Law 97 is an ambitious piece of legislation which aims to reduce GreenHouse Gas emissions substantially (80%) come 2030. The new target of the law are the large, commercial buildings, and rightfully so because they contribute to 65% of the carbon footprint of the city. The bill states “There shall be, at minimum, a 40% reduction in citywide emissions by calendar year 2030, and an 80% reduction in citywide emissions by calendar year 2050, relative to such emissions for the base year for citywide emissions.”
The path to compliance with LL97 is a comprehensive task for each building has a unique energy profile, which calls for tailored retrofixes to enhance energy efficiency.
Who does it apply to?
It applies to the new and existing buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, or groups of two or more buildings that are collectively 50,000 square feet under the same tax lot or part of the same condominium project.
Who is exempted?
The following building types are not required to comply to the Local Law 97:
- A classified religious place of worship
- Nonprofit hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Industrial buildings used predominantly to generate electric power or steam
- Rent-regulated housing
- Housing that is owned by (or on land owned by) the NYC housing authority
- Buildings that are part of a federal housing program
- Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) properties
- Multi-family dwellings of 3 stories or lower, with no central HVAC or hot water system
- City-owned buildings (except senior colleges in the City University of New York system)
Even though the building limits are set through for 2050, the law takes an incremental approach to carbon reduction by setting progressive, periodic goals. The first two goals have been set for the years 2024-2029, and 2030-2034. For the years 2035-2050, the emissions limit will be set in 2023. All buildings are required to submit an annual report by May 1 which ought to be certified by a design professional stating that the building is in compliance.
The cost of non-compliance
Non-compliance is deemed penal with fines designated by The City at $268 per metric ton for the exceeded carbon footprint! Fines are also designated for submitting false reports and worse, for not submitting a report. You can calculate your building’s fine by converting its carbon footprint from kg to metric tons ( divide by 1,000) and then multiply the difference between the limit and your actual carbon footprint by $268.
How is a commercial building impacted?
The initial limits of 2024 and 2030 are intended to impact the worst 20% and worst 75% carbon emitters, respectively. An average building is likely to meet the 2024 requirements but will potentially be able to meet the 2030 requirements only with sincere, external interventions.
Building owners have thus been granted these 10 years to identify and implement energy upgrades.
Business stability in contemporary times mandates environmental compliances. With everyone adapting the triple bottom line, which caters to profit, people and the planet simultaneously and equally, caring about the planet and people implies caring about your business.