Local Law 97 Updates
January 16, 2024
The NYC DOB recently announced Draft Rules for Local Law 97, the nation’s first emissions limit law for existing buildings. The long-awaited rules outline alternative compliance pathways for the 2024-2029 period to allow buildings that are over the first set of limits to develop short and long-term decarbonization plans in lieu of paying fines.
What you need to know:
The new Draft Rules will give building owners additional time to develop and implement strategic decarbonization plans for upgrades and retrofits while optimizing their funds.
- Must be submitted by May 1, 2025
- Must outline measures to achieve 2024 limits by 2026
- Must outline measures to achieve limits for every future compliance period on time
- Must outline measures to achieve net zero by 2050
- Work to achieve 2024 limit must be completed by 2026
- Alteration work required to meet 2030 limit must be submitted to DOB by 2028
About Local Law 97:
Under the Climate Mobilization Act passed in 2019, Local Law 97 requires most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to meet limits on their greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2024 — with increasingly tight limits in 2030 and every 5 years through 2050 — or else face hefty fines. These fines are based on the square footage of your building and the emission score based on your building size.
A key component to Local Law 97, is having the correct building square footage reported. Occasionally, the square footage is incorrectly listed with the DOB leading to the possibility of incorrect violations. Ensuring your building square footage is correct is the highest impact, lowest lift action you can take now to prepare your building.
Hire a Professional
Buildings should hire a trained engineer or registered architect to measure and verify the dimensions of the entire structure of your building. This professional will be able to verify your building square footage and make sure the most accurate data is on record with the DOB.
If your building is currently filed with the incorrect square footage and is then updated with the accurate square footage, you may be able to avoid fines within the initial 2024-2029 compliance period and gain additional time to improve energy efficiency before the 2030-2034 period begins.
How HLZAE Can Help
HLZAE can undertake building square footage measurements and subsequent confirmations with the DOB with the goal of confirming a more accurate (reduced) square footage as compared to what is listed with the NYC department of finance so any possible fines may be reduced.
Every single space within your building must be accounted for. This includes spaces such as ground-floor retail tenants and even parking garages. Under Local Law 97, different space types will be subject to different emission limits. The City has published a list of nearly 60 space classifications and their respective carbon caps for 2024-2029. Building owners and boards will be held responsible for accurate reporting.
From the Outside In
Once the building facade has been thoroughly evaluated, taking a look at your buildings energy systems is the next best step. This can be done with an energy audit (which may have been completed already under Local Law 87). During this review, every aspect of your buildings internal systems needs to be examined and reviewed to find any potential opportunities to be repaired.
After your building evaluation is complete, don’t wait to make corrections. If you have already submitted this year’s Local Law 84 benchmarking report before the 5/1/2023 deadline, the DOB will allow you to revise the report with the newest data and resubmit by 8/1/2023. The new information will be used by the DOB moving forward.
Local Law 97 can seem daunting and intimidating, but HLZAE is here to help you each step of the way. Accurately filing your building square footage is the first step to putting a plan in place and help lower your energy emission score.
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