An Overview of Local Law 97

Local Law 97

Background of Local Law 97

            As part of the progressive Climate Mobilization Act passed by the City of New York in April 2019, Local Law 97 aims to significantly reduce the carbon emissions from buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. To achieve this goal, Local Law 97 will place carbon caps on the emissions from these buildings in order to cut the presence of greenhouse gases 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The permissible limits for the buildings are based on their occupancy type, such as business, educational, institutional, residential (hotels or multifamily), factory, etc. This New York City Green New Deal comprises several laws, but Local Law 97 is the most essential.

When Does It Come into Effect?

            Local Law 97 will officially be enforced starting on May 1st, 2025 when buildings will be required to submit an annual emissions report pertaining to the prior year, and continue to do so up until 2050. The report must be stamped by a Registered Design Professional, either a Registered Architect (RA) or a Professional Engineer (PE), and it must be accurate and on time. Currently, the limits for Local Law 97 are split into two time periods: 2024-2029 and 2030-2034, with the regulations becoming more stringent over time. The emission restrictions for the first five years are designed to affect the top 20% of emitters, while the latter five years aim to impact 75% of buildings. With such strict standards set in place, Local Law 97 calls for immediate action by building owners in order to meet the guidelines.

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Consequences Associated with Local Law 97

            To correctly measure the gases emitted by buildings, the emissions are calculated in kilograms of CO2 equivalent, per square foot and per year. The CO2 equivalent is an emissions metric within Local Law 97 that takes into account all greenhouse gases based on their equivalence to carbon dioxide. Any building that contains emissions above the limit is subject to a fine of $268 per year per metric ton, where a metric ton is equal to a thousandth of kilograms CO2 equivalent. Local Law 97 also has consequences for missed or false reports, forcing building owners to pay a fee of $0.50/sq.ft. per month for a missed report and $500,000 and up to 30 days in prison for a false report. To avoid any violations or fines associated with this NYC Green New Deal, building owners must take action and submit accurate and timely reports each year as well as ensure they are in compliance with the emission limits.

How to Comply with Local Law 97

            There are various ways to reduce building emissions and guarantee agreement with Local Law 97. For example, buildings can adjust temperature settings for space heating and hot water, upgrade lighting, add timers to exhaust fans, add heating system sensors and boiler controls, etc. At The Cotocon Group, those techniques are a huge part of the energy modeling we do, which immensely helps in cutting costs, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and meeting the Local Law 97 targets as well as other local laws. Other services that we perform that can aid in compliance with Local Law 97 are energy cost reduction analysis, premium quality benchmarking, and energy audits. Enacting energy management strategies takes time and effort, so it is imperative for building owners to take action to make beneficial energy-saving upgrades and reduce their carbon emissions. The Cotocon Group is devoted to helping New York City buildings meet the requirements of the upcoming sustainability laws like Local Law 97.