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Local Law 97 Overview: How Does the Climate Mobilization Act Affect Building Owners in NYC?

With an increased focus on sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, New York City officials introduced legislation to reduce carbon emissions from large buildings. Part of the Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97, will go into effect in 2024, and includes limitations on carbon emissions depending on a building’s city classifications. If you own or manage a property in New York City, understanding and complying with Local Law 97 is crucial to avoid penalties. Here’s what you need to know: 

What is Local Law 97? 

Local Law 97 was enacted in 2019 with the larger goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The law requires most buildings over 25,000 square feet, including residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties, to meet specific carbon emissions limits based on factors including building type, occupancy class and energy usage. 

The initial compliance period begins in 2024, and the emission limits will become progressively stricter through 2030. Fines for exceeding your annual carbon emissions cap will begin in 2025 and are $268 for every metric ton in excess. The first energy compliance reports are due May 1, 2025. See here for more information about emission limits and reporting

How Building Owners Can Ensure Compliance 

Remaining in compliance with Local Law 97 requires planning and diligent action. Here are some essential steps building owners can take to meet the emissions reduction targets: 

  • Conduct an Energy Audit: Start by conducting a comprehensive energy audit to assess your building’s current carbon emissions and energy usage. This audit will serve as a baseline for developing a customized emissions reduction strategy. 
  • Implement Energy-Efficient Measures: Invest in energy-efficient technologies and upgrades to reduce your building’s carbon footprint. This may include LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems and smart building automation. 
  • Adopt Renewable Energy Sources: Consider incorporating renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to offset your building’s emissions and move towards cleaner energy alternatives. 
  • Enhance Building Doors: Improve insulation and seal any air leaks in your building’s exterior doors to enhance energy efficiency and reduce wasted energy. 
  • Engage with Tenants or Employees: Depending on your building type, work collaboratively with tenants or employees to encourage energy-saving behaviors and promote sustainability initiatives within the building. 

Next Steps 

As the initial LL97 period begins next year, proactive planning is crucial to ensure compliance before the initial LL97 period begins next year. To avoid fines, it’s important to determine if you are exceeding your carbon emissions cap. For a list of businesses affected by LL97, see here. For more information or to speak to a member of the Janover real estate team about LL97 and how it may affect your business, contact Jason Hoffman, Alan Hoffman or Ryan Glasco.  

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