Another major decarbonization initiative that’s been making waves this year is New York City’s Local Law 97, which we actually reported on just a few months ago. Local Law 97 mandates that the building owners of buildings over 25,000 feet (with some exceptions) must comply with emissions limits by 2024. Those limits become increasingly stringent in 2030 and 2050.
Though it was passed in 2019, there had been very little guidance as to how building owners and property managers could meet these caps on carbon emissions. It was particularly challenging for owners and managers to proceed because there were no clear regulations spelled out. That’s a huge problem since Local Law 97 covers roughly 50,000 buildings within the city limits and the fines for not abiding by the law can total up to $268 for every ton of emissions emitted above the given limit. But on Tuesday, New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) finally released the first set of rules for Local Law 97.
The finalized regulations mostly mirror the DOB’s draft proposal that it had released to the public in the fall, but a few minor tweaks have been made. There are still significant unanswered problems regarding the provision of funds to encourage building retrofits and the use of renewable energy credits to offset emissions, but department officials are still poring through public comment as the rest of the rules are still in draft form. The DOB plans to unleash a second set of rules in the coming months to offer additional clarity but the new rules appear to lay tangible groundwork for NYC’s ambitious decarbonization plan, which is good news since the law stands to set the stage for more citywide decarbonization efforts within the United States.