The Climate Mobilization Act, or Green New Deal, was passed recently by the New York City Council. It is a comprehensive group of 11 bills that have an overall aim to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
How Will the Green New Deal Affect Commercial Buildings In NYC?
Alongside the 10 other bills, Local Law 97, formerly known as Bill INT 1253, was created with the ultimate goal of helping the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions by certain amounts in certain timeframes. Specifically, emissions must be reduced by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, as compared to the base year of 2005. Starting in 2024 when the law goes into effect, building owners can be fined if their building exceeds the specified emissions levels. In 2029, the emissions level caps will be significantly lowered.
Which Buildings Does the Green New Deal Affect?
The legislation was written to include a few different types or arrangements of buildings.
- A single building over 25,000 square feet
- Two buildings on the same tax lot with a combined total square footage of 50,000
- A condominium complex with numerous owners but the same group of managers, where the sum total of the square footage of all managed buildings is over 50,000
There are exceptions for specific types of buildings, including houses of worship and buildings that contain at least 1 rent-controlled unit.
How Do I Ensure That My Building Is Compliant?
It is important to know where your building stands already. Since the 2009 passage of Local Law 84, NYC building owners have had to submit an annual carbon emissions report card for each of their buildings. If the yearly benchmarked emissions data is under the 2024 and 2029 caps, there is nothing to worry about.
Additionally, there are numerous steps that building owners can take right now to begin conserving energy and to ensure compliance with Local Law 97 when it takes effect. These include:
- Adjusting temperature setpoints for heat and hot water
- Repairing all heating system leaks
- Regularly maintaining the commercial HVAC system and ensuring all components are in good working order
- Installing commercial HVAC system sensors, both indoors and outdoors, to allow for maximum efficiency
- Weatherizing and air sealing as much as possible, including around ductwork, to minimize heat loss
Building owners should get started now, at least by engaging a professional and developing a long-term plan. The City will be issuing additional guidelines and information on how they will proceed with renewable energy credits and carbon offsets.
Buildings will be fined $268 (annually) per metric ton that their carbon footprint exceeds the limit. The experts at Donnelly Mechanical can calculate your building’s footprint and potential fines.
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