Energy Policy

Inside New York's Local Law 97

How building owners can take steps needed to meet emissions caps and do their part in to address climate change.

What is Local Law 97?

Local Law 97 was enacted in New York City in 2019 as part of the city's efforts to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The law establishes emissions caps for certain large buildings in the city, and requires building owners to take steps to reduce their emissions to meet these caps. The caps are based on the size and type of building, with stricter limits on larger and more energy-intensive buildings having stricter emissions limits. The law aims to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 80% by 2050, compared to a benchmark year of 2005. It is a key part of the city's broader efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and combat climate change.

What is New York City's impact on greenhouse gas emissions?

New York City is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, both nationally and globally. According to the New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability, buildings are responsible for nearly three-quarters of the city's greenhouse gas emissions, with the remainder coming from transportation and other sources.

The city has taken a number of steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, including enacting laws like Local Law 97 and implementing energy efficiency measures in buildings.

It is important for cities like New York to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as municipalities contribute significantly to global emissions and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events.

How do buildings owners in new york city comply with Local Law 97?

Most buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to meet the new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions limits outlined in Local Law 97 by 2024, with even stricter limits expected by 2030,

There are a number of ways that building owners in New York City can comply with Local Law 97 and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the emissions caps established by the law. Some strategies that building owners may use include:

  • Implementing energy efficiency measures, such as upgrading to more efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems, sealing air leaks, and insulating the building.
  • Using renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to generate electricity or heat for the building.
  • Participating in local utility Con Edison's demand response (DR) programs, which provide financial incentives for building owners to reduce their energy use during times of high electricity demand.
  • Purchasing carbon offsets, which are credits that represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by a project outside of the building.
  • Participating in the city's Retrofit Accelerator program, which provides technical assistance and financing options to help building owners implement energy efficiency upgrades.
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