Local Law 97: An Individual Approach and Long-Term Strategy

March 13, 2023

As part of its efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050, New York City's government plans to reduce emissions from most buildings over 25,000 gross square feet, which account for two-thirds of its greenhouse gas emissions (nyc.gov). As a result, Local Law 97 (LL97) became the focal point of the Climate Mobilization Act passed in April 2019.

Property managers must understand the implications of LL97 because they can incur substantial costs related to the required emissions reductions in a relatively short period. From 2024 to 2029, approximately 20% of existing covered buildings will have to reduce emissions, while between 2030 and 2034, roughly 75% will have to reduce emissions. Your building is unique and calls for a customized approach to meeting the LL97 emission regulations, and a long-term strategy is imperative to ensure success.

Buildings where electricity from the grid makes up a larger portion of their energy mix, will have higher emissions than buildings where onsite fuel combustion or Con Ed steam is the predominant energy source – at least until 2030. Because the electrical grid will increasingly be sourcing its energy from renewable options and projects to be zero emissions by 2040, a building's electrical load will result in fewer and fewer emissions over time. That is why planning for electrification – converting the heating system from fuel combustion to heat pumps – is an essential long-term strategy for most New York City buildings.

Starting in 2025, building owners will be required to submit annual filings (in addition to the yearly benchmarking filing) affirming their emissions from the previous year. Given the complexity of the law and its highly variable impact on different buildings, there is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach to maintaining compliance and avoiding penalties. A number of factors will determine what preparations are necessary, such as the scale and timeline of the projected fines, the type, age, and complexity of the mechanical, lighting and envelope systems, occupancy types, budgets and reserves and recent renovations, just to name a few. 

Occasionally a building may require a more comprehensive or rigorous study to evaluate its options and the tradeoffs involved. In any case, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you confidently through this process. 

Partner with us to learn more about LL97’s impact on your building and how you can reduce costs. Together, we will develop a sustainable long-term approach to meeting emission regulations with a substantial return on your investment. We will ensure that your building complies with the requirements of LL97 and any updated ordinances that are adopted.

Download our ebook to learn more about Local Law 97

About WT Group

The WT Group provides clients with a single-source engineering solution to help maintain the integrity of all projects from start to finish. With over 50 years of experience, WT Group's highly skilled engineering, design, and consulting teams ensure consistency, clarity, and accuracy in the most cost and time-efficient manner.  Contact us today!