On October 6, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) released Proposed Rules for Local Law 97. The comprehensive package answers many remaining questions about the law’s requirements through 2050, aligns the law with New York State climate mandates, and incentivizes building electrification. It’s also Mayor Adams’ first major action on Local Law 97, signaling the Administration's commitment to strong implementation of the law.
The proposed rules are open for public comment until a public hearing on November 14, and Urban Green Council hosted an event with DOB on November 1 to unpack the details. In the meantime, here are five important highlights:
1. 60 new property types added from EPA’s Portfolio Manager
EPA’s Portfolio Manager is the well-established tool for tracking building energy use. LL97 originally set 10 emissions limits based on Building Code occupancy group classifications. The proposed rules expand those categories based on Portfolio Manager, which includes dozens of different property types that more accurately reflect the variation in energy use among buildings. This shift will help tailor emissions limits to that variety, including for property types that use more energy like supermarkets and data centers.
2. Building emissions limits set for all property types to 2050 and beyond
The proposed rules assign new emissions limits for each new property type from 2030 through 2049. From 2050 onward, a zero emissions requirement applies to all property types—a move that aligns to global 1.5°C climate targets. For 2024 to 2029, the proposed rules preserve LL97’s original 10 emissions limits but distribute those limits across the 60 Portfolio Manager property types, creating better-tailored targets for all buildings.
3. A 2030 electricity carbon coefficient that reflects the greening grid and supports electrification
The electricity carbon coefficient is used to calculate the carbon content of the electricity that a building consumes each year. The proposed rules specify an electricity coefficient for 2030 to 2034 that is about 50 percent lower than the one that applies for 2024 to 2029. This change reflects major new clean energy coming to NYC in the next few years, bringing rapid decarbonization to reach New York State CLCPA targets. This change also makes electrification an increasingly crucial strategy for buildings to meet the law’s carbon caps.
4. RECs can only offset emissions from electricity use
LL97 allows building owners to deduct or offset annual building emissions through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) for local green power. The proposed rules clarify that these deductions are limited to emissions from building electricity use, which would ensure that credits for the purchase of green electricity aren’t used to offset fossil fuels burned onsite for heat and hot water.
5. Answers to many remaining questions on technical details and compliance
The proposed rules provide much-awaited guidance on many aspects of compliance, including details on deductions for solar power and energy storage, and methodologies for calculating emissions from cogeneration systems, campus properties and electricity according to time of use.