All About Local Law 97

 Updated October 2022

To reduce carbon emissions from buildings, the City of New York enacted Local Law 97 (LL97) in 2019 as a part of the Climate Mobilization Act. This leading-edge law places carbon caps on most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet—roughly 50,000 residential and commercial properties across NYC. These caps start in 2024 and will become more stringent over time, eventually reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. Read our Local Law 97 Summary to learn more. 

The law is the most ambitious building emissions legislation enacted by any city in the world. It incorporates many recommendations from our 80x50 Buildings Partnership, including more feasible timelines, a green power purchase option, a provision for carbon trading between buildings, and future refinement through an advisory board process.

LATEST UPDATES
CLIMATE ADVISORY BOARD AND WORKING GROUPS
TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW
CARBON TRADING STUDY
RESOURCES

LATEST UPDATES

  • On October 6, 2022, the NYC Department of Buildings released Proposed Rules for Local Law 97 that answers many remaining questions about the law’s requirements through 2050. Here are Five Things to Know About the Proposed Rules, which are open for comment until a public hearing on November 14.
  • The Department of Buildings has released a LL97 Covered Buildings List, detailing all of the properties in NYC that may be required to comply with Local Law 97.
  • In June 2022, NYC Council approved a budget that includes $2.4 million for the DOB Office of Building Energy Emissions Performance to oversee the implementation of Local Law 97.
  • On October 5, 2021, the Department of Buildings issued a bulletin clarifying that energy used to charge plug-in electric vehicles will not be included in emissions from buildings under Local Law 97. The deduction applies to unidirectional EV chargers; a future bulletin will address bi-directional EV chargers (which can send power back to the grid). See the details in the full bulletin and highlights.
  • In October 2021, the City released clarification on the guidelines for certain types of affordable housing. Full guidelines and FAQsincluding for buildings where fewer than 35 percent of units are rent-regulated and certain types of income-restricted housing, like Mitchell-Lama rentals—can be found on the City’s Affordable Housing page.
  • The Department of Buildings has launched a Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting website with helpful instructions for those looking to clarify the details of Local Law 97.

CLIMATE ADVISORY BOARD AND WORKING GROUPS

To refine the law and inform its implementation, a 16-member Climate Advisory Board was appointed in December 2019. The group consists of many of the city’s leading building professionals and stakeholders, including Urban Green Board Members Scott Frank, Fiona Cousins and Jill Lerner. In April 2020, the Advisory Board created eight Climate Working Groups to develop aspects of the law that have been left up to rulemaking. 

TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW

After passing LL97, City Council later passed technical amendments to the building emissions law under Local Law 147 of 2019 and Local Law 95 of 2020, including:

  • Clarification that the Department of Buildings can revise 2030 standards by rule, including using a different metric;
  • Carbon emissions from electricity can now be based on time of use;
  • Credits for GHG offsets and energy storage will extend to later compliance periods; 
  • Some previously exempt affordable housing must now comply with the prescriptive package of low-cost energy savings measures;
  • Revisions to the treatment of natural gas fuel cells.

CARBON TRADING STUDY

Local Law 97 requires that the city perform a study on the feasibility of carbon trading among NYC’s buildings as a potential compliance mechanism. The study must include methods to ensure equitable investment in and benefits for environmental justice communities. Led by NYU, the study is underway and a report on its findings and an implementation plan is expected by January 1, 2021.

Urban Green recently wrapped up our own nine-month convening as part of our Global Climate Efficiency Trading Initiative, and published Trading: A New Climate Solution for Buildings in June 2020 to inform the city's study. Based on these efforts, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability appointed Urban Green to facilitate stakeholder input for its official carbon trading study. The group began meeting in April 2020 and will continue to meet for the duration of the study.

RESOURCES

You can sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on developments related to LL97. And learn more in our relevant publications:

Read coverage of the law in the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, Inside Climate News, and the Wall Street Journal. View the complete list of LL97 coverage featuring Urban Green here.

                                                      

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