Local Law 97: Get Ready for Stricter Building Emissions Limits

Local Law 97: Get Ready for Stricter Building Emissions Limits

By Andrew Pisani

The world has changed dramatically since New York City passed the Climate Mobilization Act of 2019. While our attention has been focused elsewhere, compliance deadlines for Local Law 97 of 2019 (which governs building emissions) have steadily approached. New emissions limits go into effect in 2024, and all covered buildings will be required to submit a compliance report by May 1, 2025. While that date—not quite three years out—might still seem distant, many buildings will require extensive retrofits to meet the aggressive emissions limits, which seek a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 2030.

Covered Buildings Under Local Law 97

Under Local Law 97, most buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to meet new energy efficiency and emissions limits by 2024. Stricter limits will go into effect in 2030 as the city strives to reduce total emissions by 80% by 2050.

Generally, the following buildings will need to comply with LL 97/19:

  • Buildings that exceed 25,000 gross square feet
  • Multiple buildings on the same tax lot that exceed 50,000 square feet combined
  • Multiple buildings owned by a condominium association that share the same board of managers and together exceed 50,000 square feet

Exceptions to LL 97 include the following types of properties:

  • Industrial buildings that primarily produce electrical power or steam
  • Detached or semi-detached buildings of three stories or less, with HVAC and hot water systems serving 25,000 square feet or less

Local Law 97 Violations

Once reporting and emissions compliance go into effect in 2025, owners of covered buildings that fail to either submit an energy usage report or to comply with building emissions limits will face significant penalties and fines. The civil penalty for exceeding the emissions limit will equal the difference between the emissions limit for the year and the reported building emissions for that period. Although not yet determined, the Department of Buildings may also issue violations for non-compliance on top of the civil penalties.

City officials estimate that up to 25% of buildings will exceed their emissions limits in 2024 if they do not act to improve building performance. The percentage is expected to jump to 80% by 2030 if corrective action is not taken.

Resources for LL97 Compliance

The Urban Green Council, a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform buildings for a sustainable future in New York City and around the world, maintains a web page dedicated to LL 97 and the latest updates.

In addition, the following organizations help building owners maximize energy efficiency with benchmarking, auditing, and commissioning services:

For assistance with implementing your LL 97 compliance plan, contact Metropolis Group at 212.233.6344.