Clock Starts Ticking as Launch of Local Law 97 Compliance Period Nears

The start of the compliance period for the law passed by the New York City Council in 2019 to reduce New York City’s carbon footprint quickly approaches. Known as Local Law 97, the law passed in 2019 affects some 50,000 buildings citywide. Beginning January 2024, landlords of buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, with certain exceptions, will have from 2024 through 2029 to reduce emissions by 40% as part of the aggressive goal towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. While about 70% of the effected buildings already meet the 2024 emissions limits, thereby avoiding penalties, the percentage significantly lowers to 30% by 2030 according to a report released by the New York City Comptroller’s office in November. However, determining the path to compliance is not without challenges since there are multiple factors to be considered such as building type, age, finances, existing systems, and how well the building has been maintained; also keeping in mind that even as building owners continue to move forward with developing a path for retrofits, the planning and execution can take anywhere from days to years. In addition, although the Department of Buildings (DOB) finalized its first batch of rules in December and plans to issue more rules in the coming months, there remains a lack of complete clarity about how the law will work as questions continue to linger.