Bisnow Panel
July 29, 2022

The Push for Electrification in NYC

At Bisnow’s New York Sustainability & ESG event in late July, sustainability and real estate leaders encouraged attendees to start taking meaningful steps to tackle building carbon emissions before Local Law 97’s 2025 deadline.

“2025 seems a long time away,” cautioned Samuel Man, Policy Advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, “but planning and implementation of electrification projects takes a long time.”

Some uncertainty does remain. REBNY’s Zach Steinberg pointed out that there was still some confusion around compliance pathways under the law, and Hannah Bronfman, Director, Sustainable Buildings, for Code Green noted that issues around financing make decarbonization difficult to underwrite.

At the same time, quite a lot is known. “The dates and targets for fines create certitude,” Michael Gilbert, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Fairstead, reminded the attendees. “Penalties can be modeled to come up with the real cost of doing business.”

“Some decisions are financial, and some are technical,” said Adam Shelly, Director of Project Development at Ecosystem. “One advantage of decarbonization is obviously financial. The incremental cost of replacing the existing system more than pays for itself when you factor in all the penalties and the operations cost of maintaining the natural gas boilers.”

In essence, buildings need to convert 80 percent of their heating load away from fossil fuels. “We need to start installing heat pumps, Adam said, giving an example of an innovative multifamily retrofit doing just that.

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