September 25, 2023

Recent Updates to Local Law 97

It’s been a week or so since NYC Mayor Eric Adams launched “Getting 97 Done,” his plan to smooth the path to Local Law 97 (LL97) compliance. For a refresher, measures fall into four buckets: financing and funding; enhanced services from the NYC Accelerator; a new Department of Buildings (DOB) rule package open for public comment; and decarbonization of city buildings. Here’s the complete announcement from the Mayor’s Office.

The focus in the new rules package is on the 15,000 buildings that will be facing fines – or the challenge of identifying and implementing costly and complicated carbon-reduction projects — for the compliance period beginning in 2030.

For these buildings, the “Good Faith Effort” measure is getting a lot of attention. Buildings can avoid paying fines by showing progress on decarbonization; having a plan to reach their emissions reduction targets; and accepting a plan for retroactive enforcement if they don’t follow through. Buying Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) is not an option for buildings following the Good Faith path, but they can get credit for early electrification work.

This change allows building owners to invest in the projects they need rather than paying penalties. But we have some advice for those choosing this route.

With decarbonization retrofits, timing is everything. If your equipment is nearing the end of its useful life within the next few years, act now – don’t wait for your equipment to fail. It takes time to develop and implement complex decarbonization projects, but when done smartly, the benefits  extend far beyond fine avoidance. They can transform the way your building works as well as the quality of life for residents.

We have seen the importance of timing firsthand with our project at the International Tailoring Company Building. During implementation, the absorption chiller-heater failed. Luckily, the project was underway, after three years of planning, and the heat pumps were already in place. They needed a few weeks of temporary heating, not a few months – and they did not have to rush into a costly emergency equipment replacement. Instead, because they took the time to plan a project that responded to their full range of needs, the residents enjoyed individual cooling control this summer.

Are you ready to be pragmatic and proactive about planning ahead? Feel free to reach out to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals for your building.

Photo by Jermaine Ee on Unsplash

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