A Brief Background of Local Law 97
As part of the progressive Climate Mobilization Act passed by the City of New York in April 2019, Local Law 97 aims to significantly reduce the carbon emissions from buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. To achieve this goal, Local Law 97 will place carbon caps on the emissions from these buildings in order to cut the presence of greenhouse gases 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The permissible limits for the buildings are based on their occupancy type, such as business, educational, institutional, residential (hotels or multifamily), factory, etc. This New York City Green New Deal comprises several laws, but Local Law 97 is the most essential.
When Does It Come into Effect?
Local Law 97 will officially be enforced starting on May 1st, 2025 when buildings will be required to submit an annual emissions report pertaining to the prior year, and continue to do so up until 2050. The report must be stamped by a Registered Design Professional, either a Registered Architect (RA) or a Professional Engineer (PE), and it must be accurate and on time. Currently, the limits for Local Law 97 are split into two time periods: 2024-2029 and 2030-2034, with the regulations becoming more stringent over time. The emission restrictions for the first five years are designed to affect the top 20% of emitters, while the latter five years aim to impact 75% of buildings. With such strict standards set in place, Local Law 97 calls for immediate action by building owners in order to meet the guidelines.
A Road to Compliance
The road to compliance with NYC Local Law 97 is long but we will list down some of the ways the building owners in New York City can ensure they comply with the law and avoid any fines that come with failure to comply.
1- Getting Energy Audit and Commissioning Services
An Energy Audit is the process of identification, survey, and the analysis of Energy usage in a building. It is done to optimize the energy usage of the system i.e., Keeping the outputs the same while reducing the energy consumption. A successful energy audit results in energy and cost saving while also reducing the overall carbon footprint.
During an energy audit, health and safety are the primary concerns, while reducing energy consumption and maintaining human comfort. An energy audit seeks to prioritize the energy uses according to the most cost-effective technique while keeping in mind the comfort levels.
With the publication of ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 211-2018, energy audits can now be counted on to ensure consistency, accuracy, and quality. The ASHRAE Commercial Buildings Energy Audits Reference defines best practices for energy survey and analysis for purchasers and providers of energy audit services.
Retro-Commissioning (RCx) is a process that improves the efficiency of an existing building’s equipment and systems. It can often resolve problems that occurred during design and/or construction. Retro-commissioning also addresses problems that have developed throughout the building’s life as equipment has aged or as building usage has changed. This involves systematic evaluations of opportunities to improve energy-using systems.
Buildings frequently undergo operational and occupancy changes that challenge the mechanical, electrical and control systems, hindering optimal performance. In today’s complex buildings, systems are highly interactive, with sophisticated controls that can create a trickle-down effect on building operations. All buildings can experience performance degradation over time.
Hence, it is vital to constantly monitor the equipment and fix the errors that may be preventing optimal performance of the building. ASHRAE Guideline 1.2-2019, provides requirements for the application of the Commissioning Process (Cx) to existing HVAC&R systems and assemblies.
2- Implementing Energy Efficiency Measures
Building Owners can implement various Energy Efficiency Measures that will reduce the usage of energy in a building. Under LL97 of 2019, emissions are calculated based annually for each energy source used by the building.
A professional Energy Audit will go through all the possible measures that can be implemented in a building to reduce the overall Energy Consumption and it can help the building owners in planning on how to cut down on the GHG emissions.
The NYC Local Law 97 promotes and appreciates the usage of renewable energy to reduce the Carbon Emissions. You can create your own Energy in the form of Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Geo-thermal and tidal energy.
Any Energy that you produce and use, will be subtracted from the total energy usage when your Carbon emissions are being calculated.
The Cotocon Group are NYC’s premier Sustainability Consulting firm with expertise in Local Law Compliance, Energy audits, Retro commissioning and helping buildings in cutting down on Energy usage and Carbon Emissions. The time is now to start preparing for NYC Local Law 97. Get in touch with us to know more!