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City presses on with Green Deal plans

Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today announced that, starting in May, DOB will be convening eight new Climate Working Groups to help develop best practices for building owners to comply with the building mandates legislation (Local Law 97 of 2019).

Local Law 97 takes effect in 2024 and requires all buildings larger than 25,000 s/f to cut their emissions or face hefty fines. By 2030, the level of emissions will be cut further and the fines increased.

The new advisory groups – which will meet remotely if the city’s COVID-19 shutdown is still in effect – are tasked with working out the feasibility of various retrofits, strategies and technologies for hospitals, commercial buildings, and large multifamily buildings.

The working groups will include experts in a variety of fields, and will assist the NYC Climate Advisory Board by developing recommendations on how the City can best implement this first-of-its-kind Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction law.


“We are leading the way in local climate action by convening these working groups, so we can collaborate to develop best practices and implement this groundbreaking law,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca.

“As we aggressively pursue the Mayor’s Green New Deal goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, what we learn about building retrofits will be a model for other cities around the country. While our lives have changed dramatically in these uncertain times, it is essential that we continue doing the work that helps build a fairer city for all.

Recommendations from the advisory boards are due to the Mayor and City Council no later than January 1, 2023.

In each of the eight new Climate Working Groups the members will focus on different factors that will be key to implementing energy efficiency retrofits citywide. Details of each group’s focus and specific missions are below.

·         Building Technologies & Pathways (Multifamily Buildings)

Focus: Improving building scale energy usage for multifamily buildings through retrofits, enforcement improvements and studying tenant energy use.

 ·         Building Technologies & Pathways (Commercial Buildings)

Focus: Examine the impacts of tenant/owner structure, building typology, and building electrification on energy usage and Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction opportunities.

·         Carbon Accounting

Focus: Recommend methodologies to calculate buildings’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions and identifying the metrics to prove reliable and effective results.

·         Energy Grid

Focus: Understand potential impact of a changing energy infrastructure on buildings and provide advice on how to navigate it.

·         Economic Impact

Focus: Analyze the economic impact that achieving reduced energy and emissions may have on city-wide financial growth, leasing agreements and operating costs.

·         Hospitals

Focus: Address the unique energy demands of healthcare facilities and recommend solutions for compliance.

·         Communications

Focus: Provide input on necessary outreach to educate building owners, designers and operators about requirements for compliance and create transparent environment on new rules and regulations.

·         Implementation

Focus: Provide input on practical realities of demonstrating compliance and achieving long term goals of the mandate.

The Department of Buildings has been spearheading New York City’s sustainability efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases of buildings.

Its newly passed 2020 Energy Conservation Code is the cornerstone of this effort, which starting May 12, 2020, creates a new baseline for energy efficiency for all new buildings and major alteration projects in the City.

The Department has also implemented new requirements for all new buildings and existing buildings undergoing major roof renovations to be outfitted with a solar or green roof system.

 “We cannot wait for this crisis to end; we must continue the important work of preparing to retrofit our buildings. While New Yorkers stay home, they are understanding more than ever how necessary essential improvements, such as replacing windows and installing thermostats, are in their homes,” said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director of AIANY.

“The American Institute of Architects New York is proud of its many members serving on the Local Law 97 Advisory Board and working groups. We thank Commissioner La Rocca for her continued perseverance in ensuring this law’s effective implementation.”

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