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Construction & Design

New solar roof law takes effect in NYC

Two new local laws requiring solar installations on property roofs have taken effect in New York City.

Local Law 92 and Local Law 94 require all new and existing buildings undergoing certain major roof renovations to have a solar photovoltaic system, a green roof system, or a combination of the two. The systems must cover 100 percent of any applicable roof.

“In New York City, we are not shirking from the challenge of climate change,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “These new laws are a sea change in how we approach new buildings, and help make our city a national leader in reducing emissions.

“With the biggest energy team in the country, we are ready and able to be a resource and provide technical assistance to the real estate industry as we work together to tackle this challenge head on.”

Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin called the new laws another step to get the City carbon neutral by 2050.

“The implementation of the law expanding green roofs is a win for our environment, our economy and our communities,” added Council Member Rafael Espinal.

“At a time when national policy seems to turn its back on our planet, it is up to cities like New York to lead the fight against climate change. To do that, we have to adopt policies that take advantage of our unique, untapped assets.”

As of November 15, 2019, all new application filings for new building projects and alteration projects that include vertical and horizontal enlargement or replacement of the entire roof deck, must include a form certifying their compliance with Local Laws 92 and 94 prior to plan approval from the Department.

Building emissions currently account for about 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City.

The laws also support efforts to enhance stormwater management, which will reduce urban flooding and improve the health of New York Harbor and its tributaries.

John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council said, “New York City continues to lead on urban policy solutions to tackle climate change. Green measures on available rooftop space can help deliver a cleaner, healthier and more resilient future for all New Yorkers.”

Local Law 92 and Local Law 94 are components of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), which was passed by the City Council in April 2019, as part of the Mayor’s New York City Green New Deal and OneNYC 2050 plan.

In addition to new sustainable roof requirements for roofs, the CMA also established an Office of Sustainability within the Department, and has mandated additional requirements to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in NYC:

Local Law 97 requires all buildings larger than 25,000 s/f to meet ambitious carbon reduction targets.

Local Law 95 amends the ranges for how energy efficiency grades are calculated as required by Local Law 33 of 2018.

Local Law 33 of 2018 required the display of energy efficiency scores and grades for larger buildings in New York City that are required to that annually benchmark their energy and water consumption. The energy label will be displayed near a public entrance and include both a letter grade and the energy efficiency score.

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