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How condos and co-ops can prepare for Local Law 84, 87, and 97

Did you know buildings account for about two-thirds of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions? Makes sense for the most densely populated city in the country. To push us toward greener living and a healthier planet, the city has passed some of the most ambitious climate solutions that aim to reduce building emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% percent by 2050.  

What does this mean for condos and co-ops in New York City? And with 2030 just around the corner, what should you as a board member be doing now to keep your building up to code in the coming years? We’ll get you up to speed on three important local green laws: what they are, how to stay compliant, and steps you can take to get your building running greener than ever before. 

Local Law 84: Benchmarking Law 

In effect since 2009, Local Law 84 states that residential buildings with at least 25,000 square feet are required to submit an energy and water usage report by May 1 every year. Miss the deadline? You’ll have an opportunity to submit each quarter, though you’ll accrue a $500 fine per missed deadline.

If your building meets the criteria, be sure to submit your consumption report to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager on time each year. Compiling this report may sound daunting, but asking your utility company to aggregate your building’s data should help streamline the process. A good property management company will help oversee this entire process for you. 

 

Local Law 87: Energy Audits & Re-commissioning

Local Law 87 requires buildings with at least 50,000 square feet to deliver energy efficiency reports (EERs) by December 31 every ten years. While cumbersome, these reports play a major role in improving your building’s health and influencing city planning. For example, retro-commissioning tests your building’s existing equipment to ensure everything is operating efficiently, while audits focus on identifying new building systems and strategies that save energy.

To comply, determine the year your EER reports are due based on the last digit of your tax account. From there, arrange a registered architect or licensed engineer to conduct an energy audit on your building and submit your EERs to the city. Keep in mind, there are hefty fines (starting at $3,000) for failure to file, so it’s important to stay on top of this. Partnering with a good property management company who will take the reins on proactively managing the process and submitting the reports will help your building steer clear of violations and provide you peace of mind. 

Exemptions are available, primarily for buildings already ahead of the energy efficiency game - such as ENERGY STAR and LEED-certified buildings. Check here to see if any pertain to you. 

 

Local Law 97: Carbon Emission Limits

The new law on everyone’s mind - and with good reason! In efforts to drastically reduce city emissions, Local Law 97 requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet new energy limits. While the 2024-2029 limits are designed to target the top 20% of emitters, they ramp up in 2030 to impact 75% of New York City buildings. 

Different condos and co-ops have different emission limits based on occupancy group. For example, if your building is classified under occupancy R2 (multifamily) and is 100,000 square feet, the emission limits for the two periods will be:

  • 2024-2029 limit = 675,000 kg CO2 eq = 675 metric ton CO2 eq
  • 2030-2034 limit = 407,000 kg CO2 eq = 407 metric ton CO2 eq

Check out the Carbon Emission Calculator to see how your building’s emission rates compare to the city’s new thresholds. 

Starting in 2025, buildings must submit an emissions report stamped by a registered architect or licensed engineer on May 1 every year - this is not to be confused with the Local Law 87 report due on the same day. The penalties for being over your emission limit may seem steep ($268 per year per metric ton), but the fines for failing to file or falsifying a report are much higher. So, developing a clear roadmap now is imperative to ensure your building takes the proper steps to not only reduce your building’s emissions appropriately but also never miss a deadline. 

There are a variety of measures buildings can take now to comply with New York City’s ambitious goals, including: energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, lighting upgrades, insulating all water and heating pipes, implementing a proactive maintenance program to keep everything in good working order, and so much more. Additionally, there are many incentive programs, such as the NYC Accelerator Program that provide technical assistance, training, and more, as well financing opportunities that will put your building in the best position to achieve maximum energy efficiency without breaking the bank. 

The complexities of this law are unlimited, the solutions can be costly, and there is no clear cut path to success - all making this a difficult project for boards to navigate alone. You need a property management company you can trust to put the best plan in place and keep your building up to code. 

Final Thoughts

As a board member, complying to New York City’s local laws can feel overwhelming, particularly when it comes to Local Law 97. That’s why many condo and co-op boards partner with Daisy, a New York City property management company that does things differently. 

When you choose Daisy, we conduct a full building audit right from the beginning. We identify priority projects and opportunities to improve your building’s health and reach emissions goals. Then, we create a comprehensive plan and get to work with industry experts, vendors, and city officials to ensure your building hits local law milestones and runs better (and greener) than ever before. Visit us today to learn more about what Daisy can do for you.