The full breakdown of The Climate Mobilization Act and Local Law 97

Property management 101
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March 1, 2023
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min read
The full breakdown of The Climate Mobilization Act and Local Law 97

Climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate, thanks in large part to the crazy amounts of greenhouse gasses we emit due to our dependence on fossil fuels. What’s more, buildings are the main culprit of such greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, accounting for about 70%. 

The good news is that together we have the chance to turn things around by improving our buildings’ energy systems and investing in cleaner power sources. 

Enter the Climate Mobilization Act, passed by New York City in 2019. It’s the most ambitious package of legislation of any city in the world that aims to reduce building emissions and energy consumption and get us on track toward a cleaner and greener city and world. 

So, without further ado, let’s break down every law that's part of the Climate Mobilization Act, including all important compliance details, the benefits for your condo or co-op, and more - starting with the infamous Local Law 97.

Local Law 97: Carbon emissions limits

The new law on the block that’s on everyone’s mind - and with good reason. In efforts to drastically reduce our city emissions, Local Law 97 requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet new energy limits. While the 2024-2029 limits will target the top emitters, they ramp up quite a bit in 2030 to impact a good majority of New York City buildings.

Here’s the TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) of Local Law 97:

  • Who needs to comply: All buildings over 25,000 square feet in total floor area as well as two or more buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 50,000 square feet (this includes condos and coops!) must adhere to the law, with a few exceptions. 
  • What are the emissions limits: Different condos and co-ops have different emissions limits based on their occupancy group. For example, if your building is classified under occupancy R2 (multifamily) and is 100,000 square feet, your 2024-2029 emissions limit will be 675 metric ton CO2 eq and your 2030-2034 limit will be 407 metric ton CO2 eq.
  • What’s the compliance process: Starting in 2025, buildings must submit an emissions report stamped by a registered architect or licensed engineer on or before May 1 every year. Don’t confuse this with your Local Law 84 report due on the same day!
  • What are the penalties: The penalties for being over your emissions limit can be a bit steep ($268 per year per metric ton), so it’s best to be prepared. Developing a clear roadmap now is important to ensure your building takes the proper steps to not only reduce your building’s emissions appropriately but also never miss a deadline.

You can check out our Local Law 97 FAQ page for more information.

Local Law 95: Building efficiency grade

Like the health and safety grades you see displayed in every restaurant window, Local Law 95 requires that all buildings publicly display their energy efficiency grade for all the world to see.

Here’s the TL;DR of Local Law 95: 

  • Who needs to comply: If your building’s greater than 25,000 square feet, best be sure you’re complying.
  • Where does the grade need to be posted: Whatever your grade, you need to wear it all year round. Place it in an easy-to-see location in or near your building’s public entrance.
  • How are grades calculated: Your grade’s determined by your building’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager score, which is calculated directly from your annual energy benchmarking report (i.e., Local Law 84). Unlike a restaurant’s health and safety grade, the ENERGY STAR score rates your building’s performance based on a scale of 1 to 100 compared to all other buildings in the Portfolio Manager. Did you score above 85? Congrats, you can consider yourself an A-lister in the top 15% of buildings. If you receive a C or a D, remember these include a wide variety of buildings performing up to a 69 Portfolio Manager score. The ranges are: A: 85 and above, B: 70-84, C: 55-69, D: 54 and below, F: Non-compliance, and N: Exempt or score not feasible to obtain.
  • What is the compliance process: New grades drop on October 1 of every year. Be sure you grab it via the DOB NOW and post it by October 31. 
  • What are the penalties: For those who fail to play by Local Law 95’s rules, you can expect a $1,250 fine.
  • How to improve your energy grade: You’ve got some options to improve your grade. For example, ensure your Local Law 84 data’s accurate as this is what your grade is based upon, review your latest Local Law 87 energy audit for ideas on the best building improvements to tackle, and get all your residents involved. You can even turn it into a friendly competition between neighbors on who can reduce their energy consumption the most.

Local Laws 92 and 94: Green and solar roofs

Coming in a pair, Local Laws 92 and 94 are dedicated to your building’s roofs. Whether you’re building something new or undergoing a major roof renovation, these laws make sure you install “sustainable roofing zones” where appropriate.

Here’s the TL;DR of Local Laws 92 and 94:

  • What’s the difference between Local Laws 92 and 94: Local Law 94 is the primary piece of legislation requiring sustainable roofing zones, while Local Law 92 adjusts these requirements for smaller buildings. 
  • What’s a sustainable roofing zone: These are areas of your building’s roof where a solar panel system (i.e., a solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system, if you want to get technical), a green roof system, or a combo of the two is installed. 
  • What are the benefits of solar roofs: Solar roofs improve your building’s energy efficiency by switching your power supply from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. They pack a clean energy punch when combined with electric appliances, such as hot water heaters and air source heat pumps. 
  • What are the benefits of green roofs: Green roofs provide many amazing benefits for your building, including better air quality, cutting down on heating and cooling usage (save that money!), covering your building with a green insulator, and even creating biodiverse spaces. Ever wanted a garden, to host bees, or enjoy a bit of nature on your rooftop? Green roofs can help make all this happen. 
  • Who needs to comply: Don’t know if you need to comply? Want to know what makes the most sense for your roof? Unsure what the building requirements are? Work with your property manager to partner with a certified design professional or contractor who will help answer all your questions.  
  • Are there exemptions: Yes, there are a few noteworthy reasons why you may not need to comply with Local Laws 92 and 94. Maybe your roof is too steep and would not get enough sunlight for any meaningful impact. Maybe there are too many other important structures on your roof - like water towers, mechanical equipment, stormwater management, or a beautiful roof deck - that it doesn’t make sense to install sustainable roofing. Or maybe your roof repairs are simple enough that you don’t qualify. Again, working with your property manager and design professional will ensure you do what’s right for your building. 
  • How to comply: To ensure you’re in full compliance with the law, work closely with your property manager and a certified design professional or contractor. This way, you can discuss your building’s particular needs, what options you have, what makes the most sense for your building, and what forms and deadlines you need to keep track of.

Local Law 96: PACE

Local Law 96 established Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to help building owners fund energy efficiency upgrades. You can find more details on PACE and other financing opportunities here.

Final thoughts

The Climate Mobilization Act is one of the most exciting pieces of climate legislation to pass in recent years. As a condo or co-op owner here in New York City, you have the chance to make a huge difference in the future health and prosperity of this amazing city we call home. At Daisy, we’re here to help you create the best roadmap to not only comply but ensure your building is running at its best today and into the future. Check us out here to learn more.

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