New York City Local Law 97: The latest in "Green Laws" Legislation sweeping the United States

by Site Editor

Cities and smaller scale municipalities are pursuing quantifiable increases in energy efficiency, clean energy production and the establishment of green rooftops to help relieve urban heat islands that result from black tarred rooftops.

City councils are setting their sights on Green roofs as a powerful antidote towards climate change.. Green rooftops which can be a mixture of hardy foliage and small scale solar and wind systems are designed to reduce the “urban heat island effect” These modified roofs can help to drastically improve air quality.

In the case of New York City, the city council enacted Local Law 97 (LL97) in 2019 as a part of it’s Climate Mobilization Act. The Climate Mobilization Act is the largest climate solution proposed by an urban municipality in the world. It consists of a list of climate laws designed to dramatically cut carbon in New York City.

The relatively new law places carbon caps on most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. It is estimated that there are over 50,000 residential and commercial properties across that fit the parameters set by localLAw 97. The carbon caps will be gradually enforced starting in 2024 and over time, it is expected that this new set of laws and regulations will result in an 80 percent drop in emissions by 2050.

The four main components of the NYC Climate Mobilization Act are as follows:

Green Roofs: Local Law 92, 94

"Local laws 92 and Local Law 94 require all new buildings and buildings undergoing major roof renovations to be covered with solar panels, green roofs, or some combination of the two. The laws also require all buildings to reduce urban heat hazards."

Building Energy Efficiency Grade: Local Law 95

"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 buildings 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."

PACE: Local Law 96 

Local Law 96 establishes long-term, low-interest Property-Assessed Clean Energy financing to fund upgrades to building energy and water efficiency.

Buildings Mandate: Local Law 97

The centerpiece of the Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97 requires all buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to meet ambitious carbon reduction targets.