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We’re proud to service New York City for a number of reasons. But, one of the things we love most about NYC is its commitment to sustainability and doing its part in the climate crisis. The City has some of the world’s most ambitious climate goals, including reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

The NYC Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), otherwise known as NYC’s Green New Deal, was passed by the New York City Council in 2019 to put NYC on the path to reducing building carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. The largest climate legislation of any city in the world, the CMA consists of several laws aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions across the city, with special attention paid to improving the energy efficiency of both residential and commercial buildings.

Brief History of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in NYC

While the CMA included provisions for sustainability upgrades in other areas, such as the plastic bag ban, the laws with the most potential to make an impact are those aimed at reducing emissions in our buildings. It may not come as a surprise that NYC buildings make up the majority of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, buildings account for over 70% of total emissions – surpassing even transportation emissions.

The source of these emissions is energy consumption from electricity use, heating, and cooling, which can add up particularly in larger buildings. For this reason, it’s important that property owners invest in energy efficient appliances and clean energy sources, like solar power. This is the reasoning behind four of the main pieces of legislation in the CMA, outlined below.

When was the Climate Mobilization Act passed?

The Climate Mobilization Act was passed by the NYC City Council on April 18, 2019, just in time for Earth Day.

What laws are included in the Climate Mobilization Act?

Green Roofs: Local Laws 92 & 94

NYC Local Laws 92 and 94 are a pair of laws mandating the installation of “sustainable roofing zones” on all rooftops undergoing major construction, both for new and existing roofs. A sustainable roofing zone is defined as “areas of a roof assembly where a solar photovoltaic electricity generating system, a green roof system, or a combination thereof, is installed.”

In other words, any new buildings or buildings undergoing major roof replacement must either install solar panels or a green roof, or a combination of the two.

Building Energy Efficiency Grade: Local Law 95

Local Law 95 amended the previous Local Law 33, enacted in 2018, in regards to the calculation of building energy efficiency grades. Like health and safety grades displayed in the windows of restaurants, energy efficiency grades are also required to be displayed by buildings. LL 95 simply updated the ranges of scores which determine letter grades.

PACE: Local Law 96

Local Law 96 established Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to help building owners fund energy efficiency upgrades.

Buildings Mandate: Local Law 97

Considered the cornerstone of the CMA, Local Law 97 set emissions limits for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet. In accordance with city goals, these buildings must reduce their emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 2050, emissions must be reduced by 80%. 

LL 97 set two initial phases of emissions limits for these buildings. The first phase begins in 2024 and continues until 2029, while the second, more stringent, phase will take place in 2030-2034. The limits were set based on several different building use classifications and sizes. Buildings must submit yearly emissions reports starting in May 2025, and face penalties for exceeding emissions limits.

How do I know if the local laws apply to my building?

Local Laws 92 and 94 set forth the requirements for required sustainable roofing zones. These laws apply to all new construction and roof replacement projects; however, there are some exceptions. If any of the following applies to your buildings, you may be exempt:

  • The slope of your roof is greater than 2:12 and a solar system would not reach a capacity of 4 kW
  • Too much of the roof area is occupied by other structures such as water towers, mechanical equipment, or stormwater management systems
  • The roof is already occupied by recreational spaces

To ensure compliance, it’s best to work with a certified design professional or contractor to determine your available roof area and any potential exemptions.

Local Law 95 requires buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to publicly post their energy efficiency grades.

Local Law 97 covers buildings greater than 25,000 square feet, though there are different emissions limits depending on the classification of the building.

How are the emissions limits determined?

The emissions intensity limits set by Local Law 97 were determined for 10 classifications of buildings based on Building Code occupancy groups. A building’s annual emissions limit is its emissions intensity limit multiplied by floor area.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The penalty for not complying with LL 95 is a DOB violation and a fine of $1,250.

The penalty for not complying with LL 97 is a fine, calculated by taking the difference between a building’s annual emissions limit and its actual emissions, then multiplying the difference by $268.

Compliance Timeline for the Climate Mobilization Act

nyc climate mobilization act timeline

How You Can Make a Positive Impact in NYC

Mitigating the effects of climate change is going to take bold action. We’re proud that our city is making major strides through legislation like the Climate Mobilization Act. 

It’s important that everyone does their part to reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re a homeowner in NYC, going solar is an excellent way to do that. Want to learn about solar energy for your home in New York City? Contact us today.

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