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How to meet compliance with Local Law 97 NYC

How to meet compliance with Local Law 97 NYC

Our getting started guide to compliance with Local Law 97 will provide you with all the information you need to comply with this ambitious climate legislation. It is aimed at reducing carbon emissions from buildings in the city which currently account for two-thirds of the city’s annual carbon emissions.

What is LL 97 and why do you need to know about it?

The law was passed in 2019 as a part of the Climate Mobilization Act with the aim of reducing carbon emissions specifically from larger buildings in the City of New York. Stringent limits on carbon emissions per square foot will need to be met by 2024 and will be tightened by 2030.

Many buildings will need to comply

It applies to the 50,000 largest buildings which adds up to an estimated 3.15 billion square feet. Because this equates to 60% of the building area in the city it is, therefore, likely to include yours. Large (over 50,000 square feet) and medium (25 – 50,000 square feet) commercial properties make up around half of the affected properties; the other half are residential (multi-family) properties.

There is little time to achieve compliance

Changes are required urgently; buildings larger than 25,000 square feet have just three years (until 2024) to meet the requirements. Within another six years (2030), more stringent requirements will have to be met.

There is a lot of work to do

It is estimated that 20% of buildings covered by LL97 will not be compliant at the 2024 deadline. By the time we reach the more stringent 2030 requirement, it is estimated that 75% may not be compliant. There could be a lot of losers when this legislation kicks in.

Penalties for non-compliance with LL97 are significant

Fines of $268 per ton of emissions above the designated cap can be levied for non-compliance. In some cases, this could add up to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in annual fines. The maximum permissible fine for individual buildings is $5M annually.

Non-compliant properties will be less attractive to both potential owners and tenants who will see the operating costs reflected in higher rents. Once the penalties are imposed, it may impact operating budgets so there will be fewer resources available to make the required improvements. This can result in a cycle of fines from which it is very hard to escape!

There are considerable benefits for compliant buildings

There will be winners as well as losers here! Winners who meet or even exceed the goals of the legislation will have very desirable properties and this will be reflected in their value. Efficiently operating buildings have significantly lower energy costs compared to their competitors; improving net operating income. The resulting favorable audited results will create trust and positive public standing.

NYC emissions distribution of commercial properties

(Adapted from Urban Green:

The good news about NYC local law 97

The good news is that if you are reading this, you are already researching Local Law 97 and that is the most important first step.

As a building owner, you now know that you can't ignore it. There are significant penalties and this policy is going to create both winners and losers.

The even better news is that the more significant the change the more significant the opportunity. So, let’s turn this into an opportunity for your business!

In the rest of this article, we are going to clearly set out the most important steps for compliance. We’ll even give you the bonus step extra credit advice for really process-oriented overachievers.

There is plenty of help out there once you know where to look and that place is here!

Resources to help you comply with and understand local law 97 NYC gov

Business owners need to know two things. The cost of non-compliance to their business and details (including costs) of how to comply.

LL97 Carbon Emissions Calculator

Here's a link to the LL97 Carbon Emissions Calculator which provides an estimate of any building's carbon penalty resulting from Local Law 97 Climate Mobilization Act. All you have to do is input data into an online tool including:
• Your building type(s)
• The area where your building(s) is/are located
• Your annual consumption per fuel source
• Your annual utility rate for each fuel source (this is the total annual utility cost divided by total annual consumption)

The tool will generate emissions thresholds for your building(s) and estimated penalties for non-compliance in 2024-2029, 2030-2034, and 2035 onwards. There’s even a Demo function if you are not sure what to do.

To help you out, we’ve provided an illustration for a 60,000 square foot commercial office building that currently spends about $163k per year. You can see that from 2030, you would be paying an extra $9745 per year which equates to a 5.8% increase in annual costs. From 2035, you would be paying $54769 more per year which equates to a staggering 33.5% increase in annual costs.

LL97 Example Building Emissions and Tax Calculation

These financial penalties are not inevitable. By implementing a system such as Verdigris, you could see an immediate $10,000 reduction. Over the next 20 years, you could save $200,000 in direct costs and a further $325,000 in penalties.

NYC Accelerator

NYC Accelerator provides free, personalized guidance to make cost-saving, energy-efficiency upgrades, and reduce carbon emissions in New York City.

Their purpose is to assist you in increasing comfort and control costs in your building and in promoting occupant health and safety. Their overall aim is to fight climate change by helping businesses to meet New York City's greenhouse gas intensity targets as set out in Local Law 97 (LL97) and the Climate Mobilization Act.

Verdigris can support you with attaining compliance with this important climate legislation.

Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey

The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey provides data for you to carry out your own calculations on how much energy could be saved through a focus on different types of end-use optimization in different building types. We have provided an example in the table below for end use by floor space and principle building activity.

CBECS 2012 Energy end uses by floor space and principle building activity

Step by step compliance LL97 compliance with Verdigris

Verdigris is the promised land of LL97 compliance. Many energy consultants and solution providers offer support but we provide a first-principles step-by-step guide on how to get the job done. This is important because it provides a method for both improving and repeating the outcomes over time.

Step #1 - Set Goals

Goal setting is the essential first step in ensuring compliance with LL97.

1. Goal 1. 40% reduction of aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (relative to 2005—the base year).
2. Goal 2. 80% reduction of aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
3. Goal 3. City government buildings must reach a 40% reduction by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030

Step #2 – Gather Data

To be successful, building owners must start by gathering energy data. Jumping right in will result in you making uninformed decisions that are likely to risk penalties and unsustainable results. Here’s our step-by-step guide to choosing a data-gathering system.

1. It needs to be quick to install. You need this data right now! So, you need a system that can install quickly and begin capturing data right away with minimum disruption to your tenants and users. Some of the systems supplied by market leaders such as Schneider or Honeywell can take months or quarters to set up. Smaller, nimbler consulting groups or suppliers can often move faster. Some products can install and start providing data in as little as two weeks.
2. It needs to be a cloud-based operating plan for the persistent capture of real-time data. Cloud-based systems create transparent data sets that are easy to share with tenants and 3rd parties who have a portion of the energy system under their control. Data can be split between multiple tenants or other interested parties creating the potential for individual incentives or programs to avoid potential fees. Not just any data will do. The reporting must be auditable, so you also need to plan your data acquisition plan with provision for persistent, cost-effective data storage.
3. It needs to provide benchmarking data. Data must be collated in a way that's designed for benchmarking. You want to ensure that you are outperforming other buildings that have similar functions or end-uses. Benchmarking data allows you to decide which programs to invest in. This could be interior or exterior lighting upgrades, heating and cooling optimization, ventilation, process equipment, or refrigeration. Accurate labeling of data (perhaps provided by a self-labeling capability) is essential and can be provided by some ground-breaking AI technologies.
4. It needs to take advantage of existing infrastructure. Starting over again with all-new infrastructure is both wasteful and costly. Your system should build on top of BMS integrations, API, data platforms, and analytics systems.

Step #3 – Target programs and applications

The law requires you to meet annual building emissions limits with energy conservation measures that are specific to your business and building type. Here are some examples of measures that may be required:

1. Adjusting temperature set points for heating and hot water to reflect appropriate space
occupancy and facility requirements.
2. Repairing all heating system leaks.
3. Maintaining the heating system, including but not limited to ensuring that system
parts covered by Local Law 97 are clean and in good operating condition.
4. Installing individual temperature controls or insulated radiator enclosures with
temperature controls on all radiators
5. Insulating all pipes heating and/or hot water pipes.
6. Insulating the steam system condensate tank or water tank.
7. Installing indoor and outdoor heating system sensors and boiler controls to allow for proper set-points.
8. Replacing or repairing all steam traps to maintain them in good working order.
9. Installing or upgrading steam system master venting at the ends of mains, large horizontal pipes, and tops of risers, and where vertical pipes branch off a main.
10. Upgrading lighting to comply with appropriate standards. These are specified by Section 805 of the New York city Energy Conservation Code and/or any applicable standards referenced in the code on or prior to December 31, 2024. (This provision is subject to exception 1 in section 28 310.3, provided that July 1, 2010 is replaced by January 1, 2020 for the purposes of this section).
11. Weatherizing and air sealing the building elements where appropriate, including windows and ductwork, with a focus on whole building insulation.
12. Installing timers on exhaust fans.
13. Installing radiant barriers behind all radiators.
14. Target peak demand. This is incentivized by the law and the concept will be defined by a future City Council report by Jan 1 2023.

Why our customers love Verdigris

Verdigris is an energy metering, real-time analytics solution, and automation solution. We provide:
• fast implementation
• easy to use systems
• award-winning support
• automatic functions
• great data
• fundamental application to future programs

You don’t have to take our word! Check out our customer stories to see what some of our satisfied clients had to say about us.

Integrate Verdigris with your existing programs

Local Law 97 has been introduced to reduce carbon emissions in the City of New York. It will apply to around 60% of the building area in the city and compliance deadlines commence in 2024. Significant numbers of buildings are not compliant and the fines are large. The flip side is that compliant buildings will have significantly lower energy costs and positive public standing.

There are plenty of resources out there to help you comply with the new law. Verdigris offers a first- principles step-by-step guide on how to get the job done. Our system for collecting emissions data is quick to install, cloud-based, provides benchmarking data, and builds on existing infrastructure.

Talk to Verdigris product specialist about Metering, Analytics, or Building Automation in the NYC Area.