What is Local Law 97 ?
Local Law 97 (LL97) is New York City's innovational emissions law that place carbon caps on most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. The caps start in 2024 — with both emission goals and law enforcement becoming increasingly demanding over time. The city's goal is to eventually reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.
Many buildings in NYC are affected by LL97 and could face significant financial penalties if not compliant by 2024.
What does LL97 Mean for Your Building?
The first step is to determine if your property is subject to LL97.
Generally speaking, if a building is subject to the NYC Benchmarking Law, it is subject to the building emissions law. Check the Covered Buildings List for your property every year. If you are on the list, you need to determine your building's carbon emissions and limits.
Urban Green Council has a great FAQ on how to do that here.
How Large Are the Fines if I Can't Meet My Emission Targets?
LL97 has fines in three violation categories:
- Failure to file a report — $0.50 per building square foot, per month
- Exceeding your emissions limit — $268 for each metric ton over the building's established limit
- Providing false statements — $500,000
By way of example, a 50,000 sq./ft multi-family residential building emitting 400 metric tons of carbon would be 72.5 metric tons over its 2024-2029 targets — and pay a fine of $19,430.
How Can I Reduce My Building's Carbon Emissions?
Reducing a property's energy use is by far the most effective way to reduce its carbon footprint. There are several strategies for reducing energy costs, but few are as compelling and fundamental as submetering.
According to Marc Reimer of Bay City Metering, submetering provides the granular consumption detail that property managers and building owners need to reduce energy use and avoid potential LL97 fines.
" Local Law 97 enforces penalties on building owners for excessive energy usage. Owners can protect themselves by having a better understanding of their common area and tenant electricity use. Utility billing provides the full scope of usage and cost, but smaller, more granular data is needed to truly understand where, why, and how electricity is being used.
Through submetering, owners can zero in on tenant usage or equipment that leads to energy waste, and correct these problems — thereby lowering their usage, costs, and penalties. "
Marc Reimer, Bay City Metering
Marc's not alone in these assertions. Many studies have shown that using submeters to allocate expenses based on actual energy use is one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption. For more on the benefits and payback of submetering, see Making the Case for Energy Metering, ASHRAE.
Reducing a property's energy consumption with submetering not only sets property managers and building owners up for LL97 compliance, but can significantly improve building operations, allow for fair cost allocations, and increase tenant satisfaction.
For more on the power of submetering for energy management, see "Submetering for Commercial and Residential Properties: How Much Could You Save, Really?"
While New York's building emission and energy use laws are stringent — they are forward-thinking and fair. If property managers and building owners act now, there is plenty of time to put in energy savings practices and processes that will allow them to be LL97 compliant.
And perhaps as, or more important than being compliant, is the amount of money you'll save on energy costs, improvements to failing building equipment and increased tenant satisfaction.
For more on navigating New York City's aggressive building emission (LL97) and submetering (LL88) laws, check out "Submetering in New York City: Compliance and Opportunity."