What is Local Law 97?


Starting in 2024, Local Law 97 mandates New York City buildings not exceed greenhouse gas emissions above a certain threshold or face financial penalties.

Why it Matters

With the aim of reducing 80% of carbon emissions from buildings by 2050, this law will be enforced on buildings with over 25,000 sqft. floor area in the city.

The emission limits will be set for two compliance periods: 2024-2029 and 2030-2034. If the law went into effect today, 20% of NYC’s highest carbon-emitting buildings would face penalties. The emission limits will become more stringent in 2030, bringing the percentage of penalized buildings up to 75% if it were to go into effect today.

To check if your building is in compliance or not, compare its annual emission with the emissions limit over the corresponding floor area for either of the two compliance periods (2024-29 or 2030-34). You can also use this interactive NYC Energy & Water Performance Map to do the same. Enter your address and go under ‘GHG’ (Greenhouse Gases) to compare the GHG Intensity versus the GHG Intensity Target. If the former is greater, an annual penalty of $268/metric ton of CO2 will be charged.

For example,
Annual building emission = 131.9 metric tons of CO2

2030-34 limit for this type of building = 1.10 kg CO2

Building area = 110,821 sq ft.

Emissions allowance for the building = (1.10 kg CO2 * 110,821 sq ft.)/1000= 121.9 metric tons of CO2

Clearly, this building’s annual emission exceeds its allowance by 10 metric tons of CO2.

So, the penalty charged= $268 * 10 metric tons of CO2 = $2,680

To prevent penalties, make sure annual emissions doesn’t exceed the limit by the compliance period. Building emission is directly related to the energy consumed, and while there are different methods to minimize this consumption, certain gaps in tenant billing, equipment performance or maintenance issues can offset the process.

Here are some techniques to fill those gaps using technology -

  • Automated Submetering: Understand utility spend on a granular level by not only targeting individual equipment in the building but also the tenant’s energy consumption rate. Automation will help uncover utility costs, providing transparency in submeter billing process for the tenants.
  • Equipment Monitoring: Evaluate how to run equipment more efficiently instead of waiting for a shutdown or maintenance schedule. Asset intelligence uses data from sensors and building management systems, if present, to deliver actionable insights for not just energy conservation but much more.
  • Energy & ESG Module: Use retrofits to cut energy costs and achieve a faster payback period. For example, a variable frequency drive will optimally shift a motor speed instead of running it on peak demand all the time. Data-driven retrofits like VFD monitor energy usage in real time and help take decisions related to performance optimizations.

Energy efficiency is not just a way to control your building emissions but a gateway to boosting revenue. With energy insights on such a granular level, you can optimize HVAC systems, retrofit evaluations, tenant submetering process and more.