Fines loom for NYC buildings that do not meet local energy laws

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By Michael Berry

Nearly 70% of NYC’s carbon emissions come from the fossil fuels used to heat, cool, and power its buildings. By enacting several local building energy laws, the city aims to significantly reduce emissions on its pathway to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. These laws require building owners to measure, report on, and reduce their building’s energy usage and carbon emissions — or face annual fines.

Local Law 97 (LL97) requires most existing buildings larger than 25,000 gross sq. ft. to meet carbon reduction targets starting in 2024. Emissions caps for all buildings will become more stringent over three major penalty periods: 2024–2029, 2030–2034, and 2035 and beyond.

Local Law 154 (LL154), also known as the “All-Electric Law,” goes beyond previous regulations to phase out fossil fuels in buildings. By setting strict carbon limits, it effectively bans gas- and oil-fired appliances, such as stoves and boilers, in new buildings and major renovations. The law encourages the use of electricity as the sole power source for buildings, enabling them to run on cleaner fuels as the city expands its use of renewable energy. LL154 goes into effect starting with low-rise buildings in 2024 and high-rise buildings in 2027.

For architects, engineers, developers, and contractors working on new construction and major renovation projects in NYC, local energy laws require planning for energy efficiency to help lower costs and avoid construction delays, while increasing property value and building marketability to attract potential buyers.

Take advantage of free assistance with long-term energy planning through NYC Accelerator, a citywide program sponsored by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. NYC Accelerator offers expert knowledge on local energy laws and electrification strategies to help builders and property owners understand compliance requirements. Since 2015, NYC Accelerator has provided free assistance to nearly 10,000 buildings — boosting energy performance and savings, improving air quality and comfort for occupants, and helping building owners comply with local laws and avoid fines.

According to Lisa Grayson Zygmunt, the outreach manager for NYC Accelerator, building improvements are a necessity to help make the city more resilient.

“Our future depends on how we manage our buildings and energy choices,” says Zygmunt. “Our program accelerates the process of transforming buildings to make the city cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable for all — now and for generations to come.”

For more information on NYC’s building energy laws, how they apply to new construction or major renovation projects, and how to find pathways to compliance, contact NYC Accelerator.