Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

NYC Building Managers Look to Efficient Solutions to Meet Strict Emissions Regulations

3 min read

COVID-19 may have slowed down the busy pace of New York City, but it didn’t slow down the race to meet new emissions standards. New York City has more than one million buildings that are responsible for 71 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 94 percent of its electricity consumption.

These high percentages explain why strict building emissions regulations have surfaced as the city works to achieve a goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Passed in 2019 as part of the NYC Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97 focuses on reducing GHG emissions from New York City buildings of a certain size by the end of 2024.

Local Law 97 sets emissions caps for buildings that are 25,000 square feet and larger, or two or more buildings on the same tax lot together exceeding 50,000 feet, and mandates steep fines on the buildings that fail to meet reduction targets. Emissions caps are assigned in phases beginning in 2030, 2035 and 2040, and will get increasingly stringent through 2050, requiring most eligible buildings to complete a full energy retrofit.2

In addition to the need to comply with regulations, many NYC businesses have taken a hit during the pandemic and are looking for ways to balance reentry while preserving cash and budgets. Taking advantage of funding mechanisms requiring zero capital for energy efficiency upgrades may lead to cost savings.

How Does Reporting Work?

All buildings covered by Local Law 97 will need to begin reporting their emissions beginning January 1, 2024, with emissions reports being due May 1, 2025, and every May thereafter. If you’re required to report annual energy and water use under NYC Local Law 84, chances are high that your building will also be subject to LL97.

Phase two gets much stricter, and most covered buildings will face fines if reductions aren’t made before 2030.

Failure to report emissions results in a fine of 50 cents per building square foot per month, with additional penalties for false reporting. In addition, buildings that exceed emissions limits will be fined $268 for each metric ton over the building’s limit.

What Energy-Efficient Upgrades Should Businesses Make to Their Buildings?

Even with COVID19 temporarily closing facilities and thereby reducing energy usage, buildings that meet eligibility criteria should consider acting now. New York City businesses looking to reduce emissions, in an effort to comply with LL97,  can take advantage of Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy (EME) program. Through EME, energy managers can identify and implement efficiency upgrades that can help reduce energy usage, your energy bill and carbon emissions. Our EME customers have collectively reduced CO2 emissions by 613,000,000 pounds or approximately 393,000 MWh, which is equivalent to 60,071 passenger vehicles taken off the road for one year.

The program requires no upfront capital so you can preserve your business’s budget for other core business priorities.

In addition to typical energy conservation measures, Constellation’s EME program can be used to fund upgrades and improvements related to COVID-19. Some projects may include:

  • LED lighting (e.g., sanitizing lighting may be a common installment in businesses that wish to take further precautions to help prevent the spread of communicable disease)
  • Building automation controls
  • Motor replacement with high efficiency motors and utilization of variable frequency drives
  • Thermal scanning and facility access management terminals
  • HVAC (The Environmental Protection Agency recommends ventilation and filtration through ventilating, cooling and heating systems to reduce the spread of COVID-19.)3

Because Constellation prioritizes safety and wellness of all its employees and customers, we have implemented COVID-19 safety protocols as we work with contractors to ensure all work is performed in a safe manner that follows all of the safety guidelines set forth for compliance by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a COVID-19 environment. This includes all auditors, contractors and personnel associated with any EME project wearing proper PPE clothing, masks, eye protection, gloves and other protocols mandated by the Centers for Disease Control along with any state and local requirements. Learn more about OSHA requirements here.

Learn more about our Efficiency Made Easy solution, which requires no upfront capital.



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