Sustainable Building News

April 22, 2024


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Happy Earth Day!

The Department of Buildings wants to wish all New Yorkers a happy Earth Day!

This agency is committed to promoting sustainable development that will help build a cleaner, energy efficient and more resilient New York City. Through the implementation and enforcement of sustainability-focused laws and the city's Energy Conservation Code, we are helping to make our city of over one million buildings greener with every permit we issue.

Carbon emission caps for the largest buildings in our City are currently in effect, thanks to Local Law 97, with the first compliance reporting deadline scheduled for May 1, 2025. The Sustainability Bureau here at DOB is still hard at work crafting additional agency rules that will be needed to fully implement the law over the next several decades, leading up to the 2050 net-zero finish line. We will have more information about upcoming rules in the near future, so stay tuned.

Please read on to see some of the other exciting sustainable buildings news items that we're excited to share.

Local Law 97 Rules Package

One of DOB's goals to help build a more sustainable city, is to encourage the use of electric heating, cooling, and hot water generation in buildings.

That's why the latest Local Law 97 rules published in December, 2023, created a beneficial electrification credit (or "BE Credit") that rewards building owners who replace their fossil fuel systems with electric heating, cooling, and/or hot water equipment. One of the best ways to achieve this credit is to install an electric heat pump, which emit fewer emissions while providing the same amount of heating/cooling compared to fossil-fuel equipment.

These credits can be used towards compliance with the 2024-2029 Local Law 97 emissions limits, and also for buildings that will need to reduce emissions to meet the more stringent 2030-2034 limits.

Learn more about the electrification credit here

Launch of 321 Go!

Did you know over 8,000 affordable Housing buildings are covered under Local Law 97 and have a compliance deadline this year?

To assist owners and managers of these buildings, the city announced the creation of 321 Go!, a free program to help affordable housing buildings comply with Local Law 97, reduce their energy costs, and capture incentives and rebates.

321 Go! is operated by NYC Housing Preservation & Development and NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in partnership with NYC Accelerator. The program is a compliance helpdesk that uses a building's address to present options that experts will then use to help building owners and managers develop a plan to best achieve their LL97 goals.

Buildings that are in HPD's asset-managed portfolio, larger than 25,000 sq. ft., and subject to LL97 Article 321 are eligible for the program.

Learn More and Sign-Up here

New Rule For Lighting and Sub-meters in Large Buildings

In the beginning of Earth Week, DOB said, 'Let There Be (more energy efficient) Light,'...and let us measure it!

Earlier this year, new DOB agency rules were adopted for Local Law 88 of 2009, requiring owners of buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to upgrade their lighting systems and install sub-meters.

Certain buildings are required to upgrade lighting power allowances and controls, in accordance with the requirements of Article 310 of Chapter 3 of Title 28 of the NYC Administrative Code; and to install electrical sub-meters in covered tenant spaces, in accordance with the requirements of Article 311 of Chapter 3 of Title 38 of the NYC Administrative Code, by January 1, 2025.

DOB information on lighting upgrades here

Additional compliance information here

New Federal Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is a new, national-scale fund that makes a $27 billion investment to combat the climate crisis by mobilizing financing and private capital for greenhouse gas and air pollution-reducing projects in communities across the country

Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and created under the federal Inflation Reduction Act, two of the grants under the program, the National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) and the Clean Communities Investment Act (CCIA), are intended for:

  • Building decarbonization retrofits,
  • Distributing clean energy resources such as solar and batteries,
  • Creating zero emissions transportation projects that benefit LMI communities.

This funding could potentially help with Local Law 97 compliance work in lower income, multi-family buildings. Stay tuned for more information about these funds as it becomes available. EPA News Release

Fun on Earth Day

Earth Day isn't just about the call to action for a more sustainable future, and a reminder about important sustainability regulations, but it's also a day for celebration.

This year for Earth Day we had a lot of fun on our official DOB social media accounts, by creating a new video explaining the various regulations we enforce, with inspiration from one of our favorite development-related video games, the much-loved 90s classic SimTower. Watch our video here.

We also brought back our official DOB Earth Day playlist for a second year. As usual the playlist tracks are all inspired by the good work DOB and the industry are doing collectively to promote a cleaner, more sustainable buildings industry. So turn up the volume, hit play and enjoy. Listen to our Playlist here.

For more information on sustainability, visit us online:

Jimmy Oddo, Commissioner

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