For Immediate Release: September 9, 2022
Contact:, (212) 393-2126


DOB’s First ever Climate-Focused Bureau Will be Led by Newly Appointed Deputy Commissioner and City Government Veteran Laura Popa

New York, NY– Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich today announced the creation of DOB’s first-ever solely dedicated Sustainability Bureau to oversee and spearhead all sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives at the Department. This includes the implementation of Local Law 97 of 2019, which caps carbon emissions from the City’s largest buildings. The Bureau, led by the Department’s newly appointed Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability, Laura Popa, is the latest in a series of appointments that reflects the Adams Administration’s strong commitment to a carbon neutral future for New York City. 

In her new role as Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability, Laura will work closely with Gina Bocra, the Department’s Chief Sustainability Officer, to push forward Department initiatives that will help New York City achieve its climate goals and continue to serve as a model for emissions reductions. Laura joins the Department after more than 22 years of public service as a legal and policy advisor at the New York City Council and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and she brings a wealth of sustainability experience to the Department. During her career in public service, she oversaw the development of legislation and policy at the City Council and directed the Council’s efforts to enact landmark legislation that supports citywide greenhouse gas emissions limits, the institutionalization of long-term sustainability and resiliency planning, and the expansion of clean and renewable energy. She also served on numerous advisory boards and task forces related to sustainability and was a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity. Laura taught at Fordham Law School for many years and is currently a lecturer at Columbia University. She is a graduate of New York University and Fordham Law School.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our building stock and pushing back against the damaging effects of climate change are some of the biggest challenges we face at the Department of Buildings,” said Commissioner Ulrich. “We need strong forward-thinking leadership if we want to continue being a global leader on the issue of building decarbonization, and I am confident that Laura Popa is the right choice to lead this new Bureau.”

“Decarbonized and energy efficient buildings mean healthier places to live and work for all New Yorkers,” said Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability Laura Popa. “I’m excited for the opportunity to help advance the Adams Administration’s commitment to a carbon neutral future and support Commissioner Ulrich, Chief Sustainability Officer Gina Bocra, and the dedicated team at the Department of Buildings.”

“The creation of the Bureau of Sustainability at DOB shows the Adams Administration’s deep commitment to reducing emissions citywide,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. “Over a decade ago, Laura Popa and I worked together to develop the first comprehensive green buildings legislation in the country. I’m thrilled to be working with her again to implement Local Law 97 and other bold climate policies that ensure New York City’s buildings are sustainable and resilient.”

“The appointment of Laura Popa as Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability and the creation of the Bureau of Sustainability at DOB sends a strong message that the mayor is prioritizing tackling emissions from the largest contributor to the city's carbon footprint - our buildings", said Donna De Costanzo, Eastern Regional Director, Climate and Clean Energy Program, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Laura has been a force for climate action and advancing less polluting, healthier buildings throughout her years in city government, helping to bring innumerable benefits to New Yorkers. We look forward to working with Laura, her team, and the rest of the Administration to continue to ensure the Big Apple is a model for advancing bold solutions to address the biggest environmental challenge of our time."

“Laura’s unparalleled knowledge and experience are uniquely suited to ensure effective implementation of Local Law 97,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “We applaud this appointment and look forward to working closely with Laura and the exceptional team at the Department of Buildings to drive down carbon emissions across NYC.”

“At this pivotal stage for Local Law 97, Brookfield is pleased to see the caliber and expertise of Laura Popa to guide the successful implementation of the law,” said Sabrina Kanner, Executive Vice President, Development, Design & Construction, Brookfield Properties Development.

“The Regional Plan Association (RPA) is delighted to welcome Laura Popa as the first Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Sustainability at the NYC Department of Buildings,” said Dale Bryk, Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment, RPA. “Establishing this bureau is a critical step forward in the City’s efforts to effectively implement the ground-breaking Local Law 97, and improve the quality of our buildings while creating jobs and leading the fight against climate change. Deputy Commissioner Popa's skills and experience are perfectly suited to this challenge. We look forward to working with her as she takes on this new role."

“Today is a great day for the environment in New York City,” said Julie Tighe, President, New York League of Conservation Voters. “With the establishment of the office for the Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability, Mayor Adams and the Department of Buildings demonstrate their deep commitment to sustainable practices and ensuring Local Law 97–which is crucial to reducing carbon emissions in the city–is implemented smartly and effectively. Laura Popa’s extensive experience in city government and her proven work developing policies on climate change and sustainability make her the perfect choice to serve as the first Deputy Commissioner in this role.”

“New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is on the frontlines of decarbonizing our buildings and the appointment of Laura Popa as the Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Sustainability at DOB exemplifies the department’s commitment to climate action,” said Kyle Kimball, Vice President of Government, Regional & Community Affairs at Con Edison. “Con Edison applauds this appointment and has worked closely with Laura on various sustainability initiatives in her previous roles and looks forward to this important role the new bureau and our company will play to decarbonize the City’s buildings.”