For Immediate Release
April 9, 2020


Comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, working groups will study how to best implement the Building Mandates law, with a focus on new technologies, cost and feasibility of various retrofits for different types of end-users

New York, NY – Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca today announced that starting in May, DOB will be convening eight new Climate Working Groups to help develop best practices for building owners to comply with the building mandates legislation (Local Law 97 of 2019), a key part of Mayor de Blasio’s Green New Deal for New York City. They will examine the feasibility of various retrofits, strategies and technologies for a wide-range of end-users, like hospitals, commercial buildings, and large multifamily buildings. These working groups will leverage subject matter experts in a variety of fields, and will assist the NYC Climate Advisory Board by developing recommendations on how the City can best implement this first-of-its-kind Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction law. These meeting will be held digitally as long as in-person meetings are inadvisable according to public health officials due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are leading the way in local climate action by convening these working groups, so we can collaborate to develop best practices and implement this groundbreaking law,” said DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “As we aggressively pursue the Mayor’s Green New Deal goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, what we learn about building retrofits will be a model for other cities around the country. While our lives have changed dramatically in these uncertain times, it is essential that we continue doing the work that helps build a fairer city for all.”

Buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to meet new limits. By 2030 these emissions must be reduced by 40 percent, and by 2050, further reduced by 80 percent. The NYC Climate Advisory Board, and our new Climate Working Groups, will advise the city on how best to meet these aggressive sustainability goals. Recommendations resulting from the advisory board process are due to the Mayor and City Council no later than January 1, 2023.

In each of the eight new Climate Working Groups the members will focus on different factors that will be key to implementing energy efficiency retrofits citywide. Details of each group’s focus and specific missions are below.

  • Building Technologies & Pathways (Multifamily Buildings)
    Focus: Improving building scale energy usage for multifamily buildings through retrofits, enforcement improvements and studying tenant energy use.

  • Building Technologies & Pathways (Commercial Buildings)
    Focus: Examine the impacts of tenant/owner structure, building typology, and building electrification on energy usage and Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction opportunities.

  • Carbon Accounting
    Focus: Recommend methodologies to calculate buildings’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions and identifying the metrics to prove reliable and effective results.

  • Energy Grid
    Focus: Understand potential impact of a changing energy infrastructure on buildings and provide advice on how to navigate it.

  • Economic Impact
    Focus: Analyze the economic impact that achieving reduced energy and emissions may have on city-wide financial growth, leasing agreements and operating costs.

  • Hospitals
    Focus: Address the unique energy demands of healthcare facilities and recommend solutions for compliance.

  • Communications
    Focus: Provide input on necessary outreach to educate building owners, designers and operators about requirements for compliance and create transparent environment on new rules and regulations.

  • Implementation
    Focus: Provide input on practical realities of demonstrating compliance and achieving long term goals of the mandate.

The Department of Buildings has been spearheading New York City’s sustainability efforts to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases of buildings. Our newly passed 2020 Energy Conservation Code is the cornerstone of this effort, which starting May 12, 2020, creates a new baseline for energy efficiency for all new buildings and major alteration projects in the City. The Department has also implemented new requirements for all new buildings and existing buildings undergoing major roof renovations to be outfitted with a solar or green roof system.

“Achieving the Green New Deal will depend on all stakeholders aligning to ensure that Local Law 97 is successfully and effectively implemented,” said Gina Bocra, DOB Chief Sustainability Officer. “We look forward to convening these working groups and harnessing their leadership, expertise, and creativity for this groundbreaking law.”

"Relentless collaboration is how New York City delivered and passed landmark climate policy, and that collaboration continues with these new working groups," said Mark Chambers, Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. "This embrace of the hard work it takes to deliver thoughtful policy implementation and culture change will ensure all New Yorkers benefit from better buildings."

“Our efforts at outreach and inclusion must equal our ambitions. That is why I welcome the announcement of these eight new Climate Working Groups to mobilize the expertise of stakeholders,” said City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “Tackling buildings emissions will require lifting up innovation, sharing of best practices, and stepping up efforts on all our parts to drive change. These new Climate Working Groups represent an important new addition to that effort to achieve our City’s ambitious goals.”

"We cannot wait for this crisis to end; we must continue the important work of preparing to retrofit our buildings. While New Yorkers stay home, they are understanding more than ever how necessary essential improvements, such as replacing windows and installing thermostats, are in their homes,” said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director of AIANY. “The American Institute of Architects New York is proud of its many members serving on the Local Law 97 Advisory Board and working groups. We thank Commissioner La Rocca for her continued perseverance in ensuring this law's effective implementation."

“We need all hands on deck to ensure Local Law 97 is implemented practically and successfully,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “The Climate Working Groups will leverage the city’s many experts and stakeholders to make sure this landmark law transforms NYC’s buildings for a low-carbon future.”

For more information about sustainability at the Department of Buildings, visit our website.

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