NYC’s Local Law 97 Tackles Carbon Emissions in Buildings Head-on

The City of New York just passed an unprecedented piece of climate legislation to help ensure that overall carbon emissions are reduced 80 percent by 2050. 

Local Law 97 establishes “tough requirements for buildings to reduce carbon emissions. But it does so with innovative policy approaches that make it possible,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. Many of these approaches originated from the Blueprint for Efficiency, a collection of recommendations offered by Urban Green’s 80x50 Buildings Partnership.  

So, what’s next for New York City—and for the world looking in? Passing LL97 was step one, and now the city will strategize the best means of implementation. This will include key elements of the Blueprint, such as: a study of building carbon or efficiency credit trading; a timeline that allows efficiency upgrades to align with financing, equipment replacement and tenant turnover; an advisory board to refine mandate metrics and requirements; flexibility to buy green power; a higher bar for city buildings; and unique paths for special cases like rent-regulated buildings and houses of worship. 

Training is one of the key things that can be done now to prepare for these changes. Educating staff on the latest high-performance building strategies and technologies will help give them the right tools and knowledge for the work ahead. Currently, there are public GPRO courses throughout the country, including Urban Green Council’s Operations & Maintenance class on October 2-3 in Manhattan.  

This law is the first of its kind, but certainly won’t be the last, as cities around the world are mobilizing to tackle the challenge of lowering building emissions. And those who are properly trained will be those most equipped to handle the transition of what’s to come.