NYC Climate Advisory Board Appointed in December

New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act, which includes Local Law 97, was passed in April 2019, as part of the City’s goal of making New York City carbon neutral by 2050. In December, the newly created 15-member Climate Advisory Board met for the first time, tasked with providing advice and recommendations toward the implementation of the new legislation.

“Progressive cities like ours must lead the way on climate change, and that’s exactly what this Council did with Local Law 97. The Council is proud of its appointees to the Climate Advisory Board and looks forward to working with them and with the administration’s appointees to continue the fight against climate change,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“We are proud to take a leading role in executing the Green New Deal,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “We look forward to working with a broad range of stakeholders to help establish best practices to tackle the largest source of our city’s emissions, our buildings. We owe it to future generations to meet the challenge of global warming head-on.” Buildings currently account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC.

The Local Law 97 Advisory Board is made up of architects, engineers, property owners, representatives from the business sector and public utilities, environmental justice advocates, and tenant advocates. In addition to providing guidance, the Advisory Board is also required to prepare and submit periodic reports on the results of implementation once the law is fully in effect.

The City’s goals are ambitious and laudable, but they will take time, effort and expense to implement. We are working closely with all our client boards to start early and budget wisely to meet the target dates set for by the City and to avoid any fines by meeting requirements in a timely manner.

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NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act meets the challenge of global warming head-on. Currently, buildings account for about two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in the City.

Rate Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

Beginning in May, the City’s “Benchmarking” regulations will be expanded to include all
buildings over 25,000 square feet (under the earlier version of the law, buildings of less than 50,000 were not required to benchmark). As part of Local Law 133 of 2016, which expanded LL 84, owners must report water and energy consumption annually through the City’s online portal (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager). Failure to report can carry fines of up to $2000 per year. The City will use this information to create metrics to track and compare the energy efficiency of similar buildings, and ultimately will release a rating for each property, which will be available to the public.

A better rating will have a positive impact on property values, giving owners an incentive to take action to cut back on water and energy consumption, as part of the City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and 2050. We at DEPM care deeply about energy conservation and have instituted many improvements in our client buildings, including converting boilers from oil to gas, replacing incandescent lights with energy saving LED lights, installing new windows and more. Our managers are working with all their properties to implement conservation initiatives in the coming year. For more information on the City’s Benchmarking program, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/benchmarking.page

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New York City’s Benchmarking program is part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan to reduce carbon emissions.

Oil-to-Gas Conversion Update

In 2011, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued regulations phasing out the use of “dirty” fuel oils No. 6 and No. 4. Effective immediately was the provision that all new boilers and burners must use clean fuel: natural gas, No. 2 oil, biodiesel or steam. All buildings must convert by January 1, 2030, or whenever their existing system needs replacement. The last three-year Certificates of Operations for buildings burning No. 6 oil will expire July 1, 2015, somany buildings are up against an impending deadline.

When the NYC Clean Heat plan was initiated, the City estimated that 10,000 buildings would need to convert to cleaner fuel. These buildings—just one percent of the City’s properties—create 86 percent of the building-produced soot pollution, an environmental and health threat that can lead to fatal heart and lung conditions, including asthma.

Already half the buildings have converted to cleaner fuel, leaving just 5,000 left to do so, and this change has resulted in the best air quality in New York city in more than 50 years. But the conversion itself can be both complex and expensive. Many buildings wishing to convert to cleaner and cheaper natural gas, have been unable to do so because they don’t have the required gas lines, and are thus forced to switch to No. 4 oil while waiting for Con Ed to complete the infrastructure work, which they expect to take five more years (see Area Grown Map). As Con Ed runs the pipes,
buildings in the zones pictured may be able to connect at no cost. Gas service requests may be made through Con Ed’s website to determine the time frame and costs involved, if any.

DEPM is working with our client buildings to be sure they meet conversion deadlines. For more information on program requirements, deadlines and assistance, contact your DEPM Account Executive or visit NYCcleanheat.org, coned.com/gasconversions or edf.org/cleanheat. Or call us at 212-370-9200.

Con Ed expects to run gas lines to buildings in the areas of Manhattan shown on the map below by the dates in the color-coded key. Buildings must request gas service from Con Ed using their online request form at ConEd.com/es. If you are in the Bronx or Queens, visit bit.ly/ConEdmap to see your borough’s map.

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Con Ed expects to run gas lines to buildings in the areas shown by the dates in the color-coded key. Buildings must request gas service from Con Ed using their online request form at ConEd.com/es.