The Climate Mobilization Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation enacted in May of 2019. It was designed to reduce New York City’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 40% (2030), and up to 80% (2050). With being one year closer to the CMA, it’s high time the city is well prepared to act on the commitments.

To facilitate the ambitious goal, a series of bills were passed. The centerpiece of the legislation is NYC Local Law 97, among other laws. This is the part of the bill which specifically mandates what the greenhouse emissions limits are for each building type. More than 50,000 buildings will get impacted overall. In 2024, about 25% of those will be directly affected by the carbon emissions limit and practically every building in NYC by 2030. A typical commercial office building in midtown Manhattan of 250,000 sq ft. producing over 1.5 tons of stipulated carbon limits will be looking at a fine of over $100,000, and progressively for each year that follows.

1. How to comply with LL97?

Which properties are affected?
1. Buildings over 25,000 square feet
2. Two or more buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 50,000 square feet
3. Two or more condominium buildings governed by the same board of managers that together exceed 50,000 square feet

The basic requirements of the law are:-

  1. Determining how and when a building needs to comply

2. Conducting an energy audit & retro-commissioning of all the systems mandatorily will enable the owners to submit the Energy Efficiency Report. The report is to be compulsorily submitted to the City once every ten years.

Even though the building limits are set for 2050, the law takes an incremental approach to carbon reduction by setting progressive, periodic goals. The first two goals have been set for the years 2024-2029, and 2030-2034. For the years 2035-2050, the emissions limit will be set in 2023. All buildings are required to submit an annual report by May 1 which ought to be certified by a design professional stating that the building is in compliance.

Related laws
Local Law 97 cannot experience compliance in isolation for its related laws sort of prepare the building to come into a fit condition to comply. These sustainability strengthening initiatives date back to 2009 – Local Laws 84, 87, and 133.

2. How to comply with LL87

NYC Local Law 87 applies to buildings larger than 50,000 square feet and mandates for them to file an ‘Energy Efficiency Report’ with the Department of Buildings, which will contain details of the energy audit results & retro-commissioning measures- both, required by the law and deemed penal in cases of non-compliance.

The law also applies to

Energy Audit Retro-commissioning
An energy audit is an identification, survey, and analysis of the energy usage of a building that is carried out to optimize its efficiency. In other words, it helps maintain the same level of output while minimizing consumption. It also guarantees a reduction in terms of cost to the building owner and carbon footprint to the planet, respectively.


Retro-commissioning is a systematic process to enhance a building’s current performance by recognizing operational improvements to ultimately save on energy. The process can be performed in isolation or ideally, along with retrofitting.  As per Portland Energy Conservation Inc., energy savings typically range from anywhere between 5-and 20% with paybacks made within a year.


-two or more buildings on the same tax lot number that together exceed 100,000 square feet

– two or more buildings are held in the condominium form of ownership that is covered by the same board of managers that together exceed 100,000 square feet.

Exemptions from Local Law 87 if

– The building has received an EPA Energy Star label for 2/3 years before the audit due date

-The building has received LEED certification for existing buildings within 4 years before the audit due date.

What are building owners required to do?

Local Law 87 NYC explicitly mentions that the compliance date is determined by the last digit of the buildings’ tax block numbers. If the block number ends with 3, the report is due in 2013; similarly, a number ending in 4 will indicate 2014 as the due date, and so on. Post filing the initial report on the due date, Local Law 87 NYC demands that the building files an ‘energy-efficient report’ every 10 years. However, non-submission of the same will automatically indicate its violation, which will further imply a fine of $3,000 in the first year & $5,000 every year after.

3. How To Comply With LL 84?

First introduced in 2009 with NYC Local Law 84, Benchmarking mandates that buildings over 50,000 square feet report their annual energy usage and water consumption. The year 2016 witnessed an extension of it under Local Law 133 to also include properties with an area greater than 25,000 square feet but lesser than 50,000 square feet. The two laws serve in tandem to increase the transparency vis-a-vis building’s consumption patterns with an ultimate goal of achieving optimum energy efficiency.

The compliance process has been standardized and requires building owners to use the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) online benchmarking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The Portfolio Manager enables owners to identify opportunities to make their buildings more efficient, thereby saving money.

The law was further amended in 2018 with LL 33 which is in relation to the energy efficiency scores and grades that are required for the applicable buildings to benchmark their water and energy usage. The scores and grades are to be obtained, assigned, and disclosed in accordance with §28-309.12 annually based on Federal energy efficiency standards.

After the report is submitted, the building will receive a benchmarking score, and failing to do so is deemed penal with a fine of $500 charged by the Department of Buildings. As per Local Law 95 of 2019 which was a further amendment of Local Law 33, the energy efficiency scores will be assigned as follows:

-A: score equal to or greater than 85
-B: score equal to or greater than 70 but less than 85
-C: score equal to or greater than 55 but less than 70
-D: score lesser than 55
-F: for buildings that did not make the benchmarking submission in time
-N: for the buildings that are exempted or not covered under the Energy Star program

We, The Cotocon Group, have a proven history of providing compliance services in New York City to building owners that helps acquire LEED certifications of all categories. Our highly skilled team ensures building owners meet all the requirements from strategizing, budgeting, and handling documentation along with curating the information that needs to be shared by conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning to generating and submitting the Energy Efficiency Report within the deadline. We will demonstrate that the greatest return on investment for building owners is investing in energy efficiency.

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