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New York City's recent LL84 Amendment lowers mandatory benchmarking and audit to 25,000 Gross SF

October 13, 2016

On October 13, 2016, the New York City Council approved an important amendment to Local Law 84, another solid step towards Mayor de Blasio’s ardent quest for New York City to emerge as the global leader in sustainability and resiliency - keeping the promises outlined in One City, Built to Last Plan developed by the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and the Greater, Greener Buildings Plan . The amendments, Int. No. 1163A, was drafted by committees chaired by Councilman Garodnick and guided through by Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council members Richards, Johnson, Constantinides, Chin, Rosenthal, Kalos and Barron (in conjunction with the Mayor). We can expect greater calls for stronger standards and reporting requirements in the months and years ahead. All required for New York City to catch up with global applications. New York City was ranked the 20th of the leading sustainable cities globally, and third behind Boston and Chicago in the United States according to the 2015 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index. The Amendment: Updates to Local Law 84 will impact two categories identified as City Buildings & Covered Buildings CITY BUILDING. A building that is more than 10,000 gross square feet, as it appears in the records of the department of finance, that is owned by the city or for which the city regularly directly pays all [or part] of the annual energy bills, provided that two or more buildings on the same tax lot shall be deemed to be one building. COVERED BUILDING. As it appears in the records of the department of finance (i) a building that exceeds [50,000] 25,000 gross square feet, (ii) two or more buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet, [or] (iii) two or more buildings held in the condominium form of ownership that are governed by the same board of managers and that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet, or (iv) a city building. The amendment to Local Law 84, lowers the requirement for mandatory benchmarking from 50,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet. However, there are exceptions. This new legislation will greatly impact a key segment of New York City's building stock. Importantly, building owners, developers, engineers, architects and related professionals will be required to be up to speed reporting deadlines, and a set of new guidelines. New Language and Reporting Requirements: Aside from lowering the square footage, the amendment has a wealth of exceptions and reporting guidelines which will put more teeth into Local Law 84. GBW feels that these are necessary and solid steps toward collaboration and transparency. New York City’s Climate Targets: A Roadmap for New York City’s Buildings, the One City Built to Last Plan outlined a pathway to 80 by 50, we will need to reduce GHG emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, and power our buildings by 30 percent from 2005 levels over the next decade. City government can lead the way, and will commit to achieving a 35 percent reduction in emissions in the next ten years. Background: The One City Built to Last plan set out to achieve these goals by 2025

  • Complete efficiency improvements in every City-owned building that has significant energy use and install 100 MW of onsite renewable power.

  • Implement leading edge performance standards for new construction that cost- effectively achieve highly efficient buildings, looking to Passive House, carbon neutral, or “zero net energy” strategies to inform the standards.

  • Develop interim energy performance targets for existing buildings to be met through both voluntary reductions and new regulations, such as performance standards and measure-based mandates, which would be triggered if adequate reductions are not achieved.

The plan is deployed under One City, Built to Last, a long-term scheme to improve the energy efficiency of NYC buildings and to adapt to more renewable energy sources. Buildings contribute to three-quarters of the total emissions in the city every year. . Council member Daniel Garodnick remarked, “the city and building owners are natural partners in energy efficiency."

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