City Council approves changes to help owners meet carbon cap

Mayoral plan passes as Local Law 97 fines loom

Council Passes Adams Plan to Help Owners Meet Carbon Cap
Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer (LinkedIn, Getty)

The City Council on Wednesday passed a series of zoning changes that may help building owners comply with emissions caps that kick in next year.

The Council approved the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality text amendment, which has 17 zoning changes, three months after the mayor-controlled City Planning Commission did.

The Council made minor modifications to clarify and adjust terms and definitions, but left in place the heart of the text amendment, which aims to make it easier to retrofit buildings and install green energy technology.

The changes should make it easier for building owners to comply with Local Law 97, which set emissions limits starting next year for buildings 25,000 square feet and larger. The city will start fining violators based on next year’s emissions.

City Planning has estimated the text amendment would enable environmental upgrades at 50,000 buildings.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

At a press conference Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer said the amendment would make it easier to install solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicle chargers. She added that the “historic” policies would allow builders, developers and architects to see a clearer path to climate-related improvements.

They will make it easier to store mechanical equipment for electrifying buildings and change the rules governing how building envelopes count toward a property’s total floor area, which should encourage re-cladding.

The text amendment also creates a process for City Planning to review applications for taller wind-energy systems on the waterfront, allows for solar panels to cover more surface area on rooftops and permits solar canopies above parking lots.

Time is ticking for building owners to cap their emissions, much to the concern of some who fear compliance is impossible. The city has thrown them a bone, giving owners who fail to meet next year’s caps two more years to comply with Local Law 97, and lower penalties in the interim, if they make a “good faith effort” to reduce carbon emissions.

The city has a goal of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Read more

City Planning Chair Dan Garodnick and the solar canopies at Whole Foods in Gowanus
New York
These changes would help landlords meet carbon cap
New York
Landlord fines for building emissions could hit $900M by 2030
City to curb fines for owners who can’t meet Local Law 97 deadline
New York
City throws bone to owners behind on Local Law 97
Recommended For You