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National Grid

Introduction: Getting up to Speed with Local Law 97 Compliance

Owners and managers of many New York City multifamily buildings must work toward compliance with Local Law 97, the city’s contribution to global sustainability. In this first report of a three-part series, National Grid explains the importance of Local Law 97 and its compliance process—and how the utility is helping its customers become compliant.

Local Law 97: New York City takes aim at greenhouse gases

As compliance deadlines approach, National Grid is helping multifamily buildings build a response plan.

On the heels of the pandemic, New York City rental buildings, condos and co-ops are gearing up for another challenge: compliance with Local Law 97. Passed in 2019, LL 97 is part of the Climate Mobilization Act and targets greenhouse gas emissions, an established environmental peril. Though the key criterion for compliance eligibility is having 25,000 square feet or more of total space, specific conditions and exemptions apply.

LL 97 calls for a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, as compared to 2005 statistics. The NYC Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance, part of the Department of Buildings, will require buildings to submit an annual Greenhouse Gas Emission Report, prepared in cooperation with a qualified energy consultant. The first report, on 2024 usage, is due on May 1, 2025. Based on this timeframe, it’s recommended that owners make any changes to reduce their energy usage by January 1, 2024, to have these changes reflected in the first report.

How much is too much?

Are you uncertain about the quantity of greenhouse gas your building releases? Metered New York, a greenhouse gas calculator hosted by the Urban Green Council, can provide an estimate. Type in your address and you’ll receive your 2016 emissions amount, a percentile ranking and a graph showing your building’s usage between 2010 and 2016, if applicable, all based on city statistics. However, this is simply some good background. You can then work with your energy consultant and your utility provider to establish your current and target usage numbers.

Noncompliance comes with consequences

The Department of Buildings estimates that 20 to 25 percent of eligible buildings will exceed their 2024 emissions limits. These properties will be subject to a penalty in 2025 if they do nothing to ensure greater efficiency and compliance today.

The city considers failing to file a Greenhouse Gas Emission Report and exceeding the emissions limit as violations. Misrepresenting energy usage is classified as a misdemeanor. Current fines include:

  • Failure to file a report: $.0.50 per square foot per month.
  • Exceeding the carbon emissions limit: $268 per metric ton over the building’s designated limit.
  • Submitting false statements: $500,000.

National Grid gas customers gain an edge.

Many buildings will be able to achieve compliance by making small adjustments to their best practices and usage habits. However, others may need to make substantial alterations to their gas, electric and water systems or replace them completely.

National Grid natural gas customers in either group can get some valuable assistance. The utility’s Benchmarking Program is created and managed in collaboration with energy consulting firm Leidos. The program helps buildings gather and analyze their energy use data using the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Then, they can collaborate to attack inefficiencies and maintain compliance.

Leidos has much experience and expertise in working with residential buildings of all kinds, as its consultants work toward energy efficiency.

“The majority of our work is with property management firms, often including co-op or condo boards. We also work closely with the owners of smaller buildings,” says Karla Winter, a Leidos energy consultant.

What’s more, the firm is willing and able to help a National Grid customer promote an energy-efficiency program internally.

“If a board of directors needs residents’ buy-in to get an energy project budgeted, we can help them prepare for that presentation and even take part in it,” says Ron Gillooly, industrial energy program director at Leidos.

The National Grid/Leidos energy assessment report offers upgrade recommendations. Areas of improvement may include:

  • Prescriptive incentives for boilers and other heating equipment.
  • No-cost installations of high-efficiency water- and energy-saving devices including aerators, showerheads and spray valves through the Direct Install Program.
  • Custom incentive measures, such as one-time incentives on preapproved projects not covered by common incentive measures, such as boiler controls and steam traps.

Your next steps.

Once you’ve committed to ensuring a building’s compliance, it’s time to run the numbers. In the next article of this series, we’ll discuss the critical role of benchmarking energy usage as part of a comprehensive compliance program.

A Quick Word on Those Energy Grade Signs

Most New Yorkers have seen large signs in many apartment building lobbies touting energy-efficiency grades. These ratings are based on usage statistics of similar New York City buildings, as well as nationally applied EPA criteria.

But guess what? Getting an A or a B does not ensure Local Law 97 compliance, since these grades are relative to similar buildings’ total energy usage. Local Law 97 addresses carbon emissions only—and has set its own carbon-emissions standards.


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