On April 18th, the City Council passed two laws related to buildings and the environment. The first, the much-discussed Intro. Number 1253, sets a schedule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings greater than 25,000 square feet by 80% by the year 2050. The second requires solar panels or a vegetative cover on certain roof spaces not otherwise in use.
For commercial buildings, Intro. 1253 sets emissions reduction mandates per square foot starting in 2024 through 2029, then essentially halves allowable emissions from 2029 levels for 2030 through 2034. Beyond 2034, emissions reductions would be set by a new Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance at DOB and a Task Force of stakeholders, but such reductions would have to meet the “80 x 50” mandate.
As alternatives to reducing emissions from buildings, the bill allows owners to deduct up to 100% of their emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits. For the 2024 to 2029 period, they can also deduct 10% of emissions by purchasing greenhouse gas offsets. The legislation also authorized the Task Force and above-mentioned new office to propose a permit-trading approach to meeting emissions reductions.
The legislation imposes major fines on buildings that fail to comply with the emissions mandates or do not submit annual emissions data.
The bill is complicated and will have a significant impact on existing buildings. That’s why BOMA New York dedicated this year’s Energy Action Day to it. Energy Action Day consisted of a keynote address from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, followed by a panel of building energy experts that explained the bill and how to comply with it.
The second bill, 1032, requires solar panels or green roofs on new buildings or when re-roofing occurs. Working with our allies, we were able to add a number of exceptions, such as where sites are unsuited for either technology.