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New York City recently passed the ambitious Climate Mobilization Act, a package of bills and resolutions that aims to significantly reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions and fight against climate change.

The Climate Mobilization Act includes the following local laws, introductions, and resolutions:

Local Law 97 (Intro. 1253) – Reducing Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Starting in 2024, buildings over 25,000 square feet will be mandated to meet carbon emission limits. Buildings that exceed their designated emission limits will face financial penalties, which can be significant depending on the facility. This law will also initiate an emissions trading system, which will be studied and outlined by January 1st, 2021. Such a study will examine pricing mechanisms and credit verification. In addition, the law will develop a system of renewable energy credits (RECs) limited to NYS electric generation for up to 10% of compliance with the emission limit of a building.

Local Law 96 (Intro. 1252) – Establishing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program
NYC will establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program, which is a voluntary financing mechanism that provides low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency projects. Such a program will enable more building owners to implement clean energy measures and thus reduce NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Local Law 95 (Intro. 1251) – Adjusting Energy Letter Grade Ranges
Starting in 2020, buildings over 25,000 sqft must display their energy letter grades at all public entrances. The grade ranges have now been changed so the majority of buildings fall into the “D” grade category. The new letter grade ranges are:

Letter Grade

Benchmarking Score (from LL84 data)

A

85 – 100

B

70 – 84

C

55 – 69

D

1 – 54

F

Failure to comply with Local Law 84

 

Local Law 94 (Intro. 1032) – Requiring Green Roofs on NYC Buildings
New constructions and buildings undergoing certain major renovations will be required to include a green roof system or rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

Local Law 92 (Intro. 276) – Installing Green Roofs on Smaller Buildings
This bill will adjust requirements of Introduction 1032 for smaller buildings.

Local Law 93 (Intro. 1031) – Posting Information on the Installation of Green Roof  Systems
A newly established Office of Alternative Energy will be required to post on its website and share information regarding the installation of green roofs and other materials relating to green roof systems.

Resolution 66 – Green Roof Tax Abatement Resolution
This resolution calls upon the State Legislature to pass legislation that would increase property tax abatement for the installation of a green roof, incentivizing building owners to install green roofs.

Local Law 98 (Intro. 1317) – Clarifying the Inclusion of Large Wind Turbines
Department of Buildings (DOB) now has authority and obligation to develop clear standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and removal of large wind turbines in New York City.

Introduction 1318 – Replacement of Gas-Fired Power Plants
This bill mandates a feasibility evaluation of replacing NYC’s gas-fired power plants with battery storage systems powered by renewable sources.

Resolution 845 – Williams Pipeline Resolution
This resolution calls upon the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to deny the Water Quality Certification permit for the construction of the Williams pipelines.

Introduction 1527 – Imposing Fee for Paper Bags
Starting March 1, 2020, the City will require a 5-cent fee to be imposed on paper bags distributed by stores.

The Climate Mobilization Act is the largest legislative initiatives any major city has exerted efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, showing New York City’s commitment to combat climate change. The result of this Act is expected to be the equivalent of taking over one million cars off the road by 2030.