Local Law 95
New York City Local Law 95 – A brief summary
2019 has been a wake-up call for sustainable real estate. I imagine we will look back at 2019 as a defining year in which climate change took center stage globally. The industry is maturing rapidly, while becoming more complex and very problematic. As the public and private sectors address GHG Emission limits, the stakes have risen and the connection between responsible real estate investment and long-term financial health has become of paramount importance.
Real estate sustainability is constantly evolving. Just like the New York City Local Law 33 has been amended to New York City Local Law 95.
With the Grading Law in full effect this year, it is imperative that your building’s data submission is performed accurately and concisely with your filing due by May 1st of this year.
We have seen 8-13-point decreases in building scores, simply because it was not simulated correctly, or because information was missing. Be Advised – this will have a tremendous impact on your Energy Grade.
The New York City Local Law 95 will require all buildings over 25,000 sq. ft. to publicly post their letter grade annually starting in 2020. The first letter grades will be based on the 2019 calendar year ENERGY STAR Scores that are submitted to the Department of Buildings by May 1, 2020.
This is a yearly process. Buildings that are not eligible for a score will receive an “N” and may be required to post the building Energy Use Intensity (EUI).
Who does it apply to?
The Local Law 95 applies to all commercial buildings over 25,000 sq ft. Any buildings that are subject to the Local Law 84 and Local Law 133 will need to comply with Local Law 95 as well.
What is Local Law 95 all about?
Local Law 95 consists of the publication of a value that measures the energy consumption and efficiency of a building. The value being the EPA ENERGY STAR Score measured on a scale of 1-100, and it is translated to an energy grade, which is represented with a letter between A and F. The energy grade is a comparative measure – meaning that a score of 50 represents median energy performance while a score of 75 or better is top performance indicator. Therefore, receiving an ‘A’ indicates that your building is amongst the top 15% in Energy Efficiency. Your building is compared in a national dataset amongst buildings with similar primary use, rather than based on location or portfolio. These scores are assigned by US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
When is it due?
The expected roll out of the required publication of a building’s energy score and grade is mid-2020. However, it is important to note that an energy grade will represent the year prior, so in 2020 we will see grades based upon 2019 scores.
The grades must be posted in a conspicuous location at the building entrance visible to tenants and visitors.
What is the Purpose?
The purpose of showcasing the Energy Grades in public is to make the public aware about Energy Efficiency. The department aims to do that by showcasing the grades in a public place like the building entrance.
Potential tenants may be drawn to buildings with higher scores and away from lower performing buildings. The letter grade was also an intentional move in order to move away from a very technical description of the Energy Efficiency, but rather a much more digestible format. The focus of the law prioritizes the visibility and publicness of the grade, so while owners will not be penalized for scoring poorly they can be penalized for not displaying their grades correctly or at all. It also means an increased property value for buildings with good Energy Grades.
We, at The Cotocon Group are experts in Energy Consulting, Local Law Compliance and Sustainable Engineering. Contact Us to get free consultation.
NYC Local Law 94 – Green Roofs
Buildings are responsible for two-thirds of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Green roofs are a multi-beneficial innovation that can play a valuable role in reducing GHG emissions and cleaning our air and water. Green roofs are now being required by NYC Local Law 94 to be installed on NYC buildings.
What is NYC Local Law 94?
New York City’s Local Law 94, passed under the New York City Climate Mobilization Act, requires the inclusion of a green roofing zone in new construction and for buildings undergoing certain major renovations.
This roofing zone must be comprised of a photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system (Solar Panels) or a green roof. Buildings with greater than 200 square feet of usable roof space must install a minimum of 4kW PV electricity generating system. If a building is unable to install a PV electricity generating system, a green roof system must be utilized.
This is part of the “OneNYC 2050” program.
Does it apply to the building I own?
Requirements of a green roof apply to buildings with:
- New construction
- Vertical and horizontal extensions
- Major modifications to the roof requiring a permit.
Standard roof membrane replacements will not trigger these requirements. Buildings must install green roofs if solar is not feasible, and vice versa. The City may develop additional feasibility criteria beyond those included in the legislation.
How does this benefit me?
Conventional roofs – particularly asphalt roofs – absorb heat throughout the day then releasing it at night, representing heat sinks spread throughout the city. Conventional roofs cause your cooling system to work harder and your bills to be higher.
There is a guaranteed return on investment of investing in solar energy, beyond the obvious good that you will be doing for the environment.
Not only this, PV systems’ ability to allow building owners to monetize their roofs and receive low-to-no-cost energy should be well understood.
Less well understood are how solar can help building owners comply with other components of the Climate Mobilization Act, as well as the ways in which installing solar panels can benefit their buildings.
For large building owners, Local Law 97 imposes Greenhouse Gas emissions limits on New York City’s buildings, owners will receive penalties for buildings exceeding those limits. We have explained in detail about Local Law 97 here.
Having a green roof can help you comply with Local Law 97.
How do I go about it?
The Cotocon Group has extensive experience with Local Law Compliance, Green Building Certifications, and sustainable Consulting. Get in touch with us to get a free consultation.
NYC Local Law 55
& Tenant Safety
New York City tenants can breathe easy because of Local Law 55 that was put into effect in January of 2018. This Local Law requires all multiple-dwelling property owners in NYC to investigate and remove all indoor health hazards which trigger asthma like, mold, rodents and cockroaches. Landlords must also apply safe and successful measures to ensure that their properties remain free of indoor health hazards.
The NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) is responsible for carrying out Housing in New York. This is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. The agency’s mission is to promote the quality and affordability of the city’s housing and the strength and diversity of its many neighborhoods. HPD strives to achieve this mission by:
- Preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants
- Developing new affordable housing
- Enforcing the Housing Maintenance Code
- Engaging neighborhoods in planning
In NYC tenants have many rights relating to the safety and quality of their housing. HPD works to protect these rights by preventing harassment, displacement, and ensuring low-income tenants facing legal proceedings in housing Court have universal access to legal representation.
Maintenance Requirements by Landlords
- Heart and Hot Water
- Indoor Allergen Hazards (Mold and Pests)
- Bedbugs (Local Law 69 of 2017)
- Lead-Based Paint (Local Law 1 of 2004)
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Window Guards (Local Law 57 of 2011)
- Basement and Cellar
- Signage, Filling, and Notices
- Outlet Covers in Public Areas
- Fire Safety (Local Law 10 of 1999)
- Stove Knob Covers
Violations For Noncompliance
Properties are subject to the penalties described below unless violations are corrected and the correction is certified to the Department by the dates indicated on the front of the Notice of Violation(s) mailed to the property owner or, in the case of heat and hot water violations, from the date the violation is posted at the building.
Class A Violations (Non-Hazardous)
- Failure to post a notice regarding the housing information guide: $250 each
- All other Class A violations: $10-$50 each
Class B Violations (Hazardous)
- $25-$100 each, plus $10 per violation per day
Class C Violations (Immediately Hazardous)
- Not related to heat, hot water, or illegal devices or lead-based paint:
- Buildings with 5 or fewer units: $50 per violation per day
- Buildings with more than 5 units: $50-$100 per violation plus $125 per violation per day
- Heat and hot water violations:
- $250-$500 per day for each violation from and including the date the notice is posted at the building until the date the violation is corrected
- $500-$1000 per day for each subsequent violation at the same building that occurs within two consecutive calendar years or, in the case of (hot water) during two consecutive periods of October 1st through May 31st (heat)
- Illegal Device on a central heating system:
- $25 per day (from the date the violation was posted on the building until the illegal device is removed) or $1,000, whichever is more
- Lead-Based paint violations:
- $250 per day violation, up to a maximum of $10,000
- False Certification: (can result in criminal charges)
- $50-$250 for non-lead violations
- A minimum of $1000 with a maximum of $3000 for lead violations.
Need to Correct a Mold Violation?
If your inspection reveals the existence of mold in your building, you’ll need to take immediate steps to correct it so that you’re not issued a violation. HPD has very specific criteria for who can perform a remediation for mold. According to Local Law 55, a mold hazard must be assessed and remediated by both the NYS licensed Mold Assessor and a NYS licensed Mold Remediator.
Bills Within The Act
By now almost everyone has an idea about what the Climate Mobilization Act, i.e the Green New Deal entails. It’s all over the news and social media, but what’s not there is the fine print. The laws within the Act are precisely the most important pieces of the entire puzzle. There are several bills or Local Laws in the Green New Deal,that we at The Cotocon Group have carefully put together for you.
Local Law 97 of 2019:
Reducing 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 Energy Use Intensity (EUI) limits will face steep penalties, depending on their facility. There are initiations of emission trading systems to be updated by 2021 as well as 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 of 2019:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Voluntary Finance Program
Establishes a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, i.e PACE. A sustainable energy loan program which is a voluntary financing mechanism that will provide low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency projects. P PACE will help building owners finance energy efficiency projects that are required by the new legislation in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions citywide.
PACE financing will be repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill and can be used for commercial, nonprofit, and residential properties.
Local Law 94/92 of 2019:
Requirement of Green Roofs on NYC Buildings
Requires the inclusion of a green roofing zone in new construction and for buildings undergoing certain major renovations. This roofing zone must be comprised of a photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating system (Solar Panels) or a green roof. Buildings with greater than 200 square feet of usable roof space must install a minimum of 4kW PV electricity generating system. If a building is unable to install a PV electricity generating system, a green roof system must be utilized.
These package of bills aim to significantly reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions and fight against climate change. The NYC Climate Mobilization Act includes local laws, introductions, and resolutions. We can only hope that these bills as well as property owners compliance will lead to a productive and positive outcome for our planets future.
The Cotocon Group believes firmly in a sustainable environment and works side by side with developers, building owners, and property managers to guide them into compliance. For any questions or information, please call us at, (212) 889-6566.