local law 97

What Is Local Law 97… And How Does It Affect Your Bottom Line?

Local Law 97 is a New York City law that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 to help mitigate climate change.

However well-intentioned the decarbonization efforts are, for landlords in New York City Local Law 97 potentially threatens their profitability because it imposes fines on buildings that exceed energy usage and carbon emissions… 

One unintended consequence may be increased operating costs for them and/or their tenants… As such, landlords should evaluate their implementation strategies to avoid additional risks if they hire energy efficiency contractors to comply with LL97.

What Is Local Law 97...?

Many people are aware of the Climate Mobilization Act that was passed in May 2019.

The Act includes new local laws that govern efforts by New York City to mitigate climate change within the five boroughs in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

The most controversial part of the CMA is Local Law 97 which mandates carbon emissions limits for over 57,000 buildings in NYC.

Starting in 2024, properties larger than 25,000 square feet1 must not emit more than 8.46 Kilograms of CO2 per square foot per year or face fines for non-compliance. 

In 2030 the carbon emissions law becomes more restrictive, limiting buildings to 4.53 kilograms of CO2 per square foot per year.

Tenant and Landlord Control Mismatch

Tenants control as much as 60%-80% of energy and electricity consumption in buildings so a blanket approach to building carbon intensity presents multiple challenges for building owners and property managers in NYC.

To be in compliance, they must not only engage tenants to manage energy and electricity use, but also invest in green building strategies to make buildings more efficient.

Office building owners are already under pressure from low occupancy rates as many office tenants are downsizing and/or relying more on remote workers.

Example: NYC LL97 Carbon Emissions Fines

NYC is not the only city enacting carbon emissions laws… Similar plans are under way in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco and St. Louis.

If your buildings are located in a city with carbon emissions restrictions, the financial cost of carbon emissions fines can be estimated by
calculating your baseline carbon production today, and estimating low,
medium and high severity scenarios if your building does not comply
starting in 2024.

You can use this local law 97 calculator to measure how your building may perform and whether you may be fined.

NY Local Law 97 carbon emissions limits by building type... Real estate owners should consider their operating expenses as a result of any changes caused by compliance-driven projects.

Starting in 2024 the probability of carbon emissions fines is 100%
and is not expected to change until the 2030-2034 compliance period
when emissions limits become more strict. 

You can estimate the cost of carbon emissions fines by multiplying $268 for each metric ton that your building exceeds the 2024-2029 and 2030-2034 compliance periods.

The probability of this occurrence can be measured accurately by conducting an energy audit to establish a carbon emissions baseline. Once you know your carbon emissions level you can calculate the financial impact of potential fines using different severity levels and take steps to reduce carbon emissions.

You can use this local law 97 calculator to measure how your building may perform and whether you may be fined.

LL97 Summary

Municipalities such as New York City are implementing strict building
energy efficiency laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Under New York’s Local Law 97, if your building emits more greenhouse gases than is allowable, you will incur fines starting next year… This could have unintended consequences, such as increased rents and other costs.

While this article is about LL97, your building may be exposed to action over claims because of New York Labor Laws 240 and 241 that impose strict liability on landlords doing any work in NYC where contractors are exposed to heights, even a ladder…!

Schedule an appointment with me today to evaluate your real estate retrofit project prior to engaging a contractor who will perform any work or building upgrades.


  1. Two buildings of over 50,000 square feet on a single deeded parcel must comply even if one of the buildings is less than 25,000 square feet by itself.