New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

GREEN IDEAS

HOW NYC CO-OPS/CONDOS SAVE ENERGY

A New Digital Tool to Help Co-ops and Condos Cut Carbon Emissions

New York City

Sustainability website, Department of Buildings, co-op and condo boards, Local Law 97.

The DOB's new website includes a map of all buildings that must reduce carbon emissions.

May 14, 2021

The Department of Buildings (DOB) has unveiled new digital resources designed to help co-op and condo boards and their property managers comply with the looming Climate Mobilization Act. Beginning in 2024, boards that fail to bring their buildings’ carbon emissions under prescribed caps will face stiff fines. A second set of caps must be met by 2030.

The shiniest digital tool in the box is the DOB’s new website, NYC Sustainable Buildings. It’s designed to be a one-stop shop to help boards and property managers determine if their building falls under the law and, if so, how they can pay for retrofits that will help them comply and avoid fines.    

The website features maps that allow the public to see the location of all 40,000 buildings in the five boroughs that must meet new emission limits, as well as the energy-efficiency letter grades of buildings that are required to provide benchmarking information on their annual energy and water consumption. The annual letter grades were inaugurated last year.

The website also answers frequently asked questions and shares resources to help with building retrofits, including information about compliance metrics, adjustment programs and financial assistance. The website will be updated frequently as new information becomes available and as the DOB’s Climate Advisory Board continues to develop recommendations on the implementation of Local Law 97.

Another new tool: a sustainability-focused newsletter that will keep boards and managers abreast of the Climate Advisory Board’s recommendations and other new developments. To sign up for the newsletter, click here.

“We must meet our aggressive climate change goals, and these new digital tools put information in the hands of the public and building owners to make that a reality,” says DOB Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “We’re pleased to bring greater transparency to how our Green New Deal tackles the city’s largest source of emissions – our buildings.”

Under Local Law 97, buildings larger than 25,000 square feet must reduce their carbon emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. It’s a daunting challenge for thousands of co-op and condo boards.

"To building owners wondering how they can take action on climate: help is on the way,” says Ben Furnas, director of the Mayor's Office for Climate and Sustainability. "The DOB's Sustainable Buildings website, alongside our NYC Accelerator program, will provide property owners and managers the tools they need to meet Local Law 97 requirements, retrofit their buildings for energy efficiency, and improve tenants' comfort."

“The success of Local Law 97 will be guided by transparent requirements and tools for building owners to take action,” says John Mandyck, head of Urban Green Council, which was a driving force in the crafting of the law. “DOB’s new sustainable buildings website provides just that, and it’s an important step to help deliver the carbon savings we need.”

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