New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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The Easy Way to Cut Carbon Emissions? A Green Electric Grid.

New York City

Climate Mobilization Act, building carbon emissions, green electric grid, co-op and condo boards.
Nov. 19, 2021

Many co-op and condo boards are terrified by the potential cost of the city’s Climate Mobilization Act (Local Law 97), which sets caps on building carbon emissions beginning in 2024 – and will impose stiff fines on buildings that fail to comply. Now comes news that’s sure to draw a sigh of relief from anxious boards.

A new study by NYU’s Guarini Center found that if the electric grid switches from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources by 2024 – in line with state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – most office building owners and many co-op and condo boards won’t have to do much to comply with Local Law 97’s emission limits, The City reports.

“The study does not substantiate the concerns about the costs of meeting LL97’s emissions caps that some in the real estate industry have expressed,” an NYU press release states. “On the contrary, the study finds that implementing LL97 could save the average building owner money during the study period (2024-2050). Critically, the study finds that much of LL97’s impact is contingent on the pace of the introduction of renewable sources of electricity across New York State. This is because the electricity that buildings buy from the electric grid is a major source of buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions. If renewable sources are introduced at the pace that New York State mandated in a separate 2019 State law, building emissions will decline without many building owners having to make major investments in their properties. Moreover, many of the energy efficiency investments that LL97 will encourage owners to make will pay for themselves relatively quickly, because they would reduce the amount of electricity needed each year, therefore reducing energy costs.”

The state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates electricity generated from zero-emissions sources by 2040, with the interim goal of 70% of power produced from renewables by 2030. By using electricity produced by solar, wind or hydroelectric sources instead of fossil fuels, co-op and condo boards will be able to slash their buildings’ carbon emissions without having to make costly retrofits.

Enforcement of Local Law 97 will soon fall to the administration of Mayor-elect Eric Adams. More than a dozen incoming members of City Council last week wrote to Adams to underscore their support for Local Law 97, calling it “the best and most important local climate and jobs legislation in the nation.”

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