DOB Releases Second Major Rule Package with Changes to Make LL97 Compliance More Affordable

by | Mar 5, 2024

The deadline for submitting the first compliance reports for buildings covered by New York City’s Local Law 97 (LL97) is May 1, 2025. As this deadline approaches, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is providing more guidance on how building owners can be compliant. The latest release is a rule package that focuses on making compliance with LL97 more affordable to building owners, accordingly making energy conservation measures attainable.


Good Faith Efforts

Achieving the requirements of LL97 can be both time-consuming and financially demanding. As a result, the second rule has established circumstances under which building owners can demonstrate they are working towards achieving emissions reductions and hence avoid the penalties of non-compliance. DOB is allowing building owners to demonstrate they are using good faith efforts* to achieve the goals mandated by the legislation. Good faith efforts will ensure all of the steps taken can be aggregated in readiness for building compliance between 2024 and 2029.

Building owners who are unable to achieve the level of work necessary to comply with the emissions limits by the compliance date may be able to claim they are exempt because they have made good faith efforts to do so. However, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit the annual building emissions report and be compliant with the DOB-granted adjustments.
  • Comply with LL84–Submit an Energy Benchmarking report in each compliance period.
  • Comply with LL88–Perform lighting upgrades and sub-meter installation.

Additionally, building owners must have a real, achievable plan in place to meet the goals. Such a plan must detail the financial resources that will be used, consultants and other professionals that will be needed, and a real timeline.


Mediated Resolution

In case a building owner is unable to comply with LL97 by the set deadline, an agreement can be made to avoid enforcement proceedings. However, this is only possible when the owner has demonstrated the good faith efforts listed above to meet the emission limits. In such cases, the DOB may present the building owner with a plan to achieve compliance within a certain timeframe.


Mitigated Penalties

Events can occur that make it difficult for building owners to comply with the emissions requirements. When faced with incidents such as fire, flooding, or hurricanes, a building owner may be eligible for a mitigated penalty by demonstrating how such an incident precluded compliance. Buildings eligible for energy conservation alteration projects can also receive zero penalty if the owner can demonstrate that they are eligible to engage in energy conservation alteration projects with a state or a local regulatory agency.


Property Tax Abatement

Property tax abatement can help owners of low-and-moderate income buildings cover a portion of compliance costs. The Parker-Braunstein Bill seeks to ensure that building owners undertaking capital improvements to reduce carbon emissions are exempted from real property taxes. In that way, the costs of ensuring compliance with LL97 will be less burdensome to the thousands of New York City residents who could be impacted by impending deadlines.**

To understand the implications of LL97 and the impact it could have on building owners, read all about this law in our previous blog here. Walden can help you enact steps to achieve your sustainability goals. For more information, contact Walden today at 516-373-7662. Our experts have experience performing energy benchmarking and energy efficiency studies, as well as providing guidance on sustainability efforts for building owners.


*What does “good faith effort” mean? Typically used when referring to government M/WBE contracting program goals, it means that contractors have used all means at their disposal to reach the M/WBE community and achieve participation goals on government contracts. Contractors must document what tactics they have used as evidence to the contracting agency. The evidence must support the claim that the contractor has done everything possible to meet the contract M/WBE participation goals. In the case of LL97, good faith effort means much the same in that the building owner can provide evidence to support the claim that they are doing everything possible to meet the goals of LL97.

**Please note that Walden is not a tax or legal expert. As legislation changes frequently, it is important to always seek professional legal advice when attempting to comply with regulations that could have associated financial penalties.

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Learn more about LL97 in Walden’s previous blog here, and contact our sustainability team at 516-373-7662 if you have questions about how to comply.