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August 7, 2019
by Adam Roberts
Image credit: Jorge Láscar.

After years of advocacy by AIANY and many other groups, mandatory retrofitting of large buildings became law in May 2019. Local Law 97 of 2019 (LL97) will require that most buildings in the city 25,000 square feet and above stay under set carbon emissions limits. In order to stay under these emissions limits, many buildings will need to substantially retrofit and improve their operations. Each year, these buildings will also need to report their emissions to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).

At the state level, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was signed into law last month. The law requires the State to move towards an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as well as net zero emissions by all sectors of the economy. Paired together, LL97 and the CLCPA will move NYC towards using greener sources of energy while also reducing energy use.

Now that these laws are in the process of implementation, there is still much more work for architects to do to ensure their success. Each law requires that a volunteer group of experts convene to advise agencies on enactment of the laws’ provisions. At minimum, two architects are required to sit on the LL97 Advisory Board, ensuring that experts in sustainable design will have a strong voice. However, the Climate Action Council of the CLCPA does not require that any of its members be architects; further advocacy by New York’s architects is required make certain that their expertise is included.

In the private sector, many firms are already beginning to prepare for the flood of new work coming in the next few decades as a result of these laws. The New York Times recently covered the subject in this article, interviewing numerous AIANY members. Enactment of these laws’ provisions will take many years and AIANY will continue to keep its members updated.

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