Contributed by Saverio Grosso, Edison Energy

New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act has been lauded as one of the most ambitious and innovative legislative initiatives by a major city to combat climate change. 

Under the Act, passed in 2019, most buildings over 25,000 square feet—roughly 50,000 residential and commercial properties across the city—must meet new energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions by 2024, and stricter limits in 2030.

Courtesy: Luke Stackpoole/Unsplash

Currently, about 70 percent of New York City’s carbon footprint comes from large commercial and multi-family buildings. The goal: Reduce their emissions 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

The rest of the country is starting to follow suit. Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy determined that the updated 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would improve energy efficiency in buildings subject to the code. 

States and cities that adopt the IECC will effectively require new buildings to cut energy use an average of more than 10 percent compared to the previous code, and by more than a third compared to the 2009 version, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

There’s been a tremendous uptick in energy optimization and efficiency projects. What we typically saw 15 years ago was just performance evaluation. Now we’re looking at almost full building optimization—everything from start to finish—and planning for the future.

Three New York measures have really impacted energy efficiency: Local Laws 84, 87, and 97. They’re part of New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, a comprehensive set of energy efficiency laws targeting the largest existing buildings. These constitute half of the City’s built square footage and 45 percent of citywide energy use. By 2030, the Plan is expected to reduce citywide GHG emissions at least 5.3 percent from the 2009 baseline of 50.8 million metric tons. 

Such buildings must disclose their

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