New York skyline at sunset, USA

New York Law Mandates Reduction of Buildings Carbon Emissions

  April 29, 2019

By Ryan Berlin

As maintenance and engineering managers look for ways to make their commercial and institutional facilities more energy efficient, soon they may not have a choice but to implement the latest green technology into their facilities.

New York City is on the verge of enacting one of the most ambitious citywide building energy efficiency laws in the country, aimed at getting its biggest buildings — including landmarks like the Empire State Building and Trump Tower — to shave their carbon emissions footprint by 40 percent by 2030 or face financial penalties.

The law is part of a broader package called the Climate Mobilization Act, which was passed by a City Council committee. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the legislation into law, according to Greentech Media.

The new energy efficiency requirements for buildings over 25,000 square feet are at the heart of this climate-reduction package, given these structures' outsize role in the city’s energy consumption. Buildings of this size make up less than 2 percent of the city’s real estate, but account for roughly half of its energy use, and thus the city’s share of carbon emissions.

The new law would be the first of any city in the country to set specific emissions limits on large buildings, coupled with financial penalties for failing to comply, imposed through the newly created Office of Building Energy Performance.

New York state is engaged in its own "Green New Deal" push to reduce fossil fuel consumption and attain a zero-carbon energy mix by 2040, which will help the city’s biggest buildings meet their goals by reducing the carbon intensity of the electricity they use.

In the meantime, however, while most buildings don’t have much control over the carbon profile of the electricity they consume beyond installing solar panels or other clean generation, making them more efficient with the energy they do use will be a critical piece of any broader carbon-reduction scheme.

Ryan Berlin is digital content manager of


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