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Blueprint for a lower carbon footprint: Amanda Kaminsky explains the construction impact of NYC’s Local Law 97.

Director of Sustainability for Construction in the Americas, Amanda Kaminsky, shares her thoughts on the impacts of New York’s Local Law 97 (LL97) – highlighting the promising opportunity it presents for new construction projects while explaining how owners of existing buildings can best prepare for achieving compliance.

  • 15 Aug 2022
  • by
  • Lendlease Author Better Places

Click here to read the full article by Amanda Kaminsky for the New York Real Estate Journal, ‘Blueprint for a lower carbon footprint: The construction impact of NYC’s Local Law 97’. Subscription required.

In densely built New York City, residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings account for 71% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually. New York’s Local Law 97, enacted in 2019 as part of the Climate Mobilization Act, aims to reduce these emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

For new buildings such as Lendlease’s mixed-use 1 Java project on Brooklyn’s Greenpoint waterfront, a project that aligns with the company’s Mission Zero pledge to be net zero by 2025 and absolute zero by 2040, compliance with LL97 doesn’t pose any major issues as many of the standards will be woven into the project as it’s built. For the approximately 50,000 existing structures in the city, however, compliance is already being considered a more daunting challenge. 

In a city that contains nearly 11% of the total office inventory in the US, LL97 is well-timed. As many companies continue to implement fully remote or hybrid work policies, space requirements for office tenants has reduced dramatically, meaning Class B office buildings are struggling to remain competitive. Recognizing this, many office landlords will look to refurbish their empty spaces or convert them for multifamily use. Market trends such as this one align well with the logistics of construction, as unoccupied spaces are easier, faster and more economical to upgrade with the energy-efficient systems that will be required by LL97. 

Demand control ventilation, upgrades to lighting systems, and installation of occupancy sensors are some elements of a LL97-compliant renovation, all of which can be identified and implemented by companies with design-build experience such as Lendlease. As an estimated 90% of New York buildings that will exist in 2050 are standing now, identifying improvements and retrofitting the existing built environment has never been more important… Local Law 97 presents the incentive to get to work.