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Local Law 97 Should be on NYC Building Managers’ Radars. Here’s Why.

January 13, 2021

Passed in 2019 and part of New York City’s Climate legislation as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Green New Deal, Local Law 97 (LL97) aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from tall buildings in Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

The law requires 40% citywide emissions reductions by 2030 from a 2005-established baseline. The ultimate goal of the law is to reduce carbon emissions in the city’s building stock by 80% by 2050.  

While there are many details still in the works concerning LL97 and most of the law’s intricacies won’t be known until 2023, here are a few points we know today that NYC facility managers and energy planners should note: 

  • Compliance for LL97 begins in 2024. 
  • The law establishes emissions regulations on buildings over 25,000 square feet that are subject to benchmarking. 
  • LL97 sets increasingly stringent carbon emission limits per square foot in 2024 and 2030. 
  • Covered buildings are expected to cut combined carbon emissions by roughly 5.3 million metric tons, which is in-line with San Francisco’s citywide emissions. 

Roughly 50,000 buildings in New York City stand to be affected by LL97. Many of those in the commercial sector are currently above the law’s emission limits and may require comprehensive retrofits and/or alternate compliance. 

Next up for Local Law 97’s development is for the Climate Advisory Board, established under section 28-320.2 of the law, to provide recommendations to the Commissioner and Mayor’s Office on how best to effectively reduce GHG emissions from buildings to achieve compliance.

The results of the Advisory Board’s efforts will be documented in reports to the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council and submitted no later than January 1, 2023. 

The 2024 compliance deadline may sound like it is far enough into the future not to warrant attention, but when it comes to implementing energy management strategies at NYC properties (or a family of them), it’s right around the corner. 

The time to evaluate potential upgrades and explore sound energy management strategies to further comply with LL97 is now.

We will be monitoring Local Law 97 and other regulatory developments in New York City. Feel free to contact CPower’s New York team with any questions about Local Law 97 and what it might mean to your organization. 

State of the 2020 New York Energy Market (Webinar)

September 11, 2020

The Empire State was poised for a dynamic 2020 as Governor Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision (REV) enters its sixth year. As New York State now works its way through the COVID-19 pandemic’s maze, organizations are reexamining their energy management strategies in search of optimization for an increasingly uncertain future.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Policy and regulatory changes in New York
  • An update of the REV and its renewable pursuits
  • Opportunities to monetize storage and other energy assets
  • Maximizing returns on demand response in NYISO and NY utility programs
  • And more…

CPower’s New York energy market experts Michael Mindell and Peter Dotson-Westphalen host this webinar that includes a question and answer session.


NY’s ‘Change of Status’ Rule Poses Challenges, Opportunities for Commercial Real Estate Industry

June 11, 2020

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, Special Case Resource’s Change of Status Rule wasn’t much of a concern for commercial real estate organizations participating in demand response (DR) in New York City.

Way back in 2019, when most commercial buildings were at or near full occupancy, energy consumption was high as were participating curtailable loads that could be called by the NYISO in times of grid stress or unusually high energy prices. 

What a difference a year makes. 

Anyone in the commercial real estate sector participating in DR in 2020 should take notice. That’s because the revenue previously earned from successful DR curtailment could soon flow in the wrong direction as underperformance penalties are assessed on organizations that have committed to curtailing loads they no longer have due to low occupancy in their buildings.

Established in 2009 and updated in 2014, SCR’s Change of Status rule defines the criteria of a qualified change of load condition as defined in Section 2.17 of the NYISO Services Tariff. The rule’s intent has always been to negate credit for passive curtailment in cases where a participating organization no longer had load to curtail for demand response. 

With occupancy in their buildings at record lows due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Commercial Real Estate organizations in New York participating in lucrative demand response programs now find themselves in the crosshairs of a rule with steep penalties for non-compliance.

Here’s why:

Low building occupancy means low electrical consumption, resulting in a baseline for a given commercial building that will inevitably be far lower in 2020 during the lockdown than was established in 2019 when the building operated at normal occupancy. 

Here’s the problem for commercial buildings in New York participating in demand response in 2020: the baseline in 2019 is the one that counts for this year’s DR participation. 

Consider a commercial real estate organization that is currently operating at a fraction of last year’s occupancy and is enrolled in DR for the summer of 2020. If the organization’s summer load is less than 70% of its baseline established in 2019, the organization will likely face heavy penalties since they no longer possess enough load to curtail and will underperform in the Special Case Resource DR program.   

Here is what DR participants in New York’s commercial real estate industry can do to mitigate the rule’s penalties:

Contact your curtailment service provider (CSP) and ask them to provide a plan for navigating SCR’s Change of Status rule. A good CSP should be able to outline a set of actions aimed to minimize underperformance risks and maximize possible DR revenues.  

Such an outline of appropriate mitigation tasks might look like this:

  • Analyze load data
  • Review baselines
  • Review performance factors
  • Review previous seasons’ DR performances
  • Identify and/or update curtailment opportunities
  • Work with facility staff/engineering team to understand their energy systems operations and changes, occupancy changes, any other load changes, baseline changes
  • Conduct engineering analysis, preparing, reviewing and updating curtailment plans, as needed
  • Provide technical support and recommendations 
  • Provide enrollment recommendations for other DR programs that might fit the organization

In other words, a thorough CSP will work side-by-side with your organization and devise a customized mitigation plan based on your unique needs and capabilities.

Your CSP should work with you on a month-by-month basis to help you understand any enrollment changes and adjustments that need to be done to minimize the possible penalty risks associated with SCR’s Change of Status. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have levied enough uncertainties on the commercial real estate industry in 2020. Whether or not demand response participants will earn or owe money this season in New York doesn’t have to be one of them. 

Peter Dotson-Westphalen and Arusyak Ghukasyan also contributed to this article.

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