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By: The Practical Guidance Real Estate Team
This tracker provides an overview of New York climate change legislation that impacts real estate ownership and development.
This document tracks legislation enacted at the state level and in New York City. This tracker provides direct links to source text, the dates enacted, and brief descriptions of the developments. Developments are organized in reverse chronological order.
Practical Guidance includes these Climate Change Legislation Trackers for additional jurisdictions:
New York State Legislation
2021 Bill Text NY S.B. 9422
July 5, 2022
Purpose is to promote development of thermal energy networks in the state.
Amends (among other things) the Public Service Law and the Transportation Corporations Law to permit utility companies (i.e., gas and/or electric corporations) to generate, acquire, and supply thermal energy.
Requires the Public Service Commission “to authorize and direct utilities to immediately commence piloting thermal energy networks in each and every utility territory.” 2021 Bill Text NY S.B. 9422.
Implements stricter efficiency standards for a variety of appliances including televisions and computers.
Updates the state’s Energy Conservation Construction Code to align with the state’s clean energy and climate agenda, including reduction of greenhouse gas and implementation of the CLCPA. When determining if a building code is cost effective, the Fire Prevention and Building Code Council shall take life-cycle energy savings into account.
Directs the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in consultation with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to develop strategies and set goals in the state’s land acquisition plan to conserve 30% of state land by 2030. The agencies must prioritize conservation of land that would promote biodiversity, increase climate resiliency, preserve open space, and protect green space in urban areas.
Purpose is to facilitate siting and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects in New York.
Created the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (Siting Office) to serve as a centralized forum for reviewing proposed major renewable energy facilities and making siting decisions. The Siting Office will also establish uniform permit standards and conditions for large-scale renewable energy projects.
Amends the environmental conservation law to establish a permanent environmental justice advisory group and an environmental justice interagency coordinating council.
Requires New York State to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels.
Created the Climate Action Council (the Council) to develop a scoping plan of recommendations to meet emissions targets. The Council released its draft scoping plan (available here) on December 30, 2021.
Requires applicants for permits or funding in specified programs to demonstrate that future physical climate risk due to sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding have been considered in project design. Also requires that these factors be incorporated into certain facility-siting regulations.
New York City Legislation
2021 NYC Local Law No. 154
December 22, 2021
Effectively bans gas hookups in new buildings. Sets forth emissions limits for new buildings and prohibits combustion of any substance that emits 25 kilograms or more of carbon dioxide per million BTUs of energy (subject to certain exceptions). Prohibits the approval of construction documents or issuance of permits for new buildings that fail to comply with the emissions limits.
Restrictions are phased in over six years based on property type. The phase-in timetable is as follows:
The Climate Mobilization Act, 2019
November 15, 2019
A legislative package aimed at reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Includes Local Laws 92, 94, 96, and 97, detailed below.
2019 NYC Local Law No. 92; 2019 NYC Local Law No. 94
Require sustainable roofing zone on all newly constructed buildings and all buildings undergoing major roof renovations, subject to exceptions (see below). Required for 100% of the roof area.
“Sustainable roofing zone” is defined as a solar photovoltaic electricity generating system, a green roof system, or both. Specific requirements are set forth in the law based on factors including area and slope of roof.
Effective immediately but include five-year discretionary phase-in for certain affordable housing developments and distressed buildings.
2019 NYC Local Law No. 96
Establishes Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for commercial properties.
Low-cost loan available to finance installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.
Loan constitutes a lien on the real property and is repaid through a charge on the property’s municipal tax bill.
2019 NYC Local Law No. 97
Most buildings over 25,000 square feet must meet specified carbon emissions limits starting in 2024. More stringent emissions limits take effect in 2030. Also imposes energy efficiency standards.
Applies to the following:
Building owners must submit annual report certified by registered design professional demonstrating compliance (or noncompliance) with emissions limit for the previous year.
Exceptions/alternate compliance options available for certain property types including affordable housing, houses of worship, and hospitals.
To find this article in Practical Guidance, follow this research path:
RESEARCH PATH: Real Estate > Commercial Purchase and Sales > Practice Notes