New York City ranks third in the world in greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 70% of the city’s carbon footprint is attributed to its buildings with the remaining 30% resulting from transportation. As a result of New York City’s goal of become carbon neutral by 2050, the City has enacted several pieces of legislation. One of the more impactful to office building owners and their tenants is Local Law 97.

What is Local Law 97?

Local Law 97 (LL97) requires buildings meeting certain criteria meet new energy requirements for efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions by 2024 and even stricter guidelines by 2030.

Who is required to comply?

  • Buildings regardless of the use (Office, Residential, Hospitality, etc.) with a gross square footage of 25,000 SF or more
  • Two or more buildings on the same tax lot that exceed 50,000 SF
  • Two or more buildings held in condominium form of ownership and governed by the same board of directors that exceed 50,000 SF

When must buildings comply?

Reporting occurs in May of the following calendar year so buildings must begin to comply by 2024 and report their usage in May 2025.

What if the building doesn’t comply?

Buildings that don’t comply with Local Law 97 will face fines based on their amount that they exceed the limit of allowable tCO2e. The current fine amount is $268 per ton.

How does this impact tenants?

Landlords are beginning to include lease language that pushes the cost of compliance with Local Law 97 to tenants. This could include capital costs such as upgrading windows, boilers, lighting, and plumbing. Alternatively, if the cost of the fine is negligible compared to the cost to upgrade the building, then they may opt to pay the fine and pass the cost of the fine to tenants.

How could tenants protect themselves?

-Engage with ownership early in the negotiation process to assess planned improvement and costs. These should be factored into the economics of the overall lease.

-Limit exposure to potential pass throughs on capital expenditures attributed to compliance with Local Law 97 improvements by negotiating a cap

-Ensure that ownership is passing through any value it receives from government incentive programs related to Local Law 97 improvements

-Understand the tenant makeup of the building. If there’s a data center or restaurant occupying a portion of the building and contributing to a significant portion of the total GHG usage then it may make sense to have that tenant take on a greater percentage of the total building usage when allocating costs of improvements.

-Negotiate more efficient fixtures and materials in the construction of your premises as well as an electric meter to track your consumption

-Anticipate future impact on your building or prospective building. Find out how your building is performing and how much GHG it produces and then compare it to the table below.


Emissions Intensity Limit (tCO2e/sf)

Emissions Intensity Limit (kgCO2e/sf)

Item# Occupancy Group 2024 to 2029 2030 to 2034 2024 to 2029 2030 to 2034
1 B – Business (Office) 0.00846 0.00453 8.46 4.53


Every building has is different so above all hire a team of professionals who are experienced in negotiating these aspects of a lease transaction to ensure that your business isn’t being taken advantage of.


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