New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Get Calculating: Total Up Your Carbon Emissions

The calculus of Local Law 97, a centerpiece of the city’s ambitious Climate Mobilization Act, is mystifying — and terrifying — to many co-op and condo boards. The questions seem endless. Does the law apply to our building? If so, how much carbon are we emitting? What are our carbon emission caps and how big will the fines be if we don’t act?


Boards can breathe a little easier. A new tool is available to help them answer these questions — and it’s free. It’s called The LL97 Carbon Emissions Calculator, and it’s the brainchild of the nonprofit Building Energy Exchange (BE-Ex) working in tandem with the engineering firm AKF Group.


“This is something we started back in 2020, the year after the Climate Mobilization Act passed,” says Will DiMaggio, a senior associate at BE-Ex, who worked on the project with Michael Sweeney of AKF. “We wanted to create an interactive tool that allows people to search by entering their address. They’ll get data based on water and energy usage benchmarking information they’re required to deliver to the city every year under Local Law 84.”


Enter your building’s address at, and the data that comes back is divided by the compliance periods set out in the law: 2024-2029; 2030-2034; 2035-2039; 2040-2049; 2050 and beyond. The data includes the building’s current carbon emissions (based on the type and amount of energy it uses), its carbon emission thresholds, and the estimated penalties if no improvements are made to the building. The data takes into account each building’s use or uses, from 61 different types in the federal Energy Star program.


“Our goal,” DiMaggio says, “was to give co-op and condo boards and other building owners a convenient way to see where their building stands. It’s a starting point from which they can think about long-term planning on how to reduce carbon emissions. We’re trying to increase literacy about Local Law 97 and other climate policies. And we’re hoping to stimulate action.”


To pursue courses of action, DiMaggio urges boards to get in touch with BE-Ex and one or more of the following agencies: the NYC Accelerator, the Department of Buildings, CUNY’s Building Performance Lab, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York City Energy Efficiency Corp.

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