25 October 2022

With the deadline looming for compliance with Local Law 97, landlords and developers of multifamily buildings in New York "face the challenge of reconciling the technical, financial and political factors to meet mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements at their properties or be subject to steep fines for missing required decarbonization targets,” warned Ariel Aufgang, principal of Aufgang, an architecture and engineering design and consulting group.


"The new regulations are complex but they are explicit in their GHG reduction requirements for buildings in New York," said Aufgang. His firm has designed new, repurposed and preserved market rate and affordable multifamily buildings and hotels in all five boroughs of New York City, including Harlem’s new Marriott Hotel and adjacent 25 story mixed income residential tower built above the site of the historic Victoria Theater.


"Proven, effective technology is available to install and retrofit renewable energy--chiefly solar--on these buildings. Funding that is now becoming available under the Inflation Reduction Act should address concerns about the costs of compliance," said Aufgang. "But the challenge now is bringing these factors into harmony with political and regulatory realities as the City and State implement strict new GHG mitigation laws," he said.


"My colleagues and I have worked to eliminate on-site fossil fuel use in designing projects for many years. Solar arrays are now standard on multifamily buildings where roofs aren’t used for recreation. These renewable energy initiatives actually started in response to the delays and headaches of getting new gas service hookups. More recently we are seeing utility companies upgrading their grids to help meet the demand of fully electrified new buildings. Other applicable technology includes heat pumps, once considered an expensive luxury, but are increasingly commonplace, as well as the convenience and comfort of room specific temperature controls that outweigh any esthetic issues of such systems," Aufgang pointed out.



"But success is in the details, and New York's decarbonization regulations need to be clarified, and building owners and developers must be assured about the commitment of our elected leaders and regulators for consistency in these requirements,” he said. "These are crucial questions for architectural and engineering designs and specifications, as well as determining the capital stacks of new developments," said Aufgang.