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New York City Climate Mobilization Act Passes

May 22, 2019
Thomas Kearns
New York Real Estate Journal

New York Real Estate Journal recently published an article written by Olshan Real Estate partner Thomas Kearns entitled “New York City Climate Mobilization Act Passes.” Passed by the New York City Council, the Climate Mobilization Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings of 25,000 s/f or larger and includes “a requirement that the emission of greenhouse gases be reduced in stages by 2030, revisions to simplify the installation of wind turbines, a mandate to study the reduction of gas-fired power plants, the installation of green roofs in new construction and in buildings undergoing major renovations, and financing to help owners pay for the improvements.” “By all accounts,” Mr. Kearns explains, “the bills will increase the efficiency of large city buildings in New York,” but he also points out a few ironies regarding the bills. Firstly, because of the high employment rate in large NYC buildings, “the buildings are already much more efficient than the average U.S. building per capita.” Secondly, the bills’ requirements exempt certain buildings, including hospitals, houses of worship, and buildings with rent regulated tenants, which comprise about half of the large buildings in New York: “In short, city office buildings and their tenants will be hit with significant increased costs while other buildings will not be affected.” Lastly, “with its efficient public transportation system and large, already efficient buildings, New York is already a model for other cities and towns to follow.” Despite all this, Mr. Kearns is optimistic about the new legislation: “It is perhaps appropriate for New York to continue to be the leader in energy efficiency–my hope is that the administrative headaches and the costs of compliance will be reasonable. … I hope that New York’s recent legislation is able to make meaningful strides to reduce greenhouse gases without excessive disruption to New York businesses.”  


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