Solar Guide To NYC DOB Local Law 92 & 94 For Buildings

It is no longer news that NETWORK has passed the Climate Mobilization Act, made up of a group of ten pieces of legislation with attention on buildings, particularly renewable energy adoption and energy efficiency. It has been months since the act was signed into law, city officials have been working to determine when and how the legislation will be enforced.  Some of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA) will take effect years in the future, thus giving building owners time to prepare. The sustainable roofs component of the legislation preserved the Local Laws 92 and 94, which took effect this year in November. The goal is for all new buildings, expansions or structural roof alterations to provide a Sustainable Roofing Zone.

The local Laws 92 and 94 are key legislative efforts of the Climate Mobilization Act, which is a package of 2019 laws intended to help the city meet One NYC 2050 goals for sustainability, emission reductions, and energy efficiency. That said, Local Laws 92 and 94 are distinctive among other laws. This is because they have compliance mandates that go into effect the same year the laws were passed on, and then the other components take effect soon. Let us take a look at what this local law 92 and 94 is all about.

What are Local Laws 92 and 94?

Local Laws 92 and 94 both discourse the inclusion of solar panels and green roofs by amending building code. Among the two, Local Law 94 is the main legislative achievement because it requires all new construction and certain major renovations to create a sustainable roofing zone. This means covering all available roof space with solar photovoltaic (PV), green vegetation, electricity-generating systems or a combination of both. This law is notable because it applies to all buildings in NYC, both commercial and residential. The only applicable renovations include horizontal and vertical extensions along with modifications to an existing roof requiring a permit.  However, there are exceptions made for some roofs, such as a roof that is occupied already and required building setback roofs.  In a further statement, the DOB details the exceptions to provide a sustainable roofing zone in a Buildings Bulletin they released on October 24, 2019, and the reason behind this is to clarify the requirements of the two Local Laws.

Local Law 92 was passed and aimed to adjust the requirements for smaller buildings. However, it also includes language requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to study the impacts of compliance on construction affordability. Started on November 15, 2019, every new application involving a new building roof, or roof assembly, or a new roof deck must abide by the provisions of Local Laws 92 and 94. However, for new applications, the law also applies to already-filed applications which are not in “Approved” status yet.

 Why is the legislation being implemented?

After a lot of research, it was found that solar panels have a significant role to play in achieving the central goal in climate. Thus an Act called Climate Mobilization Act was established: aimed at moving New York City away from a carbon-focused energy regime towards one focused on renewable energy sources. Further investigations instigate that New York City’s rooftops can be used to tap renewable energy; hence, providing New Yorkers with locally produced clean energy. With the benefit of flexible ownership models, developers and building owners can reap the benefits of solar energy, at often little to no up-front cost.

Planted green roof systems can offer a suite of benefits to buildings, neighborhoods, and the city at large, even as they cannot be used to produce power. So how do green roofs bring these benefits?

the following are the two types of green roofs which is applicable.

Planting green vegetation

Green roof systems include root barriers, waterproofing, filter cloth, drainage, plants, and a lightweight growing medium. They may take the form of a green wall with native plants, a rooftop vegetable garden, or hydroponic towers. Roofs with total or partial vegetation help provide insulation, absorb rainwater and combat urban heat island effects, which can lead to decreased energy costs, improved air and water quality.

Installing solar panels

The advantages of having solar panels can be seen for businesses and homeowners, who can generate their electricity for self-consumption or sale. This can reduce energy costs through new revenue or decreased utility bills. It is also said that PV systems can also help buildings comply with other parts of the Climate Mobilization Act that address emissions.