NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act: A Driver for Envelope Retrofits?

Twinsburg, Ohio
Woolworth buidling
Blog by Helen Sanders, Ph.D
Woolworth buildling inside
The iconic Woolworth Building in NYC is an example of a successful historical building envelope renovation. With the assistance of Apogee Renovation, the building underwent a full window retrofit using Wausau Window and Wall Systems’ 4250i Invent™ Series simulated double-hung, projected, high-performance, thermally broken windows. The renovation maintained the historical aesthetic, while delivering expansive views of the city ,as well as significantly improved thermal comfort and energy efficiency to the occupants.

Photo credit: photo by Oleg March, courtesy of Apogee Renovation

Given the news headlines about New York City’s significant moves toward reducing the environmental impact of its buildings, we decided to dig a bit deeper to find out more about what’s already enacted, what’s in the pipeline and what the implications are. Alexandra Blakeslee, one of my colleagues local to New York City, attended the first of a series of briefings on the Climate Mobilization Act passed in New York City (NYC) in April and is co-writing the blog with me this month to share this experience.
This briefing series was hosted by the Building Energy Exchange (BE-EX) which is an organization based in NYC dedicated to reducing the effects of climate change by improving the built environment. Under Richard Yancey’s leadership, they have been doing great work leading the way in getting people together to shape the future of sustainability in NYC.

By way of background, NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act imposes a series of local laws with the goal of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in NYC’s buildings over the next 30 years. This first briefing focused on Local Law 97, of which the most eye-catching tenet is the setting of emissions targets on buildings to cut carbon emissions over 80% by 2050. Of course, this 80% reduction won’t happen overnight, so there are also mile markers along the way.
The first mile marker will be in 2024 when buildings over 25,000 square feet will experience an emissions cap. These emissions caps will be different for each building type depending on which “use group” it falls continue reading click here.

(the full blog, as well as previous posts, are hosted on

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