NYC Council passes Public Advocate’s bill to incentivize green building projects citywide

Caribbean American New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Caribbean American New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Photo courtesy of the office of Jumaane Williams

The New York City Council on Wednesday passed New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams’ legislation designed to incentivize the building of green projects throughout New York City.

Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, said the Green Building Project Bill– co-sponsored by Council Member Sandy Nurse– will continue the work of increasing efficiency, decreasing emissions, and building a greener New York City. 

“The climate crisis is here and it’s affecting communities across New York City in profound ways– especially in low-income communities and communities of more color,” said Public Advocate Williams. “Every New Yorker deserves access to a safe and healthy home. We must invest in clean energy and actions towards environmental justice. 

“Not only will this allow us to reach our environmental protection goals but it will also provide much needed relief to homeowners while allowing us to reach economic growth with new jobs,” he added. 

In 2019, the city enacted Local Law 97, which requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet new energy efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits by 2024. 

The law also created an advisory board and climate working group that supports the City on meeting these aggressive sustainability goals, with the goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from buildings to 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. 

Intro 689-A from the Public Advocate broadens the parameters for certain green incentives established in that 2019 landmark law to include smaller buildings.

By expanding the definition of a green building project to include those undertaken in one to three family homes and eliminating fees for those projects, Williams said the bill provides incentives for owners to improve green energy efficiency. 

The Public Advocate noted that in implementing this measure, just as with Local Law 97, “it would be critical to verify that sustainability standards are truly being met to merit these incentives.”

“At a time when New Yorkers are experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis, we need to remove as many barriers as possible for the construction of sustainable green buildings that reduce energy and emissions,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, co-sponsor of the legislation. “As a long time champion for climate and environmental justice, I’m proud to be a co-sponsor on this bill with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams that incentivizes and streamlines the process for building a livable city.”