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The Visionaire, a LEED Platinum-certified building The Visionaire, a LEED Platinum-certified building
In late May, a coalition of coops and condos launched a lawsuit against New York City in a bid to block Local Law 97. The action seems likely to rile city officials who backed the law in 2019 and local environmental activists who lobbied for the law’s implementation. However, for many coop and condo owners, the lawsuit offers hope that Local Law 97 may still be modified before coming into full effect in 2024.

Local Law 97

In 2019, Local Law 97, which applies to most buildings over 25,000 square feet, was introduced as a part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to make the city carbon neutral by 2050. Considered a bold move, even by local environmental activists, the law imposes a number of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions regulations on local buildings, with the first regulations coming into full effect in 2024 and stricter regulations being phased in over the following six years.
In many respects, Local Law 97 makes perfect sense. According to NYC Sustainable Buildings, approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City are produced by local buildings, so why not force buildings to lower their emissions? While a great idea in theory, lowering emissions to Local Law 97's proposed levels will be easier said than done for many local buildings as compliance will likely rest on costly capital improvements.
Building energy grades Typical building energy efficiency rating sign (GKV Architects)

The Lawsuit

On May 20, 2022, a coalition of coops and condos filed a lawsuit against the city to block Local Law 97 from coming into full effect. Habitat reported that the co- presidents of the Co-op and Condo Council believe the law's fines for buildings that fail to comply will be "devastating," making the law “ill-conceived and unconstitutional.”

Co-op and condo board leaders are right to point out that the impact of Local Law 97 will be significant for many buildings. Buildings that fail to meet the law’s set emission standards will pay $268 for every metric ton of emissions over the limit. For many buildings, fines are expected to be over $100,000, and some buildings may face penalties in excess of $1,000,000. Unfortunately, avoiding fines is also an expensive prospect.
Let’s say you live in a coop that currently relies on oil boilers for heat. While you might be able to replace the oil boilers for just $2 million, if you want to meet Local Law 97's emissions guidelines, you'll likely need to replace your boilers with either gas-fired boilers or, better yet, an electric alternative. However, going electric might end up costing anywhere from five to seven times more than simply replacing your building's existing oil boilers. For most coops and condos, the only way to cover the difference between a $2 million and $10 to $15 million project is to pass the cost on to tenants or refinance the building. In either scenario, tenants will ultimately end up paying more.

Support for Local Law 97

Despite co-op and condo board leaders' position that Local Law 97 places an unreasonable burden on owner-occupied co-ops and condos to reduce emissions on behalf of the city at large, advocates of the bylaw disagree. A key point of contention is that concessions have already been made to ensure that lower-income owner-tenants and renters won't be impacted. Notably, the law only applies to buildings with 35 percent or fewer rent-regulated units. This means that HDFCs and many other lower-income buildings won't be impacted. Advocates of Local Law 97 also firmly believe that it is in the best interest of all city residents.
Maritza Silva-Farrell, the Executive Director of ALIGN and a leader in the Climate Works for All coalition, which lobbied for Local Law 97, has argued that the law isn’t just good for the environment but also for the economy and job creation. As Silva-Farrell claimed at a press conference held in April 2021, “Local Law 97 will create more than 40,000 green jobs and has the potential to expand the annual retrofit market to $20 billion. That's 13 times larger than today's market." Silva-Farrell is right to project that Local Law 97's will create jobs. From helping buildings measure emissions to navigating the paperwork required to comply to installing upgrades designed to lower emissions, Local Law 97 has already emerged as a niche job-creation engine.
Although Local Law 97 appears likely to result in ongoing debates over the coming years, a key question remains: How will the city enforce the law and issue fines? Given that the new administration has yet to provide a clear plan for enforcement or commit to funding the staff needed to carry out inspections, it is still uncertain whether the controversial law will ever be enforced.
As of this writing, the case is still awaiting judgment. Whatever the outcome, though, certain buildings in New York are likely to fall within the energy guidelines. Below, see a selection of listings in LEED-certified and Passive House buildings.

2231-Adam-Clayton-Powell-Jr-Boulevard-01 Aurum, #405 (Compass)
Harlem condos
Upper Manhattan condos
From the Listing: This sun-soaked, south-facing one-bedroom has been upgraded with stunning touches including exposed whitewashed brick, beautiful lighting fixtures and custom California closets! Overlooking one of Harlem’s classic tree-lined blocks this home is spaciously designed and outfitted with double pane windows, wide oak plank hardwood floors and in-unit vented washer/dryer. The building has been constructed of locally manufactured and recyclable materials and comes fully loaded with all the bells and whistles. See floor plan and full details here.

20-River-Terrace-01 The Solaire, #11Q (Corcoran)
Battery Park City condos
From the Listing: Residence 11Q boasts a spacious sleeping alcove, a big bathroom, as well as ample closet space with a large, walk-in closet and another large closet in the foyer for extra storage. The kitchen features a suite of stainless steel, Energy Star appliances and a delightful granite breakfast bar. A Bosch washer and dryer set completes the appliance package and a four-pipe multi-zone heating and cooling system allows for whisper quiet comfort and energy savings year-round. See floor plan and full details here.

40-West-116th-Street-01 Kalahari Harlem, #B406 (Red Star New York LLC)
From the Listing: Newly-painted with brand-new appliances, this sunny 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment feels as clean and classy as the building itself. The open kitchen and both bedrooms enjoy generous storage space. The building is LEED certified, and amenities include a fitness center, two music practice rooms, and two roof decks. See floor plan and full details here.

205-East-85th-Street-01 The Brompton, #14M (Compass)
Yorkville condos
Upper East Side condos
From the Listing: This exquisite alcove studio, designed by Robert A.M. Stern is in immaculate condition and has a wonderful eastern exposure that is bright and quiet. The stylishly appointed kitchen boasts quartzite countertops, custom maple cabinetry, Sub-Zero refrigerator, stainless steel Viking gas range and Miele dishwasher . There is a marble bathroom that includes a wide-rimmed soaking tub and elegant finishes. This residence also features a top-of-the-line Miele washer/dryer in the unit. See floor plan and full details here.

151-West-21st-Street-01 Chelsea Green, #8C (Compass)
Chelsea condos
Chelsea condos
From the Listing: Apartment 8C at Chelsea Green is a luxurious high floor, south-facing one-bedroom featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and 7-inch wide plank walnut floors. There is a beautiful kitchen by Poggenpohl featuring Caeserstone countertops and Energy Star appliances from Liebherr and Bosch. The marble bathroom features radiant heat floors with a Poggenpohl vanity and Toto fixtures. Other modern features include an in-unit washer/dryer and central A/C. See floor plan and full details here

34-North-7th-Street-01 The Edge North Tower, #5G (Compass)
Brooklyn condos
Brooklyn condos
From the Listing: This incredible home features sprawling hardwood floors, tall ceilings, a spacious, open layout with enough space for a living room and dedicated dining area. A full wall of windows in the living room drench the space with natural light. The gourmet chef’s kitchen is perfect for entertaining, boasting top-of-the-line Bosch and Miele integrated appliances, microwave, dishwasher, tons of storage space, and a breakfast bar. The primary bedroom is generous enough to accommodate a king-size bed and more with a walk-in closet and features an en-suite bathroom for privacy and convenience. See floor plan and full details here.

200-East-21st-Street-01 200E21, #4D (Douglas Elliman)
Gramercy condos
200 East 21st Street
From the Listing: This well-proportioned one-bedroom enjoys balanced northern exposure and gives you sunshine kisses from the 8-foot tall bronze windows. Living room, spacious and generously proportioned, is connected with an open kitchen island. The Poliform kitchen, designed by Champalimaud, is equipped with a matt-white-lacquer kitchen island, a breakfast bar, oak cabinets, quartz countertops, Dornbracht fixtures and a fully integrated Miele kitchen appliance package as well as washer and dryer. Large and wide bedroom can easily fit a king-size bed with two end tables, while still having extra room for a TV stand and a desk if needed. See floor plan and full details here.

70-Little-West-Street-01 The Visionaire, #9L (Compass)
Lower Manhattan condos
Battery Park City condos
From the Listing: Welcome to this pristine corner residence that boasts natural light and water views with its south and west exposures. The open kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, custom bamboo cabinetry, black granite countertops, and a vented range. Both generously sized bedrooms have large walk-in closets, the primary bedroom having two and its own ensuite bathroom with soaking tub and shower, while the second bedroom has one large walk-in closet. See floor plan and full details here.

2-River-Terrace-01 Riverhouse - One River Terrace, #6A (R New York)
Battery Park City condos
LEED certified condos
From the Listing: Expansive split two bedroom/two bathroom available in the Riverhouse, the only water-front LEED-certified Green condominium in North Battery Park / West Tribeca. As soon as you enter this loft-like home you will immediately notice the high ceilings, open floor plan and exquisite bamboo flooring throughout. Residence 6A has a beautiful David Rockwell designed kitchen that includes Italian teak-faced cabinetry by Schiffini, custom Corian countertops, teak-faced cabinetry and Energy Star appliances by Sub-Zero, Thermador and Miele. The primary bedroom is well proportioned, featuring three closets (including a walk-in) and an en-suite bath. See floor plan and full details here.

670-Timber-Street-01 Timber House, #5A (Douglas Elliman)
Park Slope condos
Brooklyn condos
From the Listing: Melding high-tech construction concepts with natural materials, this brand-new two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence delivers a sustainable, sun-splashed and utterly modern treehouse sensibility. This 1,416-square-foot home welcomes you with beamed ceilings that rise nearly 11 feet high over 8-inch-wide engineered pine floors by Roots Custom. The living room provides a generous footprint for living, dining and home office areas, while the European kitchen boasts custom hexagonal tile floors by Prospect NY, bespoke cabinetry, porcelain countertops and upscale Bosch appliances, including an induction cooktop and dishwasher. See floor plan and full details here.

98-Front-Street-01 98 Front Street, #PH3C (Serhant LLC)
DUMBO condos
Brooklyn condos
From the Listing: Introducing this stunning DUMBO penthouse with high-end finishes and charming city views, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo exuding modern tranquility and urban sophistication. Floor to ceiling sound-attenuated triple-glaze windows let in steady beams of natural light, accentuating high ceilings, exposed concrete and blonde wood surfaces, and wide plank oak floors. The solarium-like living area extends out towards the Manhattan Bridge, while the kitchen is furnished with an eat-in waterfall peninsula, custom white oak rift cabinets, Blum hardware, Grohe fixtures, sleek Corian countertops and backsplash, and fully-integrated high-end Bosch appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

303-East-33rd-Street-01 303 East 33rd Street, #9G (Pari Passu Realty)
Murray Hill condos
LEED certified condos
From the Listing: As you enter the living room, you will immediately notice the double-height ceiling with massive floor-to-ceiling windows that lead out to your own private terrace. On the main level, the open chef’s kitchen gleams with sleek white glass and bamboo cabinetry, polished glass counters, and top-of-the-line appliances from Liebherr and Bosch. As you make your way up the stairs, you are greeted by a separate home study area before reaching the corner-exposure primary suite. See floor plan and full details here.

301-East-50th-Street-01 301 East 50th Street, #7A (Corcoran)
Midtown East condos
LEED certified condos
From the Listing: This stunning split two-bedroom, 2.5-bath home has 10’ ceilings and south and western sun-drenched views from the large windows. Off the foyer there is the powder room, with limestone flooring, and a storage closet with a Bosch side by side washer and dryer. The foyer leads to a large living/dining area which is bathed in sunlight and includes the open kitchen with Italian cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops, and Gaggenau appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

1-John-Street-01 1 John Street, #10C (Sotheby's International Realty)
DUMBO condos
Brooklyn condos
From the Listing: This approximately 1,488-square-foot parkside paradise boasts breathtaking views of the Manhattan Bridge, Empire State Building, East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Manhattan skyline through every room in this amazing two-bedroom, two full bath plus a home office. Apartment 10C is flooded with natural light through oversized windows, beautiful white oak hardwood flooring throughout and the home’s open floorplan seamlessly integrates the kitchen, living, and dining areas. The fully-equipped chef’s kitchen includes a wall of integrated Italian cabinetry by RiFRA, Gaggenau appliances, Bosch dishwasher, vented hood, and an island. See floor plan and full details here.

77-Greenwich-Street-01 Jolie, #18A (Serhant)
Tribeca condos
LEED certified condos
From the Listing: A brand new FiDi condo graced with a curated palette of sublime fixtures and finishes, this Deborah Berke-designed 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is an aperture for natural light and enchanting harbor and Hudson River views. Features of this 1,721-square-foot apartment include beautiful wide plank white oak floors, wraparound floor-to-ceiling crystalline glass windows, airy ceilings nearly 11 feet in height, an in-unit Miele washer/dryer, custom millwork, and energy efficient electric heating and cooling with variant refrigerant flow. See floor plan and full details here.

60-White-Street-01 60 White Street, #4E (Serhant)
Tribeca condos
Passive House
From the Listing: Alight from a key-locked elevator through a secondary security door and enter a voluminous living/entertaining area. Its open concept ensures plenty of space for lounging and dining and, when entertaining, for family members, friends and guests to gather around the kitchen as you prepare a sumptuous feast. Enormous Zola Passive House triple-pane windows complement the soaring 11’6" ceilings providing ample natural light and airiness, while the original exposed brick and wide-plank reclaimed wood floors add warmth and coziness to the home. The exquisite chef’s kitchen is a joy to behold! See floor plan and full details here.

325-West-Broadway-01 XOCO 325, #4B (Compass)
Soho condos
LEED certified condos
From the Listing: Residence 4B is an open, two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom condo with floor-to-ceiling windows, pristine finishes, and boutique services. The whole apartment has Austrian white oak floors, and ceilings rise over 10 feet, allowing in sumptuous western light directly to the bedrooms and spacious living room. Two southern windows provide additional light to the eat-in kitchen and adjacent dining area. The spacious primary suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a five-fixture bathroom, and oversized walk-in California closet. See floor plan and full details here.

550-Vanderbilt-Avenue-01 550 Vanderbilt, #PHE (Nest Seekers)
Brooklyn condos
Pacific Park condos
From the Listing: This stunning 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence with lofty ceilings heights of up to 10 feet has been designed using a palette of natural, organic elements with an array of sophisticated fixtures and finishes. Contemporary open layout is complemented by wide-plank white-washed oak floors that seamlessly flow from room to room along with oversized windows that capture the gorgeous neighborhood and city views. The sublime kitchen offers custom grey lacquer cabinetry, lime-washed walnut accents, white Carrara marble countertops and backsplash, and a suite of fully integrated Miele appliances. See full details here.

118-East-1st-Street-01 118 East 1st Street, #TH1 (Brown Harris Stevens)
East Village condos
118 East 1st Street
From the Listing: This Townhouse-style duplex occupies the 4th and 5th floors of 118 East 1st Street, where meticulous attention to quality and detail throughout it is instantly recognizable. The living room connects with a spacious dining area and an open chef’s kitchen. This windowed kitchen features custom Italian white oak cabinetry by Alta Cucine and an Artemis Greek marble countertop with a backsplash of subtle gray veining as well as a custom-made stainless steel sink with disposal. Making up half of the floor, the primary suite offers a generous space from the custom walk-in closet and two linen closets, to the voluminous bedroom with room for seating, two further large closets, and exercise or office areas. Sustainably built with energy efficiency and healthy living in mind, this is a unique project for the area. See floor plan and full details here.

470-Columbus-Avenue-01 Charlotte of the Upper West Side, #GARDEN (Compass)
Upper West Side condos
Passive House condos
From the Listing: Located on the second floor of Charlotte, the Garden Residence enjoys wonderful south and west sunlight and greenery out every window. Envisioned as a private and tranquil outdoor ’room,’ the courtyard terrace is accessible through four sets of triple-layered glass doors with Guardian UltraClearTM glazing. Three of the four bedrooms open onto the Garden Terrace and are serene and sheltered, happy and bright. There is also access to the garden terrace from the foyer, making it wonderful for entertaining too. The structure’s airtight technology creates a nearly silent living space while keeping temperatures constant and comfortable throughout the year, saving more than 90% on heating and cooling bills. See floor plan and full details here.

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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.