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Heating Up: Local Law 154 of 2021 Brings Phased-In Gas Heat Restrictions

New buildings will need alternative heating by as early as 2024. Learn more about the new law.

In May 2021, we reported on a new bill that would potentially limit gas heat in NYC. We can now say, as of December 2021, that this bill has been signed into law.

Local Law 154 of 2021 is the first of its kind for a large cold-weather city, seeking to switch from fossil fuel to electric heating by prohibiting the combustion of substances that emit a certain level of carbon dioxide in new buildings.

According to Bill de Blasio, the hope is, “If the largest city in America can take this critical step to ban gas use, any city can do the same!”


It should be noted that, while the original bill prohibited the combustion of any substance that emitted more than 50 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of carbon dioxide, the law has been amended to be even more strict, capping the limit at 25 million BTUs. This rules out natural gas heating.

These emissions limits for new buildings will be required by early 2024, focusing on lower-rise buildings. This will build up to fully electric new construction for buildings of all sizes by mid-2027.

New buildings that do not comply will be denied permits and approvals for construction documents. This also covers gut renovations that meet the DOB threshold for major alterations.

In the meantime, the law also sanctions studies into alternative forms of heating, as well as the strength of the electrical power grid to handle the shift. Findings from these studies are set to release by mid-2023, which may influence the law and its enforcement going forward.


Potential exemptions for certain uses include:

  • Spaces where combustion is required, such as for manufacturing or laboratories, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums or commercial kitchens. This will be restricted to only to the extent necessary and in the space used for that purpose.
  • Fuels occasionally burned in appliances not connected to gas lines or fuel oil piping and not used for heating or hot water (such as propane grills).
  • Utility buildings used to generate electricity or steam.
  • Buildings used to treat sewage or food waste.

The law will also delay requirements for hot water systems and buildings with over 50% affordable housing units by 6 months-2 years, depending on the size of the building.


Here is the full timeline for compliance deadlines:

  • January 1, 2024 for one- and two-family homes, plus buildings under 7 stories (see exemptions).
  • January 1, 2025 for public school buildings.
  • January 1, 2026 for 50%+ affordable housing buildings under 7 stories.
  • July 2, 2027 for buildings over 7 stories and hot water systems.
  • January 1, 2028 for 50%+ affordable housing buildings over 7 stories.


The shift away from gas heat under LL154 will be an interesting challenge for the construction industry going forward.

However, it will also likely make it easier for larger buildings to meet their carbon emissions goals, and will produce better air quality inside and out, improving the overall health of citizens. Based on research by the Rocky Mountain Institute, the law will prevent 2.1 million tons of carbon emissions by 2040.

Do you have a project that needs to get up to code? Reach out to the building code and zoning experts at Outsource Consultants.



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