The Mayor’s Office of Coordination can grant a limited number of exemptions in a given fiscal year for projects that demonstrate an exemption is absolutely necessary and in the public interest. Alternative standards may be established in the event that the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination determines that compliance with the standards would be impracticable or unduly burdensome for a particular occupancy group but must be less stringent to the established standard to the minimum extent necessary. Both exemptions and alternatives will be considered on a case-by-case basis and largely limited by law.
If an agency or entity determines to request an exemption, they will need to take steps and submit required materials for the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination to review.
(1) Exemption Application Form: this form must be completed and submitted for review of the project information to affirm the applicable standards for which the exemption is being requested, as well as a justification for why the standards cannot be met.
(2) Application Clarification and Discussion: if needed, a meeting will be requested to ascertain additional information and clarify aspects of the justification, or to discuss the application’s merit and potential alternative strategies.
(3) Exemption Application Letter: after the information in the exemption application form is affirmed, the requesting entity will be required to submit a letter to Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination on the entity's letterhead, detailing the project information and justification, signed off by an entity principal. See template for refence.
Upon receipt of the above and pending approval, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination will issue a signed letter of the specified exemption for the record. Subsequent information may be requested regarding the project and its related outcomes for reporting purposes. Potential exemption applications must be submitted prior to the construction phase of any project and should be submitted as soon as possibly determined as a necessary route during design or prior to bid.
Template Exemption Application Letter:
Prospective Steps and Approximate Timeline:
Establishing an alternative design or energy use intensity alternative standard sets a precedent that requires additional oversight and reporting. Potential alternative standards will only be considered and potentially granted under the most special of circumstances. Alternative standards can be established for either certifiable design standards and, or standards regarding energy use intensity. Charter Section 224.1 provides specific guidance and parameters for each. Alternative standards may only be established for projects within occupancy groups not previously subject to LL86 of 2005, which include Occupancy Groups E, F, H, and R.
Potential proposals for an alternative standard should be submitted prior to completion of design or bid of any project and submitted as soon as possibly determined as a necessary route toward an alternative compliance. If an agency or entity seeks to propose an alternative standard, either related to design or regarding energy use intensity, they will need to abide by the following submission of materials and subsequent process:
(1) Scoping discussion: the requesting agency must first meet with Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination to determine applicability and feasibility. Based on this initial scoping and assessment of need, the proposal process can move ahead as outlined.
(2a) Alternative standard proposal form: this form and any addendum materials must be completed and submitted to MOEC for review of the project information and to affirm the applicable standards, the justification for the alternative standard, and a brief demonstration that such standard is no less stringent than those they intend to be the alternative for. If less stringent standards are to be proposed, the justification must demonstrate why compliance is impracticable or unduly burdensome.
(2b) Addendum: at minimum, in addition to the above form and the required information there within, the proposal must include addendum information regarding the proposed alternative standard. At minimum, a memo with a detailed description of the standard, relevant examples of precedent use, and a comparative analysis to the standard for which it is to serve as an alternative to must be provided. Additional materials may include source materials, associated certification processes, use case studies, etc.
(3) Proposal clarification: includes meeting(s) with MOEC to ascertain any additional information, clarify aspects of the justification, and demonstrate documented evidence of stated levels or equivalence or greater stringency to the provisional standards codified in the charter, or the highest level or stringency achievable, of alternative standard proposed. Addition documents may be requested.
(4) Approval and establishment of standard: pending approval, the requesting entity will be required to submit a letter to MOEC on the entity's letterhead, detailing the project information and justification, and a brief description of the alternative standard and its associated comparative stringency, signed off by an entity principal. MOEC will then seek to establish the standard within the local law rules, including all processes and procedures. Upon establishment of the standards, MOEC will require information regarding performance on an annual basis for reporting purposes, as required by law.