Local Law 43 - Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Local Law 43?
On August 16th, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 43, which requires that buildings in New York City to replace No. 6 heating oil with cleaner grades of heating oil - No. 4 or 2, and eventually phase out their use for usage of natural gas. By 2015, all existing boilers that are currently burning No. 6 oil are required to convert to cleaner fuels like No. 4 oil temporarily (or directly to No. 2 oil or natural gas, or both). By 2030, all properties should have converted to No. 2 oil or natural gas, or a combination of both (dual fuel).
It also mandates that, as of October 1, 2012, the sulfur content in heating oil No. 4 be reduced in half from 3,000 ppm (parts per million) to 1,500 ppm. At the same time, all heating oils – No. 2, 4 and 6 – must contain 2% biofuel.
2. What is the deadline to convert to higher-grade fuels from No. 6 oil?
By January 1, 2030, Local Law 43 requires that all New York City buildings burning No. 4 or No. 6 residual heating oils will have switched to cleaner fuels (e.g. No. 2 distillate oil or natural gas), unless granted an extension by the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) through a Compliance Agreement.
3. What is No. 4 oil?
No. 4 heating oil is a combination of No. 2 and No. 6 oils and contains less sulfur, nickel, and other pollutants than No. 6 oil, qualifying it for usage as a cleaner fuel oil.
4. How much will it cost to convert to No. 4 heating oil from No. 6?
It is estimated that converting a typical boiler from using No. 6 heating oil to low-sulfur No. 4 heating oil will cost approximately $10,000.
5. What if I cannot pay for the conversion?
Though all property owners are required to comply with Local Law 43, those that demonstrate a lack of financial resources to pay for immediate fuel conversion will be able to apply for a compliance agreement with the DEP to fully comply with Local Law 43 regulations in an extended timeframe.
6. What is the course of the Law’s progression?
To ensure minimum costs, the law will be instituted in various phases. Firstly, all newly-installed boilers will need to use only low-sulfur No.2 heating oil, natural gas or an equivalent. Secondly, by 2015, all boilers using No. 6 oil will need to convert to the new low-sulfur No. 4 oil or an equivalent. Finally, boilers that have not been replaced by 2030 will need to convert to No. 2 heating oil or natural gas.
7. Will I need to purchase new equipment after the conversion?
No new equipment will need to be purchased, as most biodiesel blends replace traditional oils seamlessly, as long as the equipment is in good condition. For buildings converting from current No. 6 fuel heating oil to the low-sulfur No. 4 heating oil, some cleaning and maintenance work on the equipment may be required. Properties with boilers that are currently burning No. 6 or No. 4 oil and are switching to No. 2 oil or natural gas will have to decommission the storage tank since these fuels are not required to be stored in heated tanks even at lower temperatures. For converting from oil to natural gas, some minor equipment may need to be installed.
8. Will usage of cleaner fuels void my equipment warrantees?
No, biodiesel and other equivalents are covered under almost all manufacturers’ warrantees. Biofuels also reduce maintenance costs for equipment. According to the sub-provisions of LL43, the commissioner of the Council can waive the requirements of the regulation for three months (or more, after renewal) if it is established that the usage of biofuel will void the manufacturer’s warrantee for that boiler type.
9. How do I check the expiration of a building’s DEP boiler permit?
To check when a building’s DEP boiler permit will expire, go to the NYC Department of Buildings website (www.nyc.gov/buildings), enter the building’s address and scroll down to “DEP Boiler Permit” and click it to check the status of the permit.
10. What are the potential benefits from Local Law 43?
Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council introduced Local Law 43 to reduce particulate emissions from approximately 10,000 boilers in New York City. By gradually phasing out usage of dirty fuel oils such as No. 6 heating oil, LL43 aims at improving New York City’s air quality, reducing harmful pollutants, cutting down cleaning and maintenance expenses for heating systems and, lengthening lifespans, all “without unduly burdening property owners”1. Additionally, the regulations proposed are timed to coincide with natural boiler replacement cycles of properties and provide easy means for compliance.
1Press Release PR – 034 – 11(www.nyc.gov), published January 28, 2011