A Sygrove-designed custom fixture with a sensor and light board

Local Law 95 and how it impacts interior design

As New Yorkers, we got used to seeing restaurant letter grades pretty quickly. At first, it seemed weird (and upsetting when you discovered that your favorite restaurant got a C). Well, soon, you will see a letter grade posted in the lobby window of most residential buildings. This rating has nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene, however. It is a rating of energy efficiency.

Back in April of 2019, New York City passed Local Law 95, which requires all residential buildings over 25,000 square feet to publicly post a letter grade. This letter grade is a compilation of the building’s energy efficiency – the roof, boiler, windows, basement, stairwells, and my passion – the lobby and hallways.

Yes…your building’s energy efficiency rating will soon be posted for the world to see!

The Back Story of Local Law 95

Local Law 95 is part of New York City’s sweeping Climate Mobilization Act. It includes the goal of reducing the level of building greenhouse gas emissions from 40% during the next ten years. According to the City Council, buildings contribute nearly three-quarters of all citywide emissions. The law establishes a cap on the level of emissions for each building in the city and will be administered by the Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance.

As a lobby and hallway interior designer in New York, this new law comes as no surprise. In fact, I’ve predicted it ever since LEED ratings came into play back in 1993. LEED is the most popular green building certification program in the world, and it employs a set of ratings systems that relate to design, construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings, homes, and neighborhoods.

How Local Law 95 Impacts A Building’s Interior Design

Its public spaces represents approximately 20% of a building’s energy use. The main reason is lighting. Nobody would enjoy groping their way through a dark lobby or navigating a scary hallway to get to their apartment. So, the lights must be always be kept on.

My firm has taken this seriously for years. An integral part of our design work is to specify and design lighting for our clients. But, we’ve always been keenly conscious of how and where we source and select lighting impacts a building’s energy use.

We’ve always been the leader in energy efficiency in our field. We were one of the first interior design firms to use LED bulbs, and today we still lead the pack with our expertise in the use of LED light boards and sensors. Our clients know we are committed to create amazing public spaces that they love and to reduce their energy consumption, as well.

For example, for years, we’ve used motion sensors in areas such as back stairwells, compactor rooms, basements, gyms, garages, and even lobbies. We set up lighting to alternate between dim and bright using motion sensors and based upon the time of day.

We Help Buildings “Save Face”

With the passage of Local Law 95, my firm is now tasked with more than just helping our clients save on their energy bills. Today, we must help them “save face.” Our goal is to choose lighting that will perfectly integrate into the style, texture, and design scheme of the project, and positively impact their energy efficiency grade, too.

Unfortunately, the selection of motion-detecting LED decorative light fixtures on the market is beyond limited. So, we custom-design fixtures for our clients using LED light board technology. As a result of three decades in the field, my firm has developed sources that produce custom-designed light fixtures at very reasonable costs that are energy efficient as well.


If you live in an apartment building that is 25,000+ square feet in New York, you will soon see a building’s energy efficiency grade prominently displayed in the window. It’s going to feel weird at first, but just like the restaurant grades, we New Yorkers have a way of getting used to things pretty quickly, right?

(And, by the way, a good letter grade is a sure way for buyers to instantly see what they are buying into and why.) Lower letter grades will give buyers a “bargaining” chip when purchasing – so watch out!

If you’d like to check out your building’s energy efficiency rating, you can find it here.

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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