Multiple studies and reports have revealed that New York City (NYC) buildings contributed to over 60% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (carbon footprint) which represents over 35 megatons of Carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere in the city.
If you are a resident of New York, then it’s high time to start planning about your building’s compliance with Local Law 87. An energy audit can help building owners and residents know more about their building’s energy use by performing an in-depth energy analysis of their building’s systems to identify all applicable energy conservation measures. It will also help to reduce energy costs and to place the building in compliance with current and future New York City (NYC) Building Department requirements.
As a part of New York City’s (NYC) Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) which was enacted in 2009, the NYC Local law 87 (LL87) was introduced to increase the energy efficiency of NYC’s large buildings and to inform and help building owners and property managers better understand, and optimize, their annual energy and water usage. The buildings which are larger than 50,000 square feet (commercial & residential) are required to undergo periodic energy audits and retro-commissioning and submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) every 10 years. This will help owners of buildings receive a robust understanding of their building’s performance, and water consumption and will allow them to take corrective measures by making more efficient and high-performing buildings. The performance data of energy audits are considered very valuable for the New York City (NYC) government to deploy targeted energy efficiency and emissions reduction measures.
An energy audit is a systematic analysis of a building’s energy equipment which is done with an objective to determine the most energy-efficient solutions and cost-effective improvements that will eventually reduce the annual energy costs. The energy audit report showcases a list of recommended strategies on how you can save energy. Energy Audit is a great way to reduce your building’s GHG EUI Emissions and it also helps with the compliance of NYC Sustainability Laws.
Retro-commissioning ensures the thorough installation and smooth performance of all your equipment as well as functional upgrading, diagnostic monitoring, and repairing defects in existing base building systems. Since an energy audit helps to determine the complex problems for reaching a building’s optimal functionality, the purpose of retro-commissioning is to upgrade all existing systems and controls to provide the highest energy efficiency and functionality.
The law also requires owners of buildings to submit all the required information about the building’s energy performance in an electronic Energy Efficiency Report (EER). The EER consists of professional certification forms and data collection tools, (comprehensive audit) and a retro-commissioning study of base building systems with the intention to improve and enhance energy efficiency. The deadline for the submission of the report to the NYC Department of Buildings is December 31st of the building’s reporting year.
The NYC Local law 87 (LL87) EER is known to be a lengthy process delegating responsibilities on both the management/owner’s and auditor’s end and should be started as soon as possible with respect to the tax block number.
JANUARY – MAY
The audit is initiated along with the completion of the retro-commissioning report and the heating and management system needs to be tested while still in operation.
MAY – OCTOBER
Completion of all retro-commissioning items along with insulation of steam lines while the heating system is shut down and any boiler work should be done at this time.
OCTOBER – DECEMBER
At this stage, a verification visit of the building is done to ensure compliance with the report and a retest of the heating and management systems. Energy Efficiency Report (EER) is to be completed and submitted and the audit and retro-commissioning report cover the building’s common area along with the boiler room and varied systems.
Since we have already mentioned that all commercial and residential buildings over 50.000 square feet will have to comply, let’s see what else comes under NYC local law 87:
1- Multiple buildings that exceed 100.000 square feet together (implies buildings on the same tax lot) and are owned by the city or at least, the city pays the annual energy bills for them – either completely or partially.
2- Multiple buildings held in the condominium form of ownership have the same board of managers and exceed 100.000 square feet together (owned by the city or having their energy bills paid by the city; partially or fully).
Consequently, these buildings will most likely be subject to a violation and a hefty fine will be assigned for every subsequent year that the building fails to comply.
If building owners and property managers don’t comply with NYC Local Law 87 (LL87) in the first year, then they will be fined $3000. After which noncompliance with the law in the years coming up will result in $6000 (for every additional year) until the submission of your Energy Efficiency Report (EER) to the Department of Buildings (DOB).
It is to be noted that not submitting the report or failing to comply with the NYC Local Law 87 (LL87) will not just result in financial penalties but also, a Class 2 violation will be elevated with the authority to stop construction permits from being issued.
If your building has an Energy Star Label, it will be freed from having to conduct an energy audit for 2 or 3 years. However, submission of a retro-commissioning report will still be required.
Also, an energy audit will not be needed for buildings that are certified in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 2009 rating system for Existing Buildings published by the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC) or any other rating system for existing buildings.
You won’t be required to conduct any retro-commissioning if your building has received the LEED point for Existing Building Commissioning investigation and analysis and the LEED point for Existing Building Commissioning implementation and also there is no need to submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) report in 4 years prior to the filing of your building’s EER.
You won’t have to carry out an energy audit and retro-commissioning if your building is less than 10 years old. Note this, the only time your building can be exempt from submitting an energy efficiency report (EER) is when all its base building systems comply with the New York City energy conservation code (in effect for new buildings constructed on or post-July 1, 2010), valid only for the first EER of a new building.