Enhancing Local Law 87 compliance with building analytics software

June 13, 2023

New York City's Local Law 87 (LL87) requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to undergo energy audit and retro-commissioning measures every ten years as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). As we inch closer to the upcoming 2023 deadline for compliance (view a full guide to compliance deadlines here), building owners need to proactively identify strategic, cost-effective approaches to fulfill these mandates. A practical solution that has gained considerable traction is the adoption of building analytics software, which optimizes energy efficiency and ensures LL87 compliance. In this article, we explore the utility of building analytics software in helping commercial building owners to meet LL87 obligations.

What is Local Law 87?

LL87 requires buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet to carry out energy audits and retro-commissioning of base building systems once every ten years. The legislation also requires owners to submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). For a more in-depth guide to LL87 and its requirements, check out our blog on the legislation here.

Alternatively, for more information on other local NYC building regulations, check out our articles on Local Law 97 and Local Law 84.

Step-by-step compliance with CIM:

Complying with LL87's demands, while beneficial in the long run, can be quite complex and time-consuming. Here's a step-by-step process that owners can follow to simplify the compliance process and boost their building’s energy management, with the use of CIM’s innovative PEAK Platform:

Step 1: Energy Audit 

Energy audits are systematic approaches to quantify how much energy a building is consuming and identify ways to reduce that consumption. These audits require an analysis of a building’s energy use profile, evaluation of energy-efficiency measures and an estimation of how much energy could be saved through various initiatives. CIM’s PEAK Platform can streamline this process, with capabilities such as:

  • Energy consumption profiling: PEAK can provide real-time and historical data on energy consumption across a building. By analyzing all available building data (including equipment IoT sensor data, HVAC, lift and electricity feeds, BMS and NMI feeds), the platform can identify patterns and peak usage times, pinpoint inefficiencies and find opportunities for improvements.
  • Prioritization of energy efficiency measures: By providing energy auditors with high-quality, granular data on a building’s operational systems and energy consumption, PEAK streamlines the process of choosing and implementing energy efficiency measures. With actionable insights and recommendations from PEAK, energy auditors can provide more accurate recommendations and estimates of potential energy savings in their energy audit reports.

Step 2: Retro-commissioning 

Retro-commissioning (RCx) involves hiring a qualified RCx professional to optimize existing building systems. This process involves adjusting, updating and calibrating equipment to improve performance and reduce energy waste. The PEAK Platform can support this process through:

  • Continuous monitoring: PEAK continuously tracks the performance of building systems (HVAC, lighting, etc.) in real-time, identifying any performance degradation or system irregularities that could indicate a need for retro-commissioning.
  • Fault detection and diagnostics (FDD): PEAK’s FDD capabilities not only identify when systems are not performing optimally, but also diagnose potential causes. This feature allows for quick, targeted actions for system optimization.
  • Preventive maintenance: By predicting potential system failures based on past performance and trends, PEAK can help implement preventive maintenance schedules, which could be a part of the retro-commissioning process.

Step 3: Reporting 

Under LL87, building owners must submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) detailing the results of the energy audit and retro-commissioning measures taken. The PEAK Platform can help in this area through:

  • Data verification: Through its constant monitoring and data recording, PEAK can provide data verification to ensure the accuracy of the reports
  • Documentation: With the data gathered in the PEAK platform, building owners can easily demonstrate proof of retro-commissioning and energy efficiency efforts.
  • Creating a baseline for future analysis: By recording a building’s energy performance before and after energy audits and retro-commissioning, PEAK creates a valuable baseline for future energy audits and retro-commissioning cycles, and creates a standard for targeting specific levels of energy savings.

Alternative compliance pathways and exemptions

LL87 recognises a building owner’s alternative sustainability efforts, and provides exemptions from the energy audit requirement for buildings that meet the following criteria:

  • The building has received an EPA ENERGY STAR Label for at least two of the three years preceding the filing of the building’s energy efficiency report. 
  • The building has received LEED for Existing Buildings certification within four years prior to the filing of the building’s EER.

Similarly, buildings are exempt from completing the retro commissioning requirement if they have received LEED for Existing Buildings certification within two years prior to the filing of the buildings EER, and have earned the LEED points for both ‘Existing Building Commissioning investigation and analysis’ and ‘Existing Building Commissioning implementation’. 

Going beyond LL87:

While complying with LL87’s energy auditing and retro-commissioning requirements is the first step for commercial property owners in their sustainability journey, embracing data-driven building optimization with the PEAK Platform can provide building owners with significant progress in achieving net zero emissions. 

Here’s a few examples of how the innovative platform can help owners achieve significant emissions reductions:

  • Real-time data visibility: The PEAK platform provides building owners with real-time data on energy usage, which can help them identify areas where energy is being wasted and take steps to reduce consumption. This visibility can help owners make informed decisions on energy efficiency measures that can lead to lower emissions.
  • Predictive maintenance: The PEAK platform uses artificial intelligence to predict when equipment is likely to fail, enabling owners to take proactive steps to prevent breakdowns. This can reduce energy waste and emissions associated with emergency repairs or replacement of equipment.
  • Building optimization: The PEAK platform uses advanced analytics to identify areas where energy usage can be reduced without sacrificing occupant comfort. By optimizing heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems, building owners can reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Ready to reduce your building’s carbon footprint?

Our team of experts is here to help! Request a callback to discuss analytics and building automation and sustainable operations in the NYC area. 

Or, watch a demo session to gain a better understanding of how our innovative platform can help you achieve energy savings.

Connor Holbert
June 13, 2023