In this article, we take a look at New York Local Law 87, which was enacted in 2009 to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in New York City. The law requires building owners to conduct energy audits and retro-commissioning studies of their buildings at least once every 10 years, and to submit Energy Efficiency Reports (EERs) to the Department of Buildings (DOB) to demonstrate compliance. With a focus on the key drivers behind the law, how it differs from Local Laws 84 and 97, the steps building owners must take to comply, the costs of compliance, potential penalties for non-compliance, and the role of building analytics in facilitating compliance, this article provides a comprehensive overview of Local Law 87 and its impact on the city's built environment.
Differences between LL87, LL87 and LL84
Steps to complete an energy audit
Steps to complete retro-commissioning
Submitting an Energy Efficiency Report
Programs to assist building owners
How building analytics software can help
What is New York Local Law 87?
New York Local Law 87 (LL87) mandates energy audits and retro-commissioning for buildings over 50,000 square feet in New York City to be conducted once every ten years. As a building owner, the key elements of LL87 to be aware of are:
Energy Audit: An energy audit will identify energy-saving opportunities in your building, including lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
Retro-commissioning: Retro-commissioning involves optimising your building's existing systems to improve their performance and reduce energy waste.
Energy Efficiency Report: You must submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) to the Department of Buildings (DOB) by the deadline provided by the DOB. This report must include the results of the energy audit and retro-commissioning study.
What are the key drivers behind LL87?
The key drivers behind LL87 in New York City are:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: LL87 was enacted to help New York City achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Buildings account for around 70% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and LL87 aims to reduce these emissions by requiring building owners to conduct energy audits and retro-commissioning to identify and implement energy-saving opportunities.
Improving Building Performance: LL87 aims to improve the performance of buildings in New York City by identifying and addressing inefficiencies in energy consumption and equipment operation. By conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning, building owners can improve their building’s energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and increase tenant comfort.
Economic Benefits: LL87 can provide economic benefits to building owners in the form of energy savings, reduced operating costs, and increased property value. Improving a building’s energy efficiency can also enhance its marketability and attract tenants who are increasingly seeking sustainable buildings.
Overall, LL87 is driven by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve building performance, provide economic benefits, and ensure regulatory compliance. The law aims to make New York City buildings more sustainable, energy-efficient, and competitive in the market.
What is the difference between LL87, LL97 and LL84?
LL87, LL97 and LL84 are all part of New York City's efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, they differ in terms of their specific requirements and goals.
Here are the key differences between LL87, LL97, and LL84:
LL87: Requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to undergo an energy audit and retro-commissioning study once every ten years.
LL84: Requires owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet (or with multiple buildings on the same tax lot that collectively exceed 100,000 square feet) to annually benchmark and report their energy usage to the city. Find more information on LL84 here.
LL97: Requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emissions limits starting in 2024. Find more information on LL97 here.
What are the steps to complete an energy audit?
- Hire a Qualified Energy Auditor: The first step is to hire a qualified energy auditor who is certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), or another approved organisation. The auditor will evaluate your building's energy consumption patterns, building envelope, HVAC system, lighting system, and other energy-consuming systems.
- Conduct a Site Visit: The energy auditor will conduct a site visit to your building to assess the condition and performance of your building's energy systems. The auditor will review utility bills, conduct interviews with building operators, and perform diagnostic tests to identify opportunities for energy savings.
- Compile Data and Perform Analysis: The energy auditor will compile the data gathered during the site visit and analyse it to identify energy-saving opportunities. The analysis will include benchmarking the building's energy usage against similar buildings and identifying potential energy conservation measures (ECMs).
- Prepare a Report: The energy auditor will prepare a comprehensive report that summarises the findings of the energy audit. The report will include a list of ECMs, including a cost-benefit analysis, energy savings calculations, and recommendations for implementation.
What are the steps to complete the retro-commissioning requirement?
- Hire a Qualified Retro-Commissioning Professional: The first step is to hire a qualified retro-commissioning professional (RCx) who has experience in identifying and resolving operational and maintenance issues in building systems. The RCx professional should be certified by the Building Commissioning Association (BCA), the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), or another approved organisation.
- Develop a Retro-Commissioning Plan: The RCx professional will develop a retro-commissioning plan that outlines the steps required to optimise the building's systems. The plan will include an assessment of the building's current systems, identification of any operational or maintenance issues, and recommendations for system improvements.
- Implement the Retro-Commissioning Plan: The RCx professional will work with the building owner and the building's operations and maintenance team to implement the retro-commissioning plan. This may involve making adjustments to the building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting systems, and other energy-consuming systems to improve their performance and reduce energy waste.
- Verify Results: The RCx professional will verify the results of the retro-commissioning process by conducting testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB) of the systems. This will ensure that the systems are performing optimally and that any identified issues have been resolved.
- Prepare a Report: The RCx professional will prepare a comprehensive report that summarises the findings of the retro-commissioning process. The report will include a list of recommended measures to improve the building's systems, including a cost-benefit analysis, energy savings calculations, and recommendations for implementation.
How do building owners submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) to the Department of Buildings (DOB)?
The energy auditor must prepare an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) based on the findings of the energy audit and retro-commissioning study. The EER must be prepared using the DOB's standard template and must include detailed information about the building's energy use, energy efficiency measures, and compliance with Local Law 87. After the energy auditor prepares the report, building owners must submit it to the DOB. The EER can be submitted online through the DOB's Building Energy Efficiency Reporting and Disclosure (BEERD) system. Building owners must pay a fee when submitting the EER.
What are the compliance costs for building owners?
The compliance costs for building owners for New York Local Law 87 can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the building, the complexity of the building's systems, and the extent of the required retro-commissioning and energy audit measures. However, some of the typical costs associated with compliance include:
Energy Audit Costs: Building owners will need to hire a qualified energy auditor to conduct the energy audit required by Local Law 87. The cost of the audit can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building, but it typically ranges from $0.10 to $0.25 per square foot.
Retro-Commissioning Costs: Building owners will also need to hire a qualified retro-commissioning professional to perform the retro-commissioning process required by Local Law 87. The cost of retro-commissioning can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building, but it typically ranges from $0.15 to $0.30 per square foot.
Implementation Costs: Depending on the recommendations made by the energy auditor and the retro-commissioning professional, building owners may need to invest in upgrades or repairs to their building systems. These costs can vary widely depending on the required upgrades, but they can be substantial, particularly for older buildings with outdated systems.
Energy Efficiency Report (EER) Costs: Building owners will also need to submit an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) to the Department of Buildings (DOB) to comply with Local Law 87. There is an initial filing fee of $375 per building, with an extension fee of $155 per building and an amendment fee of $145 per building.
Building owners should expect to invest several thousand dollars to comply with Local Law 87, but the energy savings generated by the required upgrades and repairs can often offset these costs over time.
Are there any programs to help building owners reduce their compliance costs:
While the NYC Government does not provide direct financial assistance to cover the costs of complying with LL87, there are some programs and resources available that can help building owners reduce their compliance costs:
NYSERDA: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers a range of programs and incentives to help building owners implement energy efficiency measures, including those required by LL87. These incentives can help offset the costs of energy audits, retro-commissioning, and upgrades to building systems.
Energy Efficiency Financing: The NYC Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) provides financing options to help building owners fund energy efficiency projects, including those required by LL87. The financing options offered by NYCEEC can help building owners overcome the upfront costs of implementing energy efficiency measures.
Benchmarking Help Center: The NYC Benchmarking Help Center offers free resources and technical assistance to help building owners comply with Local Law 84, which requires buildings to annually benchmark their energy and water usage. The Help Center can provide guidance on how to collect and report the necessary data for both LL 84 and LL 87.
Building owners should also consult with their energy auditors, retro-commissioning professionals, and other service providers to explore additional resources and incentives that may be available to help reduce their compliance costs.
Are there any penalties for non-compliance?
Building owners in New York City who fail to comply with LL87 can face significant penalties and fines. Here are the potential penalties for non-compliance:
Fines: Building owners who fail to comply with LL87 can be fined up to $3,000 per violation.
Violation Notices: The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) can issue violation notices to building owners who do not comply with LL87. These notices can result in additional fines and penalties.
Building Performance Grades (BPG): The New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) assigns a Building Performance Grade (BPG) to buildings based on their energy efficiency. Building owners who do not comply with LL87 may receive a lower BPG, which can negatively impact their building’s reputation and marketability.
Loss of Financial Incentives: Building owners who fail to comply with LL87 may lose eligibility for financial incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, for energy-efficient upgrades.
Legal Action: In some cases, the City of New York may take legal action against building owners who do not comply with LL87. This can result in additional fines, penalties, and legal fees.
How can building analytics software help building owners to comply with LL87?
Building analytics software, such as CIM's PEAK Platform, can help building owners comply with New York LL 87 in several ways:
Automated Data Collection: Building analytics software can automatically collect data from a building's energy management systems, sensors, and other sources. This data can be used to establish a baseline for energy consumption and identify opportunities for improvement.
Energy Audits: Building analytics software can help streamline the energy audit process by providing automated analysis of energy consumption data and identifying potential energy savings opportunities. This can help energy auditors prioritise their recommendations and provide more accurate estimates of potential energy savings.
Retro-Commissioning: Building analytics software can help building owners identify opportunities for retro-commissioning by analysing the performance of building systems and identifying areas where optimisation or upgrades are needed. This can help streamline the retro-commissioning process and ensure that the building is fully compliant with LL 87.
Ongoing Monitoring: Building analytics software can provide ongoing monitoring of building systems to ensure that they continue to operate efficiently and meet the requirements of Local Law 87. This can help building owners identify potential issues before they become major problems and avoid costly repairs.
Overall, building analytics software can help building owners comply with Local Law 87 by providing automated data collection, analysis, and reporting, which can help streamline the compliance process and ensure that the building is fully optimised for energy efficiency.
For more information, head to https://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/plan/ll87.shtml
To learn how CIM is helping their US customers comply with local regulations, head here.
For more information on other local energy efficiency regulations and certifications, check out our articles on LL84, LL97, the Los Angeles Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency Program, and LEED Certification.
Here at CIM, we're actively helping the world's built environment to achieve net zero emissions and accelerate progress toward ambitious targets. Learn how we can help you comply with LL87 by watching a demo session of our innovative PEAK Platform here.