New York Local Law 84 (LL84) Explained

April 18, 2023

In this article, we explore New York Local Law 84, a key piece of legislation in New York City's efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. We examine the key drivers behind the law, and explain the steps building owners must take to comply. We also compare LL84 to other local regulations, such as Local Law 87 and Local Law 97, to understand the similarities and differences between these laws. By understanding the requirements and goals of LL84, building owners can take action to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and contribute to a more sustainable future for New York City.

Jump to:

What is LL84?

Key drivers

Differences between LL84, LL87 and LL97?

How to comply

Energy Efficiency Label

Penalties for non-compliance

How building analytics can help

What is New York Local Law 84?

Local Law 84 (LL84) is a piece of legislation that was passed by the New York City Council in 2009, as part of a broader initiative to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the city. It requires owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to annually benchmark and report their energy usage to the city, using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

The benchmarking process involves collecting data on a building's energy consumption and other key characteristics, such as its size, occupancy, and operating hours. This data is then entered into the Portfolio Manager tool, which calculates the building's energy performance based on a standardized energy use intensity (EUI) metric. The benchmarking report must be submitted to the city by May 1 of each year.

The purpose of LL84 is to create greater transparency around building energy use, so that building owners, tenants, and the public can better understand and compare the energy performance of different buildings. The hope is that this increased transparency will encourage building owners to learn how to make commercial buildings more energy efficient, invest in energy efficiency upgrades, and help the city meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

What are some of the key drivers behind LL84?

There were several key drivers behind the enactment of LL84, including:

Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction: The City of New York has set ambitious goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and buildings are responsible for roughly 70% of the city's emissions. LL84 was seen as a key tool to help achieve these goals by creating greater awareness and accountability around building energy use.

Energy efficiency: Buildings that are more energy efficient can save money on energy costs and reduce their environmental impact. LL84 was designed to encourage building owners to invest in energy efficiency upgrades by making energy use more transparent and comparable across buildings.

Economic development: The energy efficiency industry is a growing sector that can create jobs and stimulate economic development. LL84 was seen as a way to create new opportunities for energy service providers and promote innovation in the building sector.

Tenant protection: LL84 also aimed to provide greater transparency to tenants about the energy performance of their buildings, which could help them make more informed decisions about where to live and work. By requiring building owners to publicly report their energy use, LL84 also sought to discourage landlords from neglecting energy efficiency upgrades that could lead to higher costs for tenants.

How does LL84 differ from Local Law 87 and Local Law 97?

Local Law 84 (LL84), Local Law 87 (LL87), and Local Law 97 (LL97) 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 LL84, LL87, and LL97:

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. 

LL87: Requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to undergo an energy audit and retro-commissioning study once every ten years.

LL97: Requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to meet increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emissions limits starting in 2024.

What steps must building owners take to comply with Local Law 84?

Building owners in New York City who are subject to LL84 must take the following steps to comply with the law:

  1. Determine if the building is subject to LL84: LL84 applies to buildings larger than 50,000 square feet or with multiple buildings on the same tax lot that collectively exceed 100,000 square feet. Building owners should verify whether their building meets these criteria.
  1. Collect energy consumption data: Building owners must collect energy consumption data for the entire calendar year for each eligible building, including electricity, gas, and steam usage. Owners must also collect other building characteristics, such as gross floor area, occupancy, and hours of operation.
  1. Enter data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Building owners must use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to benchmark their building's energy use. The tool is free to use and allows owners to compare their building's energy performance to similar buildings across the country.
  1. Submit benchmarking report to the City: Building owners must submit their benchmarking report to the City by May 1st of each year, starting in 2011. The report must be submitted through the online tool provided by the City.
  1. Post Building Energy Efficiency Rating Label: Building owners must post the building's energy efficiency score and a summary of the benchmarking results in a visible location within the building. The score should also be included in any commercial listings for the building.

What is the Building Energy Efficiency Label?

Owners of buildings that are required to benchmark their energy usage must also post a Building Energy Efficiency Rating label in a conspicuous location near each public entrance to their buildings.

The energy efficiency score is the Energy Star Rating that a building earns through using ENERGY STAR. Grades are then assigned to the Energy Star ratings as follows:

  • A for a score equal to or greater than 85
  • B for a score equal to or greater than 70, but less than 85
  • C for a score equal to or greater than 55, but less than 70
  • D for a score less than 55
  • F for buildings that didn’t submit the required benchmarking information

The Energy Efficiency Rating Label includes both the letter grade and the numerical Energy Star rating. The labels are made available by the NYC Department of Buildings every year, and owners can access their labels and print them here. Owners must also replace their labels every year with the latest issued version. 

For more information on the Energy Efficiency Rating Label, visit this page.

Are there any fines for non-compliance with LL84?

Building owners in New York City who fail to comply with LL84 may face penalties and fines. The specific fines depend on the length of time that the building owner is out of compliance and whether the building has previously been found in violation of LL84. 

If a building owner fails to submit a benchmarking report by the May 1st deadline, they may receive a notice of violation and a civil penalty of $500 for each quarter the report is late, up to a maximum of $2,000 per year. Additionally, failure to timely display the Building Energy Efficiency Rating Label will result in a fine of $1,250.

How can the use of building analytics software help building owners comply with LL84? 

Building analytics software, such as CIM's PEAK platform, can be a valuable tool for building owners looking to comply with LL84. Here are some ways that the use of building analytics software can help:

Automate data collection: Building analytics software can automatically collect and organize building energy consumption data from a variety of sources, including utility bills, building automation systems, and metering systems. This can save building owners time and effort in manually collecting and inputting data.

Ensure data accuracy: Building analytics software can help ensure the accuracy of benchmarking data by detecting and correcting errors, such as incorrect meter readings or missing data. This can help building owners avoid penalties for inaccurate or incomplete data.

Identify energy-saving opportunities: Building analytics software can provide insights into energy consumption patterns and identify opportunities for energy savings. By identifying areas where energy use is high or inefficient, building owners can take steps to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Monitor progress over time: Building analytics software can track building energy performance over time, allowing building owners to monitor the impact of energy efficiency upgrades and other initiatives. This can help building owners track their progress toward LL84 compliance and other sustainability goals.

With an increasing focus on sustainability and reducing emissions, state energy efficiency regulations are becoming more and more ambitious. Having a LEED certified building is one way of ensuring compliance with local or state regulations. Check out our blog on LEED certification for more information.

Own a portfolio with buildings in multiple states? Check out our state-by-state guide to energy benchmarking ordinances and energy efficiency regulations to see how your portfolio is affected.

To discover how our innovative PEAK platform can accelerate your progress towards net zero emissions, view a demo session here.

Connor Holbert
April 18, 2023