Energy Audits 101

Energy Audits 101: Understanding the Basics of Local Law 87

Energy Audits 101 | The energy efficiency of standing structures like habitable buildings is an important feature of modern construction. The earth’s resources are dwindling fast, and reasonable use is often mandated by law in several countries and states. One such energy audit requirement is the New York Local Law 87, which came into effect in 2009 to better the energy efficiency of the buildings in New York City. 

This rule directs the business owners to conduct retro-commission studies and energy audits at least once every ten years and show compliance with the law by submitting these Energy Efficiency Reports (EERs) to the Department of Buildings (DOB). 

Energy audits inspect and analyze power expenditure, while retro-commissioning confirms the tools are mounted and are operating correctly. The article will explain the different factors affecting the operation and efficacy of Local Law 87 and its properties on the city’s environment. 

What Are The Legal Requirements In the Short? 

Law 87 (LL87) requires buildings in New York City with more than 50,000 square feet of area to perform audits for energy consumption and conduct retro-commissioning once every ten years. If you are a building owner, you should know this important info about the law:

  • The retro-commissioning of the buildings will need to improve the existing buildings’ performance and lessen the waste of energy. 
  • Energy audits should detect energy consumption and identify opportunities to save it in the heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation systems. 
  • The Department of Buildings sets up a deadline for the EER submission. The report must mention the results of the retro-commissioning and energy audits and has to be submitted online within the due date. 

The retro-commissioning measures must mention the following:

  • Existing equipment inventory
  • Common construction information 
  • Energy preservation processes identified from the audit. 
  • Energy utilization breakdown. 
  • Directives for retro-commissioning. 

Moreover, properties with multiple buildings and a combined area of more than 100,000 square feet must submit an energy efficiency report. 

Does The Law Allow For Any Extension?

The New York City local law 87states that if a building cannot complete the energy assessment and retro commissioning because of decent belief labor or any financial problem, the DOB may extend their submission deadline. However, the request for extension must be filed within the 1st of October of the report submission year, along with a fee of USD 155. 

The law also specifies the conditions the building owner must fulfill to apply for an extension under the financial hardship aspect:

  1. The buildings must have arrears in property taxes within two years before filing the EER on the annual tax lien sale list of New York City. 
  2. They must be exempted from real property taxes according to sections 420-a, 446, 420-b, or 462 of the real property tax law. 
  3. The building authority must present an ongoing or effective commitment letter from a federal agency to finance the restoration of cheap housing directed at low or moderate-income families within a 5-year or lesser period. 
  4. The property must exhibit outstanding balances under the Department Of Housing Preservation And Development repair program within two years before the EER filing. It should be registered on the annual NYC tax lien sale list within the same period. 

Reasons Behind The Law’s Implementation

The USA comes under the list of developed nations, where building-related rules consider the effect of construction on the environment. Therefore, the LL87 was implemented to optimize the overall energy efficiency of the constructions. Moreover, it ensures that the buildings employ instruments that pose the least environmental threat. 

Bettering the building’s performance 

The law aims to improve the buildings’ performance in NYC by recognizing and correcting errors in energy consumption. The building owners can improve their building’s tenant comfort, reduce energy costs, and enhance its energy efficiency. 

Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions

The NYC buildings cause around 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in the city. Moreover, NYC aims to reduce these discharges by 80% by 2050. Therefore, the city authorities have implemented the LL87, requiring the owners to conduct retro-conditioning and energy audits. These efforts are targeted to identify and apply energy-saving protocols to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses.

Financial advantages

Following the LL87 will ensure economic benefits to house owners by reducing operating costs, saving energy, and increasing market value. Modern tenants seek sustainable buildings now. So, complying with the LL87 will enhance the property’s marketability and attract new tenants. 

In short, Local Law 87aims to make city constructions more energy-efficient, sustainable and favored in the market. So, it will help the city move towards a greener future by improving building performance through energy audits. 

Overall, LL87 focused on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve building performance, and ensure regulatory compliance. The law aims to make New York City buildings more sustainable, energy-efficient, and competitive in the market.

How does LL97, LL87, and LL84 differ? 

NYC puts immense pressure on the environmental suitability of its buildings. They have several regulations similar to LL87 in place to increase the energy efficiency of buildings. However, they differ in terms of specific requirements and goals.

  • Local Law 97: Buildings over 25000 square feet fall under this regulation and must comply with the more stringent greenhouse gas emission norms starting in 2024. 
  • LL84Owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet (or numerous buildings under the same tax lot exceeding 100,000 square feet) must annually standardize and report their energy utilization to the city under this law. 
  • Local Law 87: The buildings over 50,000 square feet must go through an energy audit and retro-commissioning study once every ten years. 

The process requires building authorities to hire expert energy auditors and retro-commissioning professionals and submit the report in a standardized template. 

In Conclusion 

Energy usage optimization is not a fancy requirement. Instead, it is an important step to acclimatize with nature and leave the least carbon footprint. Adherence to NYC law 87 is an important step for building owners. However, they may find the total process of power audit, retro commissioning, and report submission strenuous. So, hire professionals from The Cotocon Group and ensure the best energy efficiency ratings and error-free submission. 


What is Local Law 87?

LL87 is a legal mandate to optimize the energy usage and instrument performance utilization by the buildings in NYC. 

Can a property owner perform an energy audit?

It is better to involve a third-party and approved energy auditor to ensure no conflict of interest issue crops up. 

Is it a yearly submission? 

LL87 requires building authorities to submit an EER with the DOB once every ten years. 

Is the process free?

The building owners have to pay a fee to submit the EER.