Is Your Building Required to Comply with Local Law 87 in 2014?

April 28, 2014

Buildings over 50,000 square feet must undergo energy audits and retrocommissioning.

As part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, New York City’s Local Law 87 of 2009 (LL 87) mandates that buildings over 50,000 gross square feet undergo energy audits and retrocommissioning.

The results of these measures are included in Energy Efficiency Reports (EERs) that are required every 10 years. The same private-sector buildings that must benchmark under Local Law 84 are also subject to LL 87.

According to Holly Savoia, director of sustainability enforcement for the NYC Department of Buildings, approximately 1,400 buildings were required to submit EERs in 2013. The EERs are mandatory in calendar years whose last digit coincides with the last digit of a building’s tax block number. Consequently, properties with a block number ending in “4” are due to report in 2014.

The steps toward compliance involve conducting the energy audit and retrocommissioning of base building systems. The retrocommissioning process checks that the energy systems in an existing building are installed as per design intentions, tests the systems’ functionality, and their ability to be operated and maintained according to the building owner’s operational needs. Once the audit and retrocommissioning have been completed, the EER must be filled out and submitted electronically to the city by Dec. 31.

According to the Department of Buildings, energy audits are not required for buildings that have received an ENERGY STAR label for at least two of the three years before the filing of an EER. However, retrocommissioning would still be required for these buildings.

Energy audits are also waived for buildings that received LEED 2009 certification within four years prior to an EER filing. In addition, the latter buildings do not require retrocommissioning if they have earned the LEED point for Existing Building Commissioning investigation and analysis as well as the point for Existing Building Commissioning implementation.

The retrocommissioning procedure requires owners to report on 24 measures, including the following:

  • HVAC temperature and humidity setpoints are appropriate and operating schedules reflect major space occupancy patterns and current facility requirements.
  • HVAC sensors are properly calibrated.
  • HVAC controls are functioning and control sequences match the current facility requirements.
  • Loads are distributed equally across equipment where feasible (i.e. fans, boilers, pumps, etc. that run in parallel).
  • Lighting levels and ventilation rates are adequate.
  • Simultaneous heating and cooling does not occur unless intended.

For more information on the requirements of LL 87, see the Department of Buildings.

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