An Overview of NYC’s Local Law 84 and 87

In 2009, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation to make New York City a world leader in sustainable building practices. The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) is a synergistic effort including four Local Laws that provide new energy efficiency standards. These rules call for more proactive activity on the part of property owners and regulators.

To produce the greatest effect with the least effort, GGBP’s rules focus on approximately 15,000 properties in New York City over 50,000 square feet. According to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, these sites account for nearly half the city’s square footage and use about 48% of the total energy consumed by New York City on an annual basis.

Of the four rules, two are especially crucial to act on promptly:

Local Law 84: Benchmarking

Local Law 84 calls for owners of large buildings to measure energy and water consumption annually. Owners are required to utilize a free online tool developed by the Environmental Protection Agency known as Portfolio Manager. Annual consumption measurement will help property owners to ensure their efforts are producing the expected effects while influencing the market to provide innovative solutions in sustainability.

Local Law 87: Energy Audits & Retro-Commissioning

Local Law 87 implements requirements for energy audits – periodic survey and analysis of a building’s energy usage – and retro-commissioning, proactive performance management for certain building equipment. This law works with its counterpart Local Law 87 to provide more detailed data on consumption than has been available previously. Retro-commissioning focuses on calibrating and sequencing HVAC systems.

Ensuring Complete Compliance Requires Commercial HVAC Expertise

Elements of the GGBP that include reporting requirements have quarterly reporting deadlines typically 12 months from the date of the previous report submission.
Failing to submit required reports on time can lead to fines that grow increasingly onerous with each quarter an enterprise is in non-compliance. With that in mind, it’s important to have a compliance strategy in place.

Local Law 87’s retro-commissioning requirement is ambiguous to non-technical readers and is a source of much confusion for commercial property owners. In effect, large businesses must have their HVAC systems inspected, calibrated, and in some cases, upgraded in order to meet stricter performance and energy consumption standards aligned with the overall GGBP objectives.

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