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What is Local Law 87 Energy Audit and Retro-Commissioning?

New York Cityscape

Local Law 87 (LL87) is a New York City set of regulations that require significant buildings to be inspected, modified, and submitted an energy report to the NYC Department of Buildings. This local law was enacted to help New York fulfill its environmental targets by analyzing the energy and environmental performance of the most demanding structures and improving (if needed) the utilization of the building’s machinery, processes, or electrical wiring.

Local Law 87 compliance steps

Large buildings (over 50,000 square feet) that are not already LEED-certified, Energy-Star recognized, or fulfill other exemption requirements must perform the following procedures to comply with LL87:

1) Energy Audit

The audit of the building must be done in the presence of an energy auditor, and all the conclusions drawn from the audit must be submitted to the Department of Building in the form of an energy efficiency report. The report contains audit and retro-commissioning data. The energy efficiency of all basic building systems, including the

  • Building envelope
  • Ventilation System
  • Electrical and lighting systems

The audit must identify all possible activities and capital improvements that might result in lower energy use or expenses and the associated savings, implementation costs, and short payback period.

2) Retro-Commissioning

After finishing an energy efficiency study, owners must ensure that the critical basic systems have been retro-commissioned by a retro-commissioning agency. Following things must be included in the report:

  • The basic foundation of the property
  • Inventory of existing equipment
  • Calibration and sequencing
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Training and documentation challenges

The retro-commissioning report must include information about the project team, the building, the testing method, a master list of outcomes, and a list of defects that have been corrected.

3) Energy Efficiency Report

To achieve LL87 compliance, we finish and submit the Energy Audit and Retro-Commissioning reports to the NYC Department of Buildings.

What should all be there in the report?

Energy audit and retro-commissioning reports must be thorough in terms of performance indicators. We’ve already mentioned how important it is. You should not be concerned about missing any metrics while working with a professional engineer because they are well-versed in such procedures and know exactly what to add and how to monitor.

Preferably, the following things should be included in the audit and retro-commissioning measures:

  • Breakdown of energy usage
  • Energy-saving measures proposed by professional engineers
  • Retro-commissioning Metrics
  • Equipment inventory
  • Details about the general structure

Penalties for Noncompliance with LL87

Financial penalties apply if the EER is not submitted by the due date. If you fail to raise the EER by the deadline, the DOB will charge you $3000 for the first year and $5000 for each consecutive year until the EER is submitted.

Why should you hire professionals for conducting Energy audits and Retro-Commissioning?

Energy audits and retro-commissioning are complex operations that need the technical expertise of qualified MEP professionals. They are possibly the most time-consuming part of Local Law 87 compliance since, if not properly evaluated, you may be compelled to make costly revisions to your Energy Efficiency Report.

If the Department of Buildings finds problems in your EER, it may request modifications, which may cost you $145. It is advisable to prevent complications by hiring a qualified engineer to do energy audits and retro-commissioning before being penalized for modifications due to incorrect results.


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