Local Law 87 Nyc

Local Law 87 is a legislation that was enacted in New York City in 2009 as part of the city’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The law requires all buildings over 50,000 square feet to undergo an energy audit and retro-commissioning study once every 10 years.

An energy audit is a detailed analysis of a building’s energy usage and efficiency. The audit will identify areas where energy is being wasted and recommend cost-effective measures to reduce energy consumption. Retro-commissioning, on the other hand, involves testing and optimizing a building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency.

After the energy audit and retro-commissioning study is completed, building owners are required to submit a report to the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) outlining any recommended energy-saving measures and their estimated payback periods.

Benefits of Local Law 87 Compliance:

Compliance with Local Law 87 in New York City can provide numerous benefits for building owners and occupants. Here are some of the benefits of Local Law 87 compliance:

  • Energy cost savings: By identifying and addressing inefficiencies in a building’s energy systems, owners can reduce energy consumption and save on energy costs.
  • Improved indoor comfort: Retro-commissioning can help ensure that a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are operating effectively, which can improve indoor comfort and air quality for occupants.
  • Reduced maintenance costs: A comprehensive energy audit can identify potential maintenance issues before they become more serious, which can save owners money on repairs and replacements over time.
  • Increased property value: Improving a building’s energy efficiency can increase its market value, as potential buyers or renters are often willing to pay more for buildings with lower operating costs.
  • Compliance with regulations: Compliance with Local Law 87 can help building owners avoid fines and penalties for noncompliance, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Positive public image: Building owners who comply with Local Law 87 can promote their sustainability efforts and show their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, which can enhance their reputation and public image.

Understanding Energy Audits:

An energy audit is a process of assessing a building’s energy consumption and identifying opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Here are some key points to understand about energy audits:

  1. Types of energy audits: There are generally three levels of energy audits: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. The level of audit depends on the scope and complexity of the building and the desired level of detail.
  2. Benefits of energy audits: Energy audits can help building owners and managers identify areas where energy is being wasted and recommend measures to reduce energy consumption and costs. By improving energy efficiency, building owners can save money on utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve indoor comfort for occupants.
  3. Audit process: The energy audit process typically involves an on-site inspection of the building’s energy systems, including HVAC, lighting, and insulation. The auditor will collect data on energy usage and review utility bills, building plans, and other documentation. The auditor may also use specialized equipment, such as infrared cameras, to identify energy losses.
  4. Recommendations: After the audit, the auditor will provide a report that outlines recommended energy-saving measures. These may include upgrading HVAC systems, improving insulation, installing energy-efficient lighting, and implementing energy management systems. The report will also estimate the cost savings and payback period for each recommended measure.
  5. Importance of implementation: It’s important for building owners and managers to implement the recommended energy-saving measures to realize the benefits of the audit. Some audits may also include follow-up inspections to verify that the measures have been implemented correctly and are achieving the expected energy savings.


Retro-commissioning is a process of optimizing a building’s energy systems to improve efficiency and reduce energy waste. Here are some key points to understand about retro-commissioning:

  • What is retro-commissioning: Retro-commissioning is a systematic process of evaluating and optimizing a building’s energy systems, including HVAC, lighting, and controls, to ensure that they are operating efficiently and effectively.
  • Goals of retro-commissioning: The primary goals of retro-commissioning are to identify and correct energy inefficiencies, improve occupant comfort, and reduce energy costs. By optimizing energy systems, building owners can often achieve energy savings of 5-15% or more.
  • Retro-commissioning process: The retro-commissioning process typically involves a series of steps, including data collection, analysis, implementation of energy-saving measures, and verification of results. The process may also include ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure that the energy systems continue to operate efficiently over time.
  • Benefits of retro-commissioning: Retro-commissioning can provide numerous benefits for building owners, including reduced energy costs, improved indoor comfort, extended equipment life, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced building value.
  • Retro-commissioning vs. commissioning: Retro-commissioning is often confuse with commissioning, which is a similar process that is typically perform on new buildings or major renovations. While commissioning is focus on ensuring that new energy systems are operating correctly, retro-commissioning is focus on optimizing existing energy systems that may have become less efficient over time.

Common Local Law 87 Compliance Challenges

Building compliance can be a complex and challenging process. Here are some common compliance challenges that building owners and managers may face:

  1. Understanding regulations: Building owners and managers need to be aware of all relevant regulations and codes that apply to their building. Keeping up with changing regulations can be difficult, and failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, penalties, or legal action.
  2. Cost: Compliance can be expensive, particularly if major upgrades or renovations are require. Building owners need to budget for compliance-related expenses and determine how to prioritize competing needs.
  3. Time: Compliance can be time-consuming, particularly if extensive documentation or data collection is require. Building owners and managers need to allocate sufficient time and resources to the compliance process.
  4. Staffing: Compliance requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Building owners and managers may need to hire staff or consultants with specific skills to manage compliance effectively.
  5. Access to data: Compliance often requires access to detailed information about a building’s energy usage and systems. Gathering this data can be challenging, particularly for older buildings or those with outdated systems.
  6. Implementation: Even after compliance requirements have been identify, implementation can be challenging. Building owners may need to work with contractors or other professionals to implement energy-saving measures or make other required upgrades.
  7. Verification: Verification is a critical aspect of compliance. Building owners must be able to demonstrate that they have complied with all relevant regulations and codes. This may require regular inspections, monitoring of energy usage, or other documentation.

Financing Local Law 87 Compliance

Local Law 87 compliance can be a significant investment for building owners, but there are financing options available to help spread out the cost over time. Here are some ways to finance Local Law 87 compliance:

  • Utility incentives: Many utility companies offer incentives or rebates for energy-efficient upgrades. Building owners can take advantage of these programs to offset the cost of Local Law 87 compliance.
  • Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs): EPCs are agreements between building owners and energy service companies (ESCOs) that provide financing for energy efficiency upgrades. Under an EPC, the ESCO pays for the cost of the upgrades upfront, and the building owner pays back the cost over time through energy savings.
  • Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing: PACE financing allows building owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades through a property tax assessment. The cost is repaid through a special assessment on the property tax bill.
  • Green bonds: Green bonds are a type of fixed-income investment that finances environmentally sustainable projects. Building owners can issue green bonds to finance Local Law 87 compliance and attract socially responsible investors.
  • Commercial Property Assess Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing: C-PACE is a financing option that allows commercial property owners to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades through a long-term, low-interest loan that is repaid through a property tax assessment.
  • Traditional financing: Building owners can also finance Local Law 87 compliance through traditional financing methods, such as loans or lines of credit. However, traditional financing may not offer the same level of flexibility or favorable terms as some of the other options.

Local Law 87 is a critical component of New York City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in buildings. Compliance with the law requires energy audits, retro-commissioning, and periodic upgrades to building systems, which can be costly and time-consuming. However, building owners and managers can take advantage of financing options, such as utility incentives, energy performance contracts, PACE financing, green bonds, C-PACE financing, or traditional financing, to spread out the cost over time. Despite the challenges of compliance, the benefits of Local Law 87 are clear: lower energy costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and a more sustainable built environment for future generations.

Also Read: Best Tips for Real Estate Businesses

By thecotocongroup

Sustainability Consulting Experts in NYC. Leading the Real Estate Industry in Reducing GHG Emissions & Increasing Property Value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *