If you are a building owner, you probably wondered how you should deal with the Local Laws of the New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. These laws might, at times, be confusing for you, as they come up with different requirements and coverage areas. Thus, if you are wondering which law you need to comply with, and when your reports regarding the corresponding laws should be ready, then this article is what you have been looking for. Keep reading to find out more details on the matter.
In 2009, as a reconfirmation of the 2007 PlaNYC, the New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) was announced as the most effective and functional effort in trying to reduce the amount of energy waste in city buildings. One of the main goals of the PlaNYC was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30% until 2030.
Thus, an important legislation was passed on December 9, 2009, under GGBP which includes 4 individual laws: Local Laws 84, 85, 87 and 88. The ones that we are going to focus on today are Local Laws 84 and 87.
Local Laws 84 and 87: What Do They Imply?
Local Law 84 (LL84) is the collection of data of used water and energy in the buildings. As for Local Law 87 or LL87, it is aimed at energy audits, retro-commissioning and delivery of energy efficiency reports or EER (this is to be done every 10 years).
Local Laws 84 and 87 make it easier for the New York City government to gather data on energy usage from the buildings as the work is carried out directly with the building owners.
Local Law 84: Description and Requirements
As it was already mentioned, LL84 is the gathering of data on the energy and water usage of the buildings covered by this law.
Let’s now have a quick look at the requirements and other details of LL84:
What does benchmarking mean? - The process of benchmarking involves the inputting and submission of the total amount of energy and water usage of a given building to the benchmarking tool (in this case, to the US Environmental Protection Agency Portfolio Manager tool). The data should be that of the previous year and the benchmarking tool might also require some other details regarding the building.
What’s a benchmarking tool? - The aim of the benchmarking tool is, obviously, the procedure of following the course of and evaluating the way certain buildings utilize energy and water in relation to or in comparison with other similar buildings.
Which buildings fall under the category of “city building?” - A city building, with a few exceptions, is any building, which comes with the following criteria:
over 10,000 square feet in area
the property of the city i.e. belongs to or is owned by the city,
the annual energy bills are covered by the city (partially or fully),
Which buildings are covered by Local Law 84? - The department of finance states the following in its records regarding the covered buildings:
A building that has an area of more than 50,000 square feet
Two or more buildings that possess an area of more than 100,000 square feet and are on the same tax lot
Two or more buildings that possess an area of more than 100,000 square feet, come with the same board of head officers and are managed in the condominium form of proprietorship
Another point worth mentioning here is the list of buildings that do not fall under the covered buildings category, but still have to undergo benchmarking:
City buildings, as described above (with a minimum of 10.000 square feet area),
Any other building that belongs to the city and is its property
Any real property that is considered as class one according to the real property tax law.
You can check whether your building is on the list of covered buildings and if you need to provide a benchmarking report. The city refreshes the list of covered buildings every year.
How does the benchmarking process take place? - The owner or the representative of the owner of a given building carries out the procedure of benchmarking which should be completed until May 1 every year. The owner or his/her representative should also cooperate or discuss the process with the building’s operating staff.
You won’t be required to do water usage benchmarking if your building has been using an automatic meter reading equipment throughout the previous calendar year. The equipment is to be provided by the environmental protection department.
Note: According to LL84, you are free to choose the person who is to be in charge of the benchmarking process. He/she can be:
A member of your office team
The property manager
A specialized energy consultant (this would be a good choice especially for those building owners who do not have much knowledge about the benchmarking tool or the overall benchmarking technology)
What will happen if the benchmarking results are not submitted on time? - There are 4 deadlines and with the violation of each, you will be charged a penalty. This amount will increase together with each deadline.
The first deadline is May 31 - the only time you won’t be charged anything,
The second deadline is August 1
The third one is November 1
And the fourth is February 1
The amount of penalty can start from $500 increasing up to $2000 within a year.
Will building owners be notified about the benchmarking process? - Notification is sent to building owners not only regarding the start of benchmarking but also in other cases, e.g. when the owner has failed to meet the deadline.
This is pretty much everything you need to know about Local Law 84 benchmarking as a building owner. Let’s now pass on to the description of Local Law 87.
Details on Local Law 87
As it was already mentioned, LL87 includes the following requirements:
Delivery of electronically submitted energy efficiency reports or EER (this is to be done every 10 years)
What is auditing? - An energy audit implies the evaluation of the systems and the equipment utilized by a given building. The evaluation should include analysis of the ways and possibilities of reducing the energy usage from the above-mentioned systems.
You will need a qualified energy auditor in order to have your auditing done correctly and with high standards. The auditor will create a full technical proposal based on his/her monitoring of the building’s equipment and systems. As a result, the building’s technical and operational needs will be detected and improved.
What is retro-commissioning? - This term refers to the procedure when the systems and equipment used by a given building are being tuned up so as to make sure they have been installed correctly, are functioning efficiently and in the originally designed way.
Which buildings comply with LL87? - All buildings exceeding the 50.000 square feet in floor area must undergo energy auditing and retro-commissioning. The reports regarding this must be submitted to the City via an EER every 10 years. You can also find the list of LL87 covered buildings to make sure you are aware of the year your report should be ready.
Note: The EER reports must be submitted by December 31 of the year you are due.
What will happen in case of not meeting the deadline? - If LL87 is violated by not meeting the deadline (December 31 of your due year), you will be charged a penalty of $3000 for the first year. The violations in the coming years will be charged with a penalty of $5000.
What is an EER? - The energy efficiency report is made up of Professional Certification Forms and Data Collections Tools. These are filled in electronically. The Professional Certification Forms come with details regarding the building’s filing status, the structure of the teams of auditing and retro-commissioning, a professional seal and qualifications, as well as a statement of compliance from the owner of a given building. There will also be information on whether the building was released from carrying out an audit and retro-commissioning or not. Data Collections Tools include a number of sections, such as introduction, submitting, team and building information, details about the building’s equipment, etc.
How much will LL87 cost me? - The fees for the overall process of auditing and retro-commissioning might start from $375. There can be other payments too, such as an extension request or an amendment. Both of these equal to nearly $155 and $145 respectively.
The above-described information about the Local Laws 84 and 87 is enough to ensure you in the importance of their existence and realization. The regular reports gained as a result of these laws will enable the city of New York to highly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, to improve the performance of large buildings as well as reduce the annual energy and water bills.
As a New Yorker, and as a building owner in this huge city, it is your mission and responsibility to support the GGBP plan in all possible ways!