On September 13, 2012, the NYC Department of Buildings published the final rule detailing compliance with Local Law 87 of 2009, which mandates energy audits and retrocommissioning in buildings over 50,000 square feet. At almost three years in the making (including a hearing and public comment earlier this year), it’s not exactly coming hot on the heels of the original legislation – but it is timely, since the first set of buildings must comply in 2013. If your block number ends in 3 (and here’s to you, Trump Building), hopefully you have already started retrocommissioning, as we recommend that you start the process at least one year before the report is due.
The DOB rule fleshes out the administrative details that the law itself doesn’t include. For instance, it’s a “major” violation to fail to file a report, and carries a penalty of $3,000 for the first year (increasing to $5,000 in subsequent years). Falling behind? Owners can apply for an extension, if they’ve made a good-faith effort to comply and file an extension request by October 1 of the year in which the report is due. And we hope your filing systems are up to snuff – owners have to keep the paperwork on file for 11 years after the due date of the report.
The rule lays out in clear detail how the audits and retrocommissioning must occur. In general, these are “common sense” provisions. For instance, LL87 requires that easily reached sealants and weatherstripping be maintained in good condition, whereas the rule clarifies that asbestos-containing sealants and weatherstripping isn’t required to be removed or replaced. Additionally, the rule does narrow the law’s effect in a few ways:
- LL87 mandated ensuring all equipment is properly functioning, but the rule only requires inspection of larger equipment; for air handlers, “major” units over 5,000 cfm, and for water pumps, units over 10 hp.
- LL87 requires that all sensors be properly calibrated, but for sensors that are not part of a control sequence, the rule allows testing just 10% of them. Further testing is only required if less than 90% of the sensors tested are working properly. Similar provisions apply to light levels and steam trap surveys.
- It clarifies who is allowed to perform retrocommissioning and auditing activities, and what certifications they must maintain.
With the release of the final rule, owners should be poised to begin filing their energy audits and retrocommissioning reports next year (buildings that performed this work prior to the rule, but in accordance with the law, are deemed in compliance). Let’s get those surveys started!
Please note that this blog post is not a complete overview of the requirements and provisions of the energy audit and retrocommissioning law. For that, please see Urban Green Council’s LL87 educational offerings.
Thanks to Marianna Vaidman Stone for her assistance in reviewing the final rule.