The 7 Most Important Questions about  New York City’s Energy Efficiency Reporting Law
You may know it as Local Law 87. You may know it as part of New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. Or you may know it as the Department of Buildings’ Energy Efficiency Report. But no matter what name you know it by, chances are there’s a lot you don’t know about this new requirement.
Beginning in 2013, all large buildings in New York City are required to file an energy efficiency report with the Department of Buildings every ten years. It’s part of a movement toward a greener, more sustainable city. To help you do your part, here are the seven most common questions about the new law – along with answers that will make compliance a lot easier.
How do I know when to file my report?
Yes, “every ten years” is a pretty vague guideline. The process begins by filing what’s called an Energy Audit and Retro-Commissioning Study. The last digit of your block number determines when your building should file these reports. Once those are filed, your Energy Efficiency Report is due within four years.

How long does the process take?
You definitely don’t want to procrastinate. Typically, an Energy Audit takes three to six months. The Retro-Commissioning Study could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, mostly because the study should be conducted throughout all four seasons. In a nutshell, you should contract with a good energy auditing firm at least a year in advance of your due date.
Is early compliance recommended?
Definitely. Filing sooner means you have earlier access to information on your building that will enable you to enact energy-saving strategies immediately, saving you and your residents’ money. Beyond that, you’ll find energy efficiency enhances comfort and increases property values. And while incentives and grants for those who comply early haven’t been set in stone yet, early adopters may find that compliance is easier now rather than later simply because the standards for the Energy Efficiency Report haven’t been formalized. Essentially, while the law is new, it may be easier to comply.
So what is an Energy Audit, anyway?
An Energy Audit is an analysis of your building’s base systems so that improvements and enhancements can be recommended in order to save money, protect the environment and increase residents’ comfort. Typically, an audit will assess the building’s outer structural elements (or envelope); heating, ventilation and A/C; hot water systems; and electrical components.
How is this different from a Retro-Commissioning Study?
Whereas an Energy Audit may identify new methods and systems for improving your building’s energy efficiency, a Retro-Commissioning Study makes recommendations on how to maximize the systems that are already in place. Common practices include a thorough cleaning of all systems, making adjustments to valves and sensors, programming heating and cooling systems to optimal settings and making basic energy-saving changes to the building’s overall operations.
Who do I contact about getting an audit or a study done?
Only qualified firms can provide these services. The work should be performed by a combination of professional engineers, certified energy managers and existing building commissioning professionals. The best property management company can help you find a reputable company to ensure your building is compliant.
How much will the Energy Audit and Retro-Commissioning Report cost?
There is no standard fee structure for all buildings. Typically, the cost is determined by the size of the building and its type of systems. A professional community management company should be able to ensure the most reliable report at the lowest possible cost.
While this new law is good for the planet and great for New York City, it can be confusing and stressful for association board members. Contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leading property management company, to find out more about common-sense ways of complying with Local Law 87.
Monday June 30, 2014