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How LL87 Relates to LL97

Buildings account for nearly three-quarters of New York City’s carbon emissions. New York City has implemented a series of rigorous laws to combat these emissions. In this post, we'll give a comprehensive overview of Local Laws 87 and 97 and explain how they intersect. Additionally, we examine the significance of this for building decision-makers and how they should start preparing for compliance. 

Local Law 87: Energy Audits & Retro-commissioning 

Enacted in 2009 as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, Local Law 87 mandates buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to complete an energy audit and retro-commissioning measures periodically every ten years. This law was intended to inform building owners of their energy consumption via energy audits as well as encourage building owners to take action in reducing their energy consumption via retro-commissioning.

Local Law 87 compliance mandates auditing and retro-commissioning to base building systems only. Base systems include the building envelope (roof and façade), domestic hot water systems (DHW), electrical and lighting systems, and HVAC

What are Energy Audits and retro-commissioning measures? 

Energy audits are surveys and analyses of the performances of a building's energy equipment, systems, and operations. Retro-commissioning addresses inefficient functions in building systems due to old age or usage. The process then includes recommending energy conservation measures, or ECMS, that adjust or upgrade faulty equipment for optimal and efficient performance.

What is Local Law 97?

Local Law 97 establishes emissions restrictions for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet. Through this, the largest buildings and thus the most substantial carbon emitters will make significant progress in accomplishing the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA) goals

This ordinance is expected to reduce carbon emissions in New York City by 6 million tons by 2030, the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road. By 2030, it will have created 26,700 green jobs and avoided 50 to 130 premature deaths and 150 hospital visits. In addition, LL97 will enhance the air quality in New York City, shielding residents from dangerous pollution- related to asthma, emphysema, and other health problems. If no action is taken to enhance the efficiency of their building, the City predicts that 20–25 percent of structures will exceed their emission limitations in 2024. The Buildings Department may impose fines for failure to comply with the legislation in addition to the civil penalties stipulated in Local Law 97.

Although Local Law 97 (LL97) does not take effect until 2024, decisions made now will significantly impact buildings’ capacity to comply with the law. Given the law’s long-term capital planning requirements, building decision-makers need to know immediately if the law applies to their structures and, if so, what alternative compliance pathways are open to them. Building decision-makers can also coordinate compliance with routine replacement or refinancing cycles.

Local Law 87 and Local Law 97 Synergies

It's important to note that Local Law 87 applies to buildings 50,000 square feet or more, whereas Local Law 97 applies to buildings 25,000 square feet or more. Buildings 50,000 square feet and over are subject to both. A Local Law 87 audit should serve as a road map for achieving the carbon emissions objectives set out in Local Law 97. Furthermore, if done properly, the Local Law 87-mandated retro-commissioning should assist in capturing cheap carbon reductions. 

There is some overlap between the mandatory retro-commissioning requirements in Local Law 87 and the prescriptive provisions in Local Law 97 for properties subject to rent regulation. Regardless of the size or kind of your building's occupants, such prescriptive actions are less expensive and have a quick effect on your building's operations, performance, and tenant comfort.

Since the scope of LL87 is limited to base building systems only, exclusions apply for subsystems owned by tenants, condominium unit owners, or a system in which tenants hold full maintenance responsibility or exclusively serve such leased space. Therefore, the performances of tenant subsystems are excluded from the building's overall performance analysis in the energy audit and retro-commissioning measures. This is where Local Law 97 expands the scope of LL87 to construct an increasingly robust decarbonization plan for NYC. 

LL87 sets the groundwork for the roadmap to LL97 compliance.

The low-cost carbon savings resulting from the actions taken from LL87 can apply to the energy-saving measures required in the long-term capital planning of LL97. However, as the scope of compliance expands under LL97, building owners and managers will need to take further action.

The expansions under Local Law 97 nuance landlord and tenant engagement in which the cooperation of tenants is imperative for the building's compliance. In future posts, we will dive deeper into tenant and landlord engagement. Sign up for our newsletter for updates! 

As a landlord or tenant, you can take action today and Book a Consultation at no charge to get started for your building! 

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