LL87 Audit Process

Overview of Local Law 87 NYC

Under the purview of Local Law 87 NYC, buildings larger than 50,000 square feet will be required to file an Energy Efficiency Report with the Department of Buildings, which includes details of the energy audit results and retro-commissioning measures.  An energy audit is an inspection, survey, analysis and report of energy flows to improve energy efficiency in a building.  It will study the base buildings systems, such as the building envelope, HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning), conveying systems, domestic hot water systems and, electrical and lighting systems.

According to Local Law 87 NYC, the building’s retro-commissioning can be performed up to four years prior to the due date, which for many properties starts in 2013.  The compliance date is determined by the last digit of building’s tax block number. If the block number ends in ‘3’ that indicates the report is due in 2013, similarly a number ending in ‘4’ would indicate 2014, and so on.  After filing the initial report on the designated due date, Local Law 87 NYC requires that the building files an energy efficiency report every 10 years.

ASHRAE Audit Levels

Local Law 87 NYC requires at the minimum an ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Level 2 Audit.

A Level 1 audit includes a preliminary building energy consumption benchmarking, and then a site visit which provide system optimization opportunities. It is the most expedient type of energy analysis and will result in only a high-level energy assessment of the building’s energy use, but no costs analysis is performed at this level.

A Level 2 audit is a more detailed energy audit that not only determines simple measures that offer quicker paybacks, but also more capital-intensive measures.  Beginning with the analysis of a building’s past energy bills, the investigation of the current energy performance is undertaken. It will provide a range of savings and costs for the energy measures, and outline the next steps for energy-efficient practices. This is the minimum level of energy analysis required by Local Law 87 NYC.

A Level 3 audit is the highest investment-grade audit. It will provide a granular analysis of energy inputs and outputs in a building, evaluate the building envelope to ensure heating and cooling optimization, and provide a list of energy conservation measures (ECMs) that will allow your facility to attain higher energy efficiency. As part of a Level 3 audit, data logging equipment will be used to record humidity, temperatures and the hours of operation of major equipment, systems and controls. The goal is to determine how much each ECM will cost, and offer economic analyses that provide useful information when deciding whether to take on a project or not. The most common economic measure we present is the simple payback, which calculates how long it will take for the ECM to pay for itself. We also provide an ROI analysis and annual cash flow analysis. For this reason, Associated Renewable recommends a Level 3 audit to all clients that require a deeper-level analysis of their energy saving measures and also greater access to cost-sharing incentives for equipment upgrades, which may be identified during Local Law 87 NYC compliance.


Retro-Commissioning, RCx, is a detailed look at how well HVAC and lighting controls are actually working. The energy conservation measures (ECMs) uncovered during Retro-commissioning  typically involve reprogramming controls, repairing dusty dampers, and replacing faulty actuators, valves, variable speed drives and sensors. Building retro-commissioning will also take a thorough look at how building operators are using the controls, since poor operational procedures usually lead to energy waste. ECMs discovered typically are low cost or no cost measures. The purpose of retro-commissioning is to optimize existing system performance through fine-tuning and upgrades rather than relying on major equipment replacement (which energy audits sometimes do).

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommends that each analysis should seek to follow an outline such as the following: 1) goals of analysis 2) questions be answered 3) facility definition and boundaries 4) analysis of audit level 5) estimated budget 6) site visit and monitoring period date 7) basic building data (description and function) and 8) pre-existing performance date.

Applying for Incentives for Local Law 87 NYC

Buildings can take advantage of incentives available for cost-sharing of energy efficiency improvements through NYSERDA and Con Edison’s rebates, grants and loans programs. After engaging in an audit, Associated Renewable’s dedicated Grants Services team will provide you with a list of applicable grants and incentives that will reduce the sticker price of your energy efficiency projects. The team will conduct all due diligence on incentives to make sure that you are obtain the fair share of incentives applicable to your facilities.

Complying early with Local Law 87 NYC is important for gaining access to limited funding in the form of rebates, grants and incentives appropriated by utilities, state agencies and local or federal governments.

To learn in detail about the incentives available for Local Law 87 NYC auditing and retro-commissioning please visit the Grants and Rebates sections of this website.

Our Process

At Associated Renewable, our Energy Solutions team has proven and diverse experience ranging in energy systems analysis, mechanical and electrical engineering to energy efficiency, HVAC optimization building energy management and energy analysis. By engaging our team to conduct an energy audit and retro-commissioning for your building, you can be sure that you are receiving high-end technical analysis of your facility’s energy usage. Our team will document all the savings identified and actions taken as a result of the energy audit required for Local Law 87 NYC compliance.