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NYC Sustainability Laws

NYC Local Law 87

NYC Local Law 84/133 Benchmarking

  • All buildings over 25,000 SqFt must have an annual Benchmarking
  • Involves gathering all building energy usage (Electric, Natural Gas, Oil) including tenant aggregate
  • A building energy model is created using a tool from the US Department of Energy (DOE) called Portfolio Manger
  • Occupancies, building size, heating and air conditioning are defined in Portfolio Manager
  • The building is then benchmarked and scored
  • Comparisons are made using a matrix to similar sized buidings
  • Greenhouse gas emissions in metric tons of CO2 is calculated
  • Output is used in determining a building's Energy Letter Grade as per NYC Local Law 95
  • Failure to file has fines of $500 per quarter

NYC Local Law 87 Energy Audits and Retro-commissioning

Energy Audits

  • All buildings over 50,000 SqFt must file every ten years based on the last digit of their block number corresponding with calendar year
  • The first part is the Energy Audit which is a full building energy study of each building system
  • Must be performed to ASHRAE Standard 211-Commercial Building Energy Audits
  • Building systems include the envelope (walls, roof, doors, windows), lighting, heating, hot water, air conditioning and ventilation systems
  • Data on building systems is gathered and a building energy model is created to simulate the building's energy performance
  • The building energy model is calibrated to the actual building energy usage that is benchmarked
  • Energy measures are developed and the savings is deducted from the calibrated baseline energy model
  • A feasibility study is produced to determine which energy measures are viable for implementation


  • The second part is the Retro-commissioning which is a tuning of building systems
  • Retro-commissioning is mandatory and deficiencies must be corrected
  • Must be performed to NEBB Standard 120-Technical Retro-commmissioning of Existing Buildings
  • Functional Performance Testing is applied to building systems
  • Building systems are tested to design performance
  • Sequences of operation are tested
  • Controls and sensors are tested for calibration

Violations for not complying with Local Law 87 is $3,000 the first year and $5,000 each following year.

New requirement mandates that a Registered Design Professional (NYS Licensed Professional Engineer, PE or NYS Registered Architect, RA)  oversee and file the Local Law 87 Energy Audit.  This requirement is being phased in gradually.

NYC Local Law 88 Lighting and Sub-Meters

  • All buildings over 25,000 SqFt must convert lighting to LED by 2025
  • Tenants must have electric sub-meters by 2025
  • A NYS Licensed Professional Engineer, PE is required to document and file compliance

NYC Local Law 95 Building Energy Efficiency Grades

  • All buildings over 25,000 SqFt will receive an Energy Efficiency Grade
  • The grade will have to be displayed in a prominent location on the building starting in 2020
  • The grades will be based on the Energy Star Scores generated from Portfolio Manager when submitted for benchmarking under NYC Local Law 84/133
  • A>85;   B>70;  C>55;  D is anything below 55.  

NYC Local Law 96 Building Energy Improvement Financing

  • NYC to offer building energy financing as part of the Climate Mobilization Act, which is a series of NYC Local Laws aimed at sustainability
  • The new financing plan is also known as PACE for Property Assessed Clean Energy Program

NYC Local Law 97 Carbon Emissions

  • Starting in 2025 every building over 25,000 SqFt will have limits for carbon emissions based on occupancy class.  Exceeding the limits will result in a penalty which is levied at $268 per mtCO2e.  
  • An annual filing by a Licensed Design Professional (NYS Professional Engineer, PE or NYC Registered Architect, RA) is required
  • Current NYC Benchmarking Laws will Likely be Rolled into NYC Local Law 97