Alert: Stricter Enforcement Means Lengthier LL87/ENERGY STAR Process

Manhattan's buildings reflections  Photo: Emmanuel Milou, Creative Commons, Some Rights Reserved
Manhattan’s buildings reflections
Photo: Emmanuel Milou, Creative Commons, Some Rights Reserved

Attention property managers. Are you due to file your LL87 (2009) energy audit this year? Are you planning to get an ENERGY STAR certification for your building? If you answered yes to either question, you must begin the process by spring at the latest.

Starting this year, you will need to file more extensive documentation than in prior years.  Particularly in the area of Retro-Commissioning, there are more filing requirements than stated in the original law (see FAQs).

“In 2013, buildings could begin the process close to the filing date.  Now, you really need to plan months in advance.  Poor or incomplete data could result in your application being rejected,” says Sheila Sweeney, Great Forest’s director of energy services.

For buildings with many ‘unknowns,’ such as the condition of the steam distribution system, this is a lengthy process.”

Nine Out Of Ten Buildings…

In related news, the Department of Buildings has also tightened its enforcement of data quality in filings required under the Energy Code.  While the Greener, Greater NY Legislation places a strong emphasis on efficient new construction, the City needs a clear view of the efficiency of older building stock via LL87 (2009) so that the relative performance of new buildings can be more closely tracked.

In January 2014, when the DOB began to audit documents from developers, they found that nine out of ten buildings failed to meet the energy code, and that applications were filled with a “mind boggling” number of errors.

While compliance numbers have been increasing over the years, the DOB is ramping up enforcement.

“We’re very serious about this, and are trying to educate the industry on what is required,” says Gina Bocra, chief sustainability officer at the DOB.

So How Much Time Do You Need?

We recommend you begin about nine months before filing.  This gives your engineers time to conduct your energy audit, which includes a physical inspection of your building’s equipment, gather billing and other necessary data, with enough time for review.

Combine Data Collection Process

Both the LL87 and ENERGY STAR filings require verifying the same utility usage data.  This means that with a little planning, you may be able to save money and effort by combining the data collection processes. NOTE: Certain other qualifying ASHRAE level II or III audits of the base building systems can be “held” for a certain period of time to help document LL87 filings in future years.

So start preparing now.  Talk to your sustainability consultant or call Great Forest.  We can help coordinate and navigate the process for you.

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