Local Law 87

Download the Local Law 87 Guide & Whitepaper

Overview of NYC Local Law 87

Local Law 87 (LL87) is part of New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) that was signed into effect by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in December 2009 with the goal of tackling energy efficiency issues in buildings with large occupancy levels. NYC Local Law87 mandates that all buildings having 50,000 square feet or more of covered space undergo an energy audit every 10 years as well as retro-commissioning. This requirement also applies to two or more buildings, on the same tax lot or condo board, that together exceed 100,000 square feet.

What is an Energy Audit?

An energy audit begins with a systematic examination of a building’s utility bills from the past year. Subsequently, data is gathered from energy-using mechanisms such as heating equipment, boilers, chillers, electrical and lighting systems, building thermal envelopes, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. These constitute a building’s base systems and represent the maximum potential for energy saving and cost curtailment. The energy audit (a minimum of Level II technical study is required) will identify all viable measures and capital improvements relating to energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.

What Do You Need to Do Before Next Year (2013)?

Beginning in 2013, buildings in New York City will need to start filing their energy efficiency reports to ensure compliance with LL87. If your building’s tax block number ends in ‘3’, this is what your plan of action should be at least 12-18* months in advance:

  • Find a qualified & Department-authorized auditor to conduct an ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit of building base systems,
  • Conduct Retro-Commissioning of building base systems to rectify deficiencies highlighted in the Audit, and
  • Submit an Energy Efficiency Report verifying the findings of both the Energy Audit & Retro-Commissioning to the Department of Buildings

*The Urban Green Council suggests that properties start auditing at least a year prior and begin retro-commissioning at least 12-18 months before they are due to “incorporate time to correct any deficiencies or non-compliance issues”.


Your compliance year is determined by the last digit of the Building Block & Lot (BBL) number:

Compliance Year











Last Digit of Tax Block












What does Local Law 87 Compliance Entail?

NYC Local Law 87 mandates that energy audits can only be conducted by independent, certified auditors who have authorization from the department. The minimal level of energy audit required for compliance is an ASHRAE Level 2 audit. Furthermore, in accordance with LL87 requirements, New York City’s property owners and managers must file an Energy Efficiency Report with the Department of Buildings. Information on actions taken after the energy audit and retro-commissioning will be submitted in this report, which is due every 10 years after the initial submission, beginning in 2013. The first batch of energy audit and retro-commissioning reports is due in 2013 for all qualifying buildings. Property owners and managers can determine the due date for filing from the last digit of a building’s tax block number. For instance, if the last digit of a building’s tax block is 4, its Energy Efficiency Report must be filed with the department by the year 2014. New York City properties that fail to comply by the set due date will be faced with substantial financial penalties, which compound after the initial year of non-compliance.

What is Retro-Commissioning?

Along with the energy audit, NYC Local Law 87 requires retro-commissioning measures also be conducted and documented in the Energy Efficiency Report. Retro-commissioning of building base systems involves diagnostic monitoring, functional upgrading, and repairing of defects in existing systems. The goal is to optimize the performance of existing controls, sensors, valves, and systems without any reliance on complete replacement. While energy audits may result in the identification of complex problems in a building’s optimal functionality, retro-commissioning is the process that will ensure that systems and controls are upgraded for higher energy efficiency. As with energy audits, retro-commissioning of building base systems must be completed by an independent, certified or licensed agent.

The retro-commissioning report must include information regarding the project team, building data, testing protocol, master list of findings, and a catalogue of deficiencies corrected. LL87 also mandates that building owners conduct retro-commissioning no more than 4 years prior to the date that the Energy Efficiency Report is filed with the Department of Buildings. Certain properties are exempt from the retro-commissioning requirement under Local Law 87, including LEED-certified Existing Buildings that earn a point for Existing Building Commissioning within two years of filing an Energy Efficiency Report.

Why is it Important to Comply with LL87?

Building owners and managers that fail to comply with the due dates for filing energy efficiency reports may face non-compliance penalties that are compounded after the initial year of default. They may also face enforcement actions and even court dealings. Failure to submit an Energy Efficiency Report will be regarded as a Class 2 violation, which may result in a fine of $3,000 for the first year and, will compound with each additional non-compliant year until the Energy Efficiency Report is submitted. Furthermore, the Department of Buildings will not accept a report if outstanding fines have not been paid. 


Certain exemptions can apply to the Local Law 87 (LL87) energy audit and retro-commissioning requirements.

To read in detail about properties that are exempt from auditing and retro-commissioning, please visit the Exemptions section of this website.

Early Compliance Option

There are many benefits to properties that comply early and submit energy efficiency report before the year’s end in 2013. In addition to skipping their first reporting year, they will have better access to utility and/or tax incentives that are awarded on a first come first serve basis. By complying early, building owners will ensure that improvements yield higher energy savings and reduce energy costs earlier in the LL87 compliance schedule. With greater access to incentives, grants and rebates that can reduce the cost of a technical feasibility study by up to 50%*, you can be proactive in seeing your energy efficiency goals through to the end.

For details on funding of Local Law 87 projects or applying for grantsrebates and other incentives, please contact our Energy Solutions team at (212) 658-0062.


*Con Edison pays up to 50% of costs (capped at $67,000) for a technical feasibility study for potential electric and gas efficiency measures under their Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Custom programs.