Ira Meister on Benefits for Complying Early on Local Law 87

While the deadline is tight for owners and property managers to comply with Local Law 87 in 2013 which would extend the deadline for the next mandated auditing and retro-commissioning, there are other benefits for complying early, says Ira Meister, President and CEO of Matthew Adam Properties Inc., one of New York’s premier management firms.

To encourage early compliance with the law, Meister says, the legislation created an incentive where any building completing the audit and retro-commissioning by the end of 2013 could postpone another round of auditing for 10 years after the date assigned. Reports are required based on the last digit of the tax block number. For example, buildings with the last digit of 3 are required to file in 2013, with 6, in 2016. The later a building is required to file, the more advantageous it is to comply in 2013. Those buildings whose tax block number is 2, would be required to file in 2022. But, if they comply in 2013, the next mandated compliance period would not be until 2032.

The heating requirements of the re-commissioning require analysis be conducted during the heating season, which ends in March, creating a tight deadline, says Brian King, president and CEO, Ecological LLC, an environmental sustainability company.

However, further motivation to file early, Meister says, is provided by incentives offered by NYSERDA and other groups to improve the energy use in buildings. Changes to the incentives or a lack of funds may make them unavailable in future years, says King.

The legislation requires large buildings to conduct an energy audit every 10 years as well as a retro-commissioning study. “The energy audit is to identify areas where energy and cost savings could be implemented, though not mandated,” Meister says. The retro-commissioning requires that building systems be at performance capabilities. If not, Meister points out, corrective measures are needed.

Buildings required to comply are those larger than 50,000 gross square feet, or two or more buildings on the same tax lot that comprise more than 100,000 gross square feet, as well as two or more condominiums governed by the same board that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet.

Local Law 87 is part of a package of four laws called the “Greener, Greater Buildings Plan,” enacted in 2009 to improve the energy and water efficiency of the city’s largest buildings.

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