If a building wants to reduce its energy footprint and costs, conducting an energy assessment or audit – and introducing energy efficient fixes – offers cost-saving sense. Of course, Local Law 87 ( LL87) requires that every large building perform an energy audit, but L+M Energy takes that assessment several steps further, in both completeness and the delivery of greater savings.
We first look at all of the energy-related details, from the kinds of light bulbs used in hallways to window air leaks and advancements in relevant energy technology in order to produce a meticulous report. We then can assist you in implementing the energy efficient measures with the same attention to detail. The result is up to 40% reduction in energy costs and an up-to-date-energy profile for the building.
This speedy investigation focuses on a single energy challenge and the cost saving solution. An example is the review of the heating system to verify its current condition and assess the benefits of replacing the system vs. maintaining it. The study takes in consideration the maintenance history, fuel costs, existing vs. new system efficiency, and other factors.
Energy Audits: The Basics
An energy audit is a study of the building’s energy consuming systems. It includes a building survey of systems and operations, breakdown of energy sources and end use, and identification of energy efficiency measures for each energy system. It also includes the range of savings and costs for the energy efficiency measures, a spotlight on operational discrepancies, and the setting of priorities for limited resources.
Energy Audits: Level 1
Energy audits vary in depth, depending on needs of the building. Per industry standards, there are three types of audits:
Level 1 – Walk-Through Analysis/Preliminary Audit
The Level 1 audit involves minimal interviews, a brief review of facility utility bills and other operating data, and a walk-through of the facility, all geared toward the identification of glaring areas of energy waste or inefficiency. We prepare a preliminary energy use analysis and a report detailing low-cost/no-cost measures and potential capital improvements for further study. With the focus on major problem areas, we then describe corrective measures and provide quick estimates of implementation costs, potential operating cost savings, and simple payback periods.
Energy Audits: Levels 2 and 3
Level 2 – Energy Survey and Analysis Audit
This audit includes the findings of Level 1 along with in-depth energy calculations and financial analysis of proposed energy efficiency measures. Our detailed analysis includes a Life Cycle Cost Analysis which is a review of two to three years of utility bills to determine the utility cost including the demand charges. Finally, we identify all energy conservation measures that work for the building given its operating parameters.
Level 3 – Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications
This level of engineering analysis focuses on the potential capital-intensive projects identified in the Level 2 analysis and involves more detailed field data gathering as well as a more rigorous engineering analysis. For more accurate results, this level also includes software analysis.
Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning
A quality assurance process for new construction projects, commissioning begins with pre-design and continues through design, construction, and early operation. It is ensures that building systems and equipment have been designed, installed, and tested to perform in accordance with the design intent.
Retro-commissioning is a systematic process for identifying and implementing building operational and maintenance improvements to ensure continued good performance. It focuses on operations and maintenance improvements and diagnostic testing, although needed capital improvements may be identified and recommended through the process.
Energy Efficiency Report: Local Law 87
Local Law 87 mandates that buildings over 50,000 gross square feet undergo periodic energy audit and retro-commissioning measures. The intent is to inform owners of their energy consumption through energy audits, and retro-commissioning.
In addition to benchmarking annual energy and water consumption, energy audits and retro-commissioning will give building owners a robust understanding of their buildings’ performance, eventually shifting the market towards increasingly efficient, high-performing buildings.
In summary, LL87’s energy audit and retro-commissioning process accomplishes the following:
- Determining if a building needs to comply, and what year it is due.
- Conducting an energy audit and retro-commissioning of base building systems and complete an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) electronically.
- Submitting the EER once every ten years to NYC by December 31.
Benchmarking (Local Laws 84 and 133)
In accordance with the NYC Benchmarking Law, we’ll assist owners and managers of large buildings in the annual measurement of their energy and water consumption using a process called benchmarking. The law requires owners to enter their yearly energy and water use in the EPA’s online tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®. Owners can then use the tool to submit data to the City. Our data informs owners about a building’s energy and water consumption compared to similar buildings and tracks progress yearly to help in energy efficiency planning.
Benchmarking data is also disclosed publicly, analyzed in reports, visualized in the NYC Energy and Water Performance Map, included in energy efficiency policy development and used to develop free resources such as the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and Community Retrofit NYC to help building owners save energy and money.
Lighting Upgrades and Sub-metering (Local Law 88)
Lighting in commercial, institutional and civic buildings accounts for almost 18 percent of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in New York City buildings. Employing dramatic improvements in lighting technology, we can help significantly reduce energy consumption by installing more efficient lighting systems and realize major cost savings.
Many buildings depend on a single meter to monitor electricity consumption. Which means that non-residential tenants are billed a standard rate regardless of their actual consumption. They would likely reduce their energy consumption if energy use information was available. Local Law 88 of 2009 (LL88), and its subsequent expansions with Local Laws 132 and 134 of 2016 are part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). They bring together requirements for both lighting upgrades and sub-metering that will help buildings achieve significant energy savings.
The Climate Mobilization Act
L+M can help you meet the demanding requirements of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA) which represents New York City’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. Central to CMA is Local Law 97 which places emission limits on New York City’s large commercial and residential buildings. The bill applies to buildings 25,000 square feet and larger as well as to two or more buildings on the same tax lot which together exceed 50,000 square feet.
Excluded are houses of worship, buildings with one or more rent-regulated units, and other forms of affordable housing. The Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance will be implementing and enforcing CMA policies.
Local Law 97 (LL97) outlines two introductory compliance phases, with an initial period of 2024-2029. Initial compliance limits are fairly rigid, and are set to target those New York City buildings with the highest emission intensity levels.
How L+M Helps with CMA Compliance
L+M can provide the building with a LL97 Assessment to show the building where it is standing in term of annual fines (Based on Latest Benchmarking results) and what steps needs to be taken to reach 2024 without any penalties.
The LL97 Assessment Report comes in two levels:
- Level I: Simple manual calculations that guarantee Zero Penalty based on the recommended items. Recommendations will be restricted to the products selected to guarantee the results.
- Level II: Full system energy modeling aimed toward providing the client with multiple options to achieve the ZERO penalty zone. The client will be provided with the model and different options to achieve the required results. The model will allow the client to see multiple options per system, the cost associated with each option, and the overall effect on the building.
CMA Second Compliance Period Time Limits
Limits for the second compliance period of 2030-2034, meanwhile, are in line with the City’s interim emissions reduction goal of 40% by 2030. The Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance will have some discretion in determining the compliance path and the carbon calculation process through the rulemaking process, but the 40% reduction limit is explicit in the legislation, with a requirement that any adjustments to emissions limits be at least as stringent as those laid out in the bill.
Other CMA Local Laws
CMA also includes:
- Local Laws 92 & 94 – Green Roofs & Solar PV: Requiring green roofs solar PV systems on certain new construction and renovation projects.
- Local Law 95 – Building Labeling: Adjusting metrics used for letter grades assessing building energy performance.
- Local Law 96 – PACE: Establishing clean energy financing tools for building owners (more on this below).
- Local Law 98 – Wind Energy: Obliging the Department of Buildings to include wind energy generation in its toolbox of renewable energy technologies.
Helping building owners navigate this evolving regulatory landscape are:
- NYC Retrofit Accelerator, which supports owners’ efforts to improve their buildings’ energy efficiency
- NYSERDA at the state level, which has programs that put buildings on the path to energy efficiency
- The Building Energy Exchange, which ensures that owners have a thorough understanding of options to improve their buildings’ energy usage profiles.