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Is Your Building Clean?

11/10/2020 | By: Morrell I. Berkowitz, Esq.| GDB 2020 Fall Newsletter
As we are approaching the end of 2020, boards, managing agents, and owners should ensure that they are in compliance with Local Law 87, which requires, among other things, “energy audits” and “retro-commissioning of base building systems” that affect virtually every apartment building in New York City, whether a cooperative, condominium or rental.  This ordinance has broad-ranging requirements affecting every significant building system, specific reporting requirements, and financial penalties for failure to comply.

Your building’s tax block number determines when compliance is due.
 
First, some definitions:
                                                              
BASE BUILDING SYSTEMS. The systems or subsystems of a building that use energy and/or impact energy consumption including:
1. The building envelope.
2. The HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning) systems.
3. Conveying systems.
4. Domestic hot water systems.
5. Electrical and lighting systems.
 
COVERED BUILDING. As it appears in the records of the department of finance: (i) a building that exceeds 50,000 gross square feet, (ii) two or more buildings on the same tax lot that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet, or (iii) two or more buildings held in the condominium form of ownership that are governed by the same board of managers and that together exceed 100,000 gross square feet.
 
ENERGY AUDIT. A systematic process of identifying and developing modifications and improvements of the base building systems, including but not limited to alterations of such systems and the installation of new equipment, insulation or other generally recognized energy efficiency technologies to optimize energy performance of the building and achieve energy savings.
 
ENERGY EFFICIENCY REPORT (“EER”) is required to be filed in accordance with the following schedule:
Last digit of tax block number Year first EER is due
 
 Year next EER is due
 
  0
 
2020
 
 
2020
 
  1
 
2021
 
 
2021
 
  2
 
2022
 
 
2022
 
  3
 
2013
 
 
2023
 
   4
 
2014
 
 
2024
 
   5
 
2015
 
 
2025
 
   6
 
2016
 
 
2026
 
   7
 
2017
 
 
2027
 
   8
 
2018
 
 
2028
 
   9
 
2019
 
 
2029
 

 




 
  • Must be filed between January 1 and December 31 of that calendar year
  • Must be filed between January 1 and December 31 of every 10th calendar year

For example, December 2020 is the deadline to file an EER if your building’s tax block ends in “0”.  December 2020 is also the deadline by which your building’s energy audit and retro-commissioning must be completed if your building’s tax block ends in “6” (i.e., 4 years from the filing of the EER in 2016).

Non-compliance with the ordinance has penalties.  Failure to file an EER is a major (Class 2) violation with a penalty of $3,000 in the first year, and $5,000 each additional year until the EER is submitted. 

In addition, buildings over 25,000 square feet are required, pursuant to Local Law 33, enacted in 2018, as amended in 2019 per Local Law 95, to post “energy efficiency scores and grades”, in a “conspicuous location near each public entrance to such building”. Those grades and scores are obtained from the N.Y.C. Department of Buildings.

Needless to say, it is urgent that any owner or building manager of a covered building should immediately consult with a qualified engineer to ascertain whether required inspection, analyses, and reports have been duly filed.  Consultation with other professionals such as attorneys and accountants is also advisable, as full compliance with the requirements of this law will involve architectural, financial, and legal issues.

Our firm stands ready to assist with the multiple issues that will result from this all-encompassing law. For further questions, please contact us.