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New York City is trying to clean itself up and diminish much of its carbon footprint. In order to do that, a number of local laws have been passed in recent years that transform how large buildings are constructed, maintained, and retrofitted. While HVAC is not the only building system covered in the scope of many of these laws, it’s important to work with dedicated HVAC experts to ensure that you avoid fines and that your building is made as efficient as possible (saving money in the process).

A Range of HVAC Code Requirements

Three of these local laws have different requirements, but in the end all serve a similar purpose. Local Law 87 imposes reporting and retrofitting requirements on buildings of a certain size, Local Law 97 mandates energy efficiency upgrades that lift up the worst performers in the city, and Local Law 196 aims to improve the safety of construction and demolition sites throughout the city.

Local Law 87

Local Law 87 is designed to improve existing buildings and essentially includes two steps: an Energy Efficiency Report (EER) and, depending on the results of that report, a retro-commissioning process.

First, it’s important to note that LL87 does not impact every property in the city. Single buildings of over 50,000 square feet and properties with multiple buildings totaling over 100,000 square feet are subject to an energy audit and retro-commissioning every 10 years. The Energy Efficiency Report must be compiled and sent to the NYC Department of buildings on December 31 of a building’s designated reporting year.

Energy Audit – An analysis of a building’s equipment and energy consumption and expenses for the past two years. This process determines which steps need to be taken in the retro-commissioning phase to ensure the building is compliant. 

Next, equipment inefficiencies and other problems are diagnosed and then repaired. Afterward, all documentation and certifications can be gathered and submitted to the city.

Local Law 97

The goal of Local Law 97 is to reduce emissions by 80% by the year 2050. This goal rests on a multi-phase process that improves the worst-performing buildings first, then increases standards over the coming years.

First, roughly 20% of buildings (generally older or with low energy efficiency) will go through a retrofitting process between 2024 and 2029. By 2030, up to 75% of buildings over 25,000 square feet will be subject to fines unless appropriately retrofitted.

It is also important to note that different building types will have different compliance requirements. Hospitals and religious institutions have different standards than commercial or industrial facilities.

Local Law 196

Local Law 196 is aimed at reducing injuries on construction and demolition sites. New construction is certainly no stranger in New York City.

NYC Local Law 196 was signed in 2017 to improve the safety of construction and demolition sites around the city. Local Law 196, OSHA, and other safety regulations were put in place to minimize injury. The law works through what are essentially layers of required training. Coming up in 2020, the final deadline will hit.

As a quick reminder, let’s go through some of the major milestones of the legislation. At its base level, LL 196 went into effect in early 2018 and mandated that all construction and demolition workers, as well as their site supervisors, received 10 hours of safety training. 

The next deadline just passed on Dec. 1, 2019, mandated that workers and site supervisors earn and carry a Site Safety Training (SST) card. To earn this card, workers were required to attend 30 hours of training while site supervisors were required to hit 62 hours.

The final deadline will arrive on Sept. 1, 2020, and mandates that workers acquire much more training.

Outside of avoiding fines, complying with these new rules is virtually guaranteed to have benefits for energy costs. Avoiding fines, increasing environmental benefit, and/or improving your bottom line are all pros of complying with these regulations.

How React Industries Can Help

We’re not only one of the most effective, knowledgeable, and efficient HVAC teams in the region today, but we also offer expertise to help building owners maintain compliance. No one is going to pretend that regulatory compliance isn’t often a hassle, but it comes with the territory.

If you own or manage a large facility in New York City, give us a call today.