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An energy audit indicates the energy efficiency of a building after conducting an inspection, survey & analysis, along with curating a report of energy flows to improve the energy efficiency. It involves studying the base building systems- building envelope, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning), conveying systems, domestic hot water systems, electrical and lighting systems, etc.
Retro-commissioning however, is a thorough evaluation of how optimally HVAC and lighting controls are actually functioning.
Commercial buildings in the US consume 39% of America’s energy and 68% of its electricity. They further emit 38% of the carbon dioxide. Studies also show that lightning, HVAC, and office equipment are responsible for most of the energy consumption in a typical building, which is good news for these are readily manageable.
Local Law 87 NYC explicitly mentions that the compliance date is determined by the last digit of the buildings’ tax block numbers. If the block number ends with 3, the report is due 2013; similarly, a number ending in 4 will indicate 2014 as the due date, and so on. Post filing the initial report on the due date, Local Law 87 NYC demands that the building files an ‘energy-efficient report’ every 10 years. However, non-submission of the same will automatically indicate its violation, which will further imply a fine of $3,000 in the first year & $5,000 every year after.
- The building has received an EPA Energy Star label for 2/3 years before the audit due date
-The building has received LEED certification for existing buildings within 4 years before the audit due date.
Navigating the compliance landscape can most understandably seem overwhelming, all the more with regard to finding an expert. Here’s a list of all the questions you should ask along with the kind of answers you should expect:-
1. How long have you been providing LL87 services?
Ideally, you should look for people who have around 5 years of experience as that inevitably mandates a deep understanding of the subject - how it’s evolved, current processes, actionable ideas, etc.
2. How quickly can you get the energy audit & retro-commissioning done?
Be wary of providers that promise speed. It takes much longer than a mere couple of weeks to comprehensively complete the study. We recommend a safe time of 6 months.
3. Does your staff include Professional Engineer (PE) and/or registered architects?
The amendment done to the LL87 explicitly requires one as all the reports need to be ultimately signed off by them.
4. What is your approach to energy auditing and retro-commissioning?
An experienced provider looks at the building interconnectedly - all of the building's systems, are dynamic as a part of a living being. That is, improving one aspect inherently impacts the other. No changes must be made in isolation.