NYC Local Law 87 (LL87) & 97 (LL97) & Insulation Blankets

This post was updated October 2019

LL 87 & LL 97 Overview

On December 28, 2009, New York City enacted a law requiring energy audits & retro-commissioning of many buildings — local law 87. Local law 87 requires many large buildings to “undergo an energy audit every ten years, along with retro-commissioning, to “tune up” the building’s existing systems and ensure efficient operation.” The first set of audits were due in 2013.

On May 19, 2019, New York City enacted local law 97, "the most ambitious large-scale greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan in the country, requiring a 40 percent drop in GHG emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent drop by 2050." This law affects over 50,000 existing commercial and residential buildings in NYC.

LL 87 Compliance Summary

Large buildings that are not already LEED-certified, Energy-Star approved, or meet other exception criteria, must take three steps to comply.

1. Energy Audit
Building owners must undertake energy audits to identify energy savings opportunities. The audit covers all base building systems such as HVAC and electrical and must “identify reasonable measures and capital improvements that would result in energy use or cost reductions, the associated savings, cost of implementation, and simple payback period.” The audit must be at least a SHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit and must be performed or supervised by an approved and properly certified energy auditor.

2. Retro-commissioning
Building owners must also undertake retro-commissioning to correct deficiencies identified in the energy audit. Retro-commissioning must ensure that the building systems meet the criteria identified in section 28-308.3 of local law 87. The criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • HVAC calibration and sequencing of hot water and lighting settings
  • Cleaning and repair of pipes, HVAC equipment, boiler room components
  • Training of maintenance staff and documentation of  manuals and permits for HVAC, electrical, and plumbing equipment

The retro-commissioning team must include certain approved and properly certified professionals.

3. Energy Efficiency Report
To complete compliance, the building owner must file an energy efficiency report documenting the energy audit and retro-commission. The due date depends on the last digit of the tax block number; the first emergency efficiency reports (for tax blocks ending in ‘3’) are due in 2013.

NYC LL 87 due date years

Where Insulation Jackets Fit In

Criteria 2.8
Criterion 2.8 in section 28-308.3 of LL87 specifically requires insulation for certain components. Criteria 2.8 states, “Exposed hot and chilled water and steam pipes three (3) inches or greater in diameter with associated control valves are insulated in accordance with the standards of the New York city energy conservation code as in effect for new systems installed on or after July 1, 2010.”

Stay-in-place pipe insulation and pipe wraps may meet the requirements for some simple pipes. However, removable insulation jackets can be the superior choice for pipes and components that require regular maintenance. In addition, many valves and components of highly irregular shape cannot be insulated practically with stay-in-place insulation. Thermaxx provides hot pipe insulation jackets, chilled pipe insulation jackets, and a large variety of valve insulation jackets that can be produced to the exact requirements of those undertaking retro-commissioning efforts for LL87 compliance.

Steam Traps
Criterion 2.5 in section 28-308.3 of LL87 requires that, “Steam traps have been replaced as required to maintain efficient operation, if applicable.” We’ve written previously about the importance of properly monitoring steam traps in manufacturing plants. Large buildings reliant on steam heating also stand to benefit greatly from paying attention to steam traps and it seems as though NYC has recognized this in LL87.

--Local Law 87 is a significant piece of legislation to help New York City realize its Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, an aggressive sustainability program targeting the existing large city buildings projected to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 percent, have a net savings of $7 billion, and create roughly 17,800 construction-related jobs over 10 years.”

LL 97 Compliance Summary

LL 97 targets city buildings with a disproportionately high share of GHG (green house gas) emissions, typically buildings greater than 25,000 gross sq. feet by requiring a 40 percent drop in GHG emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent drop by 2050. With enforcement & penalties set to begin in 2024, "covered buildings" are expected to meet & report GHG benchmarks in five-year increments.

Where Insulation Jackets Fit In

In section § 28-321.2.2, LL 97 lists prescriptive energy conservation measures that shall be implemented by the covered building's owner where applicable by December 31, 2024. Two of the required listed measures include insulation:

  • Insulate all pipes for heating and/or hot water
  • Insulate the steam system condensate tank or water tank

Thermaxx Jackets offers removable insulation blanket solutions for pipes, valves, & many more components. If you need a heat loss survey in your building or facility to identify where you're wasting the most thermal energy, please contactThermaxx for more information.

Utility companies have been aggressively offering incentives for insulation retrofit projects, and many of our customers have used them to significantly reduce the cost and payback period of their investment. Learn more about how incentives can help you upgrade your steam system's removable insulation.


Thermaxx Jackets

Thermaxx Jackets was founded over 25 years ago with a single purpose: to help our clients save energy with removable insulation blankets when traditional stay-in-place insulation is not practical. Our dedication to this purpose has resulted in a long list of customers who have saved money thanks to Thermaxx Jackets! Combining expertise in heat loss, wireless monitoring, insulation design, and several other disciplines, we’ve become the #1 provider and fabricator of removable insulation jackets and covers. The Thermaxx Sales and Service teams are experienced and trained to provide clients with the most timely and cost-effective solution.