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Energy Code: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about the City's Energy Code broken down by chapter.

Title 28 

Question: I have been asked to legalize a building, which has rooftop HVAC units installed that were installed five years ago. They were efficient then, but do not meet today’s NYCECC standards. What should I do? 

Answer: In accordance with §28-104.2.4, the HVAC units must be brought into compliance with the current edition of the Energy Code in effect at the time of filing the application to legalize the units.

Question: I have an alteration 1 application to add a vertical enlargement to a home and to legalize an earlier horizontal enlargement. How should I handle this for the NYCECC compliance? The walls are not insulated nor are the windows. The doors are rated for today’s NYCECC standards. 

Answer: In accordance with §28-104.2.4, the thermal enclosure of the unpermitted enlargement must be insulated and thermal fenestration assemblies installed according to the values required for new construction, either on the exterior or the interior. Exceptions in Section ECC 101.4.3 do not apply. 

Chapter 1: Administration

Note: The following four questions can all be answered by the same answer

Question: If I am doing a simple apartment renovation, where I am not touching the exterior wall, any lighting, heating, air conditioning, hot water equipment or the electric meter, do I need to state on the PW1 form and in my drawings that my application complies with the NYCECC?

Answer: Yes. On the PW1 form in Section 10, you need to check compliance. You should then address the specific scope of your work in your energy analysis. We recommend that you use the tabular aAnalysis format for this, see sample below. If no work actually needs to comply with the NYCECC, you can enter "NA" in the column marked "Proposed Values" and "NA" in the column marked "Prescriptive Values" and provide the citation for the provision that allows you to not comply where applicable. You will also be required to submit a completed TR8 form for plan approval. You can simply check "No" to all lines, if appropriate, sign and seal the form and submit it with your drawings. The form will not be required for permit or sign-off. Se the Information about Forms page for more information.  

ENERGY ANALYSIS
Climate Zone 4A – NYCECC Chapter 5 A2 Application to renovate apartment

Item Description

Proposed Design Value

Code Prescriptive Value and Citation

Supporting Documentation

Apartment #7A renovation to move interior partition and create new bathroom and smaller closet – exterior wall, HVAC, SWH are not affected

NA

NA

A-101.00

Question: If I am doing façade work related to Local Law 11 requirements and am repointing or replacing bricks here and there, do I need to state on the PW1 and in my drawings that my application complies with the NYCECC?

Answer: Yes. On the PW1 form in Section 10, you need to check compliance. You should then address the specific scope of your work in your energy analysis. We recommend that you use the tabular aAnalysis format for this, see sample below. If no work actually needs to comply with the NYCECC, you can enter "NA" in the column marked "Proposed Values" and "NA" in the column marked "Prescriptive Values" and provide the citation for the provision that allows you to not comply where applicable. You will also be required to submit a completed TR8 form for plan approval. You can simply check "No" to all lines, if appropriate, sign and seal the form and submit it with your drawings. The form will not be required for permit or sign-off. Se the Information about Forms page for more information.  

ENERGY ANALYSIS
Climate Zone 4A – NYCECC Chapter 5 A2 Application to perform Local Law 11 work

Item Description

Proposed Design Value

Code Prescriptive Value and Citation

Supporting Documentation

Brick replacement and repointing in brick and CMU wall with 2” air gap, for Local Law 11 compliance – greatest area of brick replacement is 20 SF

NA – Insulation would block air circulation in cavity, creating moisture problems leading to differential expansion and contraction (cracking) and potentially mold

I have determined that work should not include insulation in accordance with Section ECC 101.4.3

A-200.00

Question: If I am replacing my roofing but not stripping the existing roofing back to the deck or insulation, do I need to state on the PW1 and in my drawings that my application complies with the NYCECC?

Answer: Yes. On the PW1 form in Section 10, you need to check compliance. You should then address the specific scope of your work in your energy analysis. We recommend that you use the tabular aAnalysis format for this, see sample below. If no work actually needs to comply with the NYCECC, you can enter "NA" in the column marked "Proposed Values" and "NA" in the column marked "Prescriptive Values" and provide the citation for the provision that allows you to not comply where applicable. You will also be required to submit a completed TR8 form for plan approval. You can simply check "No" to all lines, if appropriate, sign and seal the form and submit it with your drawings. The form will not be required for permit or sign-off. Se the Information about Forms page for more information.  

ENERGY ANALYSIS
Climate Zone 4A – NYCECC Chapter 5 A2 Application to perform roof replacement

Item Description

Proposed Design Value

Code Prescriptive Value and Citation

Supporting Documentation

Roof replacement – neither deck nor insulation will be exposed

NA

No insulation – Section ECC 101.4.3 – Exception 5

A-102.00

Question: If I am converting the burner on my boiler and replacing the fuel storage tank, do I need to state on the PW1 and in my drawings that my application complies with the NYCECC? 

Answer: Yes. On the PW1 form in Section 10, you need to check compliance. You should then address the specific scope of your work in your energy analysis. We recommend that you use the tabular aAnalysis format for this, see sample below. If no work actually needs to comply with the NYCECC, you can enter "NA" in the column marked "Proposed Values" and "NA" in the column marked "Prescriptive Values" and provide the citation for the provision that allows you to not comply where applicable. You will also be required to submit a completed TR8 form for plan approval. You can simply check "No" to all lines, if appropriate, sign and seal the form and submit it with your drawings. The form will not be required for permit or sign-off. Se the Information about Forms page for more information.  

ENERGY ANALYSIS 
Climate Zone 4A – NYCECC Chapter 5 A2 Application to replace fuel storage tank and boiler burner

Item Description

Proposed Design Value

Code Prescriptive Value and Citation

Supporting Documentation

Boiler burner replacement

NA

NA – 1 RCNY §5000-01; Buildings Bulletin 2010-031 #1

M-101.00

Fuel storage tank replacement

NA

NA – – Work Type FS is exempt per   1 RCNY §5000-01(e)(2)(iii)(E)

NA

Question: I am replacing the windows on a New York City landmarked building that is not listed on either the National or State Register. The NYC Landmarks Commission requires that the window assemblies be site-built of wood. How can I comply with both Landmarks' regulations and Energy Code requirements?

Answer: Historic buildings designated in New York but not on either the National or State Register nor certified as eligible for such designation, must comply with the NYCECC. ECC Chapter 3 requires you to use default thermal and solar heat gain values for site-built windows. These default values do not meet the prescriptive values required by the NYCECC in either Chapter 4 or Chapter 5. You have four options:

  1. Propose listed wood window assemblies to the Landmarks Commission
  2. Arrange a meeting with both Landmarks and the Department's Energy Code officials to arrive at a solution, possibly finding other ways to mitigate the calculated energy loss in the building
  3. Obtain certification of eligibility from the National or State Historic Preservation Office, see the Additional Information page for more information
  4. Request a variance from the New York State Department of State, see the Variance section on the Additional Information page for more information   

Question: My application is for the installation of a paint spray booth. Do I have to comply with the NYCECC? 

Answer: In accordance with Section ECC 101.3, the purpose of the NYCECC is to “regulate the design and construction of buildings for the effective use of energy.”  Thus, the building envelope separating conditioned from unconditioned space and the mechanical and electrical systems that make it function for human occupancy (or otherwise) are regulated by the NYCECC. However, the processes that are housed within the building but are not part of it, whether they be a paint spray booth, office computers and copiers, refrigerators and cooking appliances, plug-in floor or table lamps, or fabrication equipment, are not regulated by the NYCECC. 

Chapter 2:  Definitions

Question: I am building a four-story manufactured two-family home. Should I follow Chapter 4 or Chapter 5 for compliance?

Answer: In New York City, we interpret any residential building four stories or higher to be a commercial building. You should follow ECC Chapter 5 or ASHRAE 90.1 for compliance. 

Question: I am building a one-family home with three stories above grade and a basement.  Does the home qualify as a four-story building, and therefore is it subject to ECC Chapter 5 or ASHRAE 90.1?

Answer: Yes. The Building Code considers a basement as a story and contributes to the total number of stories (see definition of “story above grade plane” in Building Code chapter 2). A cellar as defined by the Building Code does not constitute a story. 

Chapter 3: Climate Zones, Design Conditions, Materials, Equipment and Systems

Question: I am replacing a storefront in the ground floor of a 10-story building. I plan to build the storefront on site. How do I show compliance with the NYCECC?

Answer: ECC Chapter 3, requires that site-built fenestration use the default thermal and solar heat gain values in Tables 303.1.3(1) and (3). You will need either to use a listed thermal assembly from a manufacturer in accordance with Section ECC 303.1.3 or find other ways to mitigate the calculated annual loss in energy efficiency based on the default value for the unlisted construction.

Chapter 4: Residential Energy Efficiency

Question: Is latex over gypsum board an acceptable air barrier, providing all joints and gaps are sealed as required in Section ECC 402.4?

Answer: Yes. Neither definition in ECC Chapter 2 or ECC Chapter 4 provides any measurable threshold for the performance of an air barrier and pending further study by the Department, latex over gypsum board is an acceptable air barrier, provided that all joints and gaps are sealed against air leakage as required. 

Chapter 5: Commercial Energy Efficiency 

Question: I am installing a sign on my building. It will be lit by detached lights mounted on the building and powered through the building service. Does this lighting need to comply with the ECC? 

Answer: Any attachments penetrating the building thermal envelope require that you file an associated alteration 2 application to address the envelope, see the Professional Statement page for more information. With regard to the lighting, if the lighting is limited to signage meeting one of the exceptions in Section ECC 505.6.2 – advertising or directional signage is one - then it does not need to comply with Sections ECC 505.6.1 or 505.6.2. However, it should not be permitted to spill into façade lighting. If this signage is on a residential building regulated under Chapter 4, there is no provision regarding exterior lighting.

Question: Is latex over gypsum board an acceptable air barrier, providing all joints and gaps are sealed as required in Section ECC 502.4?

Answer: Evaluated as either materials or as an assembly, latex over gypsum board must meet the performance requirements of Section ECC 502.4.3.1 and must be properly sealed as required by Section ECC 502.4.

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