NYC Energy Grades

2021 Energy Grades Overview


THE CITY’s analysis of the data obtained by the Department of Building concludes that while NYC’s buildings have reported improvement vis-a-vis energy efficiency, it’s happening at a dangerously slow rate. Almost half buildings earned Ds & Fs as others struggled to even make that grade. The data speaks for more than 20,000 buildings ranging in type from pre-war apartments to skyscrapers. Poor grades mandate no penalties but failing to post the results implies a fine of $1,250.

More number of As were rewarded in 2021. 20% of buildings (25,000 square feet or larger) received As in 2021 as opposed to 16% in 2020. An uninspiring D was the most popular grade last year at 44% which dropped to 39% this year. Across the city, around 7.5% of buildings had received Fs last year which has witnessed an increase to 9% in 2021 implying a failure to even submit the data in time.

On an average, buildings improved by three points, rising from an ENERGY STAR score of 54 in 2020 to 57 in 2021. Moreover, 56% of buildings showed improvement between 1-9 points, while 35% observed a fall. The overall better performance is being designated to environment boosters. The focus on energy efficiency via the grading system is part of the city’s effort to check GHG emissions from buildings which happen to be the city’s largest source.

It’s imperative that grades continue to improve at a faster pace as NY is running out of time to realize carbon commitments of 2030. Large fines around non-compliance also await the landscape, as warranted by Local Law 97 which will incur building owners with fines at $268 per ton of GHG emissions, in effect from 2024.

Here’s how you improve that grade:-

1. Get an energy audit and building recommissioning
This is precisely the only way to track and rectify energy wastage in your building. This is also inevitably the first step towards energy efficiency for buildings. Reaching out to experts will help you quantify the excess wastage and devise a plan to check it immediately.

Recommission comprises an inspection of the building systems to ensure proper operation while adjusting sensors and controls. The biggest advantage is that you also meet the compliance requirements of Local Law 87, which demands these procedures at 10 year intervals. In addition, you will also be working towards a better grade under LL33.

2. Maintain the HVAC

Heating, Ventilating, and Air-conditioning (HVAC) alone are responsible for more than 40% of energy consumption. The labeled products help save up to 16% energy which translates to a weekly saving yearly saving of at least $100.


Air-conditioning does not contribute much to the bills, taking up around 6% of energy. ENERGY STAR central air-conditioning units provide 8% more efficiency. The air-conditioning systems are usually integrated with the heating systems implying that it’s ideal to purchase both at the same time to maximize efficiency.

3. Energy Efficient  Appliances

Appliances are responsible for sizable energy consumption (13-30%).  Customers must pay heed to two things – the initial price and the annual operating cost. Even though the energy-efficient appliances might cost you more on the purchase, they provide financial respite in the long run for their operating costs are often 10-25% lesser.

4. Insulation

The exterior cover of a building should be designed to lower heating and cooling as needed. The goal should be to make the building as airtight as possible. This can be achieved by replacing doors and windows to avoid air leaks in the existing buildings. However high-performance insulation along with non-traditional wall systems which offer additional insulation can be an alternative solution.

5. LED Lights

Optimal efficiency measures are different for each building but LED lightings are the common denominator. They facilitate energy reduction by 70-75%. Sensors could be used in places used infrequently (conference rooms and restrooms). 


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