NYC Energy Benchmarking

Energy Benchmarking – Improving Building Performance

First introduced in 2009 with NYC Local Law 84, Energy Benchmarking mandates that buildings over 50,000 square feet report their annual energy usage and water consumption. The year 2016 witnessed an extension of it under Local Law 133 to also include properties with an area greater than 25,000 square feet but lesser than 50,000 square feet. The two laws serve in tandem to increase the transparency vis-a-vis building’s consumption patterns with an ultimate goal of achieving optimum energy efficiency.

The compliance process has been standardized and requires building owners to use the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) online benchmarking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The Portfolio Manager enables owners to identify opportunities to make their buildings more efficient, thereby saving money.

The law was further amended in 2018 with NYC LL 33 which is in relation to the energy efficiency scores and grades that are required for the applicable buildings to benchmark their water and energy usage. The scores and grades are to be obtained, assigned, and disclosed in accordance with §28-309.12 annually based on Federal energy efficiency standards.

After the report is submitted, the building will receive a benchmarking score and failing to do so is deemed penal with a fine of $500 charged by the Department of Buildings. As per Local Law 95 of 2019 which was a further amendment of Local Law 33, the energy efficiency scores will be assigned as follows:

-A : score equal to or greater than 85
-B : score equal to or greater than 70 but less than 85
-C : score equal to or greater than 55 but less than 70
-D : score lesser than 55
-F : for buildings that did not make the benchmarking submission in time
-N : for the buildings that are exempted or not covered under Energy Star program

Benefits of benchmarking are plenty as it helps reduce the cumulative carbon footprint of buildings while increasing their efficiency & performance. Complying with the laws also helps examine the quality of operation. All of which if implemented properly aids cost reductions by up to at least 30%. The biggest benefit of benchmarking is that it helps buildings in the longer run also comply with the more consequential and stringent law of Local Law 97 which puts hard carbon caps on various building types.

What owners should be ideally aiming for is the successful union of Local Laws 84, 133 and 97 to optimize on profitability and efficiency for proper compliance does not just help escape penalties but also addresses the pressing issues of climate change. The primary reason for the implementation of the package of these laws is to ambitiously reduce buildings-generated carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Even though the Climate Mobilization Act strives to mobilize all stakeholders of real estate towards reducing carbon emissions, it is imperative to be viewed as an investment for the cost-effectiveness compliance brings in the longer run.


To know more about how Building Benchmarking can help you in improving the performance of your building, contact us!

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