Local Law 95 of New York City - Energy Grades

NYC Local Law 95 – All You Need to Know About Building Energy Grades

Understanding Local Law 95

Since New York City is working to the environment clean and healthy, under NYC local law 95, the City of New York mandates owners of the buildings to showcase their building efficiency grades at their building entrances. Many of you have already noticed these efficiency grades and today, in this article, we will tell what energy grades and local law 95 are all about.

The city of New York released the design of the energy efficiency grades in 2020.

Why Was NYC Local Law 95 Enacted?

The city introduced NYC’s local law 95 due to the Climate Mobilization Act which is a groundbreaking set or package of bills designed to fight the existential threat of climate change.

The package’s specialty is a bill that requires medium and large-sized buildings, which account for close to a third of all greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprints in the city, to reduce their emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

So, the said New York City’s Local Law 95 is a part of this series of multiple bills and resolutions under the Climate Mobilization Act.

What Does the ENERGY STAR Score Mean?

Expressed as a number on a simple 1 – 100 scale, the ENERGY STAR score rates performance on a percentile basis in which buildings with a score of 50 perform better than 50% of their peers. And, buildings that have earned a score or rating of 75 or higher are in the top quartile when it comes to energy performance.
Not every building can get a score of 100 for obvious reasons as making the environment completely 100% healthy in this time with these buildings working at such conditions is next to impossible.

How Does the Calculation Work?

You must be wondering if certain buildings are susceptible to lower scores or higher scores. Well, based on the information we enter or file in the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager about any building, such as its location, size, the number of PCs, the number of occupants, etc., the score’s algorithm estimates how much energy a building would be using (energy consumption).

Then, it compares the actual energy data we entered to check where our building ranks or stands, relative to its peers (compared to other buildings of the same size).


New York City’s building energy ratings can have tremendous implications for building and property owners and if your building receives a lower grade, there is a good chance that you may pay big in the long run.

Although this rating/score system went into effect in the year 2018 as New York City’s Local Law 33, however, in the year 2019, Local Law 95 added a new essential requirement that building owners must showcase their energy efficiency letter grades publicly at their buildings’ entrances.

The city is working on its long-term goal to limit carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030 and 80% by the year 2050. Starting in 2024, New York will begin enforcing carbon caps on most buildings that are greater than 25,000 square feet under Local Law 97.

The city will impose fines for inefficient buildings for not complying.

An energy efficiency score is the Energy Star Rating that a building earns to compare the building’s energy performance to other similar buildings in similar climates using the United States Environmental Protection Agency online benchmarking tool, i.e. Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

As per New York City’s Local Law 95 (2019) grades based on Energy Star energy efficiency scores/ratings will be assigned as follows:


A – If the earned score is equal to or greater than 85

B – If the earned score is equal to or more than 70 but less than 85

C – If the earned score is equal to or greater than 55 but less than 70

D – If the earned score is less than 54 (also if the score is equal to or greater than 1)

F – If the owner of such buildings has not compiled or didn’t submit the required benchmarking information

N – This will mean ‘none’ for buildings exempted from benchmarking or not even covered by the Energy Star program.

Does Local Law 95 Apply to my Building?

New York City’s Local Law 95 applies to offices, hotels, houses of worship, retail stores along with some multi-family buildings and other properties. Generally, it applies to buildings with 20 or more units, though this isn’t strictly the case since occupancy areas vary by building.

And to comply, it is very essential for the building and property owners to submit benchmarking data by May 1st of each year, and then by October 31st, showcase the energy efficiency grades of their buildings in a conspicuous location near each of its (building’s) entrances.

What if a Building’s Energy Grade is not Posted?

If building owners do not post or showcase their building’s energy grade by October 31, that are required to comply will face an annual fine of $1,250 along with a DOB violation.

Also, if you are unsure whether you need to comply or not, you can check the New York City Benchmarking Law Covered Buildings List for the 2019 calendar year and if your building is listed, it is essential to comply to avoid any kind of fines.

When you print your grade is also important. Be sure to print your grade from the DOB NOW portal no later than October 31.

Hire an Expert!

The Cotocon Group holds over a decade of experience in Decarbonization, helping building owners in reducing their carbon emissions and sustainability compliance. Reach out to us to know more about how you can improve your Energy Grades. Call us (212) 889-6566 or email us at info@thecotocongroup.com

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