Green Building Law Update Service

Center for Climate Change Law

New York City Releases Benchmarking Annual Report


Posted on September 21st, 2012 by J. Cullen Howe
 1 comment  

To follow up on this blog’s previous post, in August 2012, New York City posted its first benchmarking report pursuant to Local Law 84.  The law, passed in 2009, requires that privately owned buildings over 50,000 square feet, and publicly owned buildings over 10,000 square feet, annually measure and report their energy and water use.  The law requires that building owners submit energy and water usage data each year by May 1 of each year.  The law also requires that the city release an annual report.

The data was collected via EPA’s Portfolio Manager tool and relies for the most part on self reporting.  Data collected includes energy use intensity (EUI), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Energy Star ratings, and water usage per square foot.

2,065 buildings (totaling 2.6 billion square feet) in New York City benchmarked their energy for 2011, a nearly 75% percent compliance rate.  Of these, 1,298 are in Manhattan, 283 are in Queens, 281 are in Brooklyn, 153 are in the Bronx, and 50 are in Staten Island.

Key findings of the report include the following:

On average, New York City buildings have a median Energy Star score of 64 (out of 100), which is in line with other buildings in the Northeast but better than the national average for buildings of 59.

Newer office buildings tend to use more energy per square foot than older ones, which seems surprising at first blush.  However, older buildings tend to have less extensive ventilation systems, better thermal envelopes, and less dense or energy intensive tenant occupations.

Larger office buildings tend to be more energy intensive than smaller ones, but smaller multifamily buildings tend to be more energy intensive than larger ones.

The most energy-intensive buildings (those in the fifth percentile) use as much as three to five times (!) as much energy as the least energy-intensive buildings (those in the 95th percentile.

Bringing large buildings up to the median EUI in their building type category could reduce total NYC building energy consumption by 18 percent and GHG emissions by 20 percent.

One comment

  1. It is clear that the Benchmarking Annual Report (BAR) illuminates and analyzes significant building performance data and trends.

    As such, it would advance the goal of making high performance building the new normal if;
    1. the City continues to release in-depth BARs every year for at let a decade, and
    2. the City undertake quality assurance data reviews each year. It’s not labor intensive. First, select a random sample of submitted benchmarking reports and review them intensively. Second, compare Department of Finance building data with submitted Benchmarking data and follow up with what appear to be non-reporting buildings to distinguish between data base errors and non-compliers to ensure the most complete and error free data bases.

    After all, sunshine laws work best when everything is visible.

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