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NYC Building Owners Approaching Energy Benchmarking Deadline

Owners of New York City’s Largest Buildings Are Required to Report Energy Benchmarking Data to the City by August 1
July 26, 2011
Under a recently enacted law aimed at increasing awareness of building energy performance, the owners of New York City’s largest buildings will be required to report energy benchmarking data to the city on Aug. 1.

The law, which is expected to affect approximately 16,000 properties in the city, requires the owners of commercial and multifamily properties that measure greater than 50,000 square feet to benchmark the energy performance of their buildings each year using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free benchmarking tool created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The buildings that are being targeted -- those of 50,000 square feet or more -- comprise half of the city’s floor space and almost 50 percent of its total energy consumption, according to city estimates. Buildings account for an estimated 80 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions, a substantially higher level than in other cities due to the sheer number and density of buildings in the city.

After receiving benchmarking submissions from owners, the city plans to begin posting benchmarking information for commercial buildings on a public web site next year. Energy benchmarking information for large multifamily buildings will be phased in during 2013.

Going forward, building owners will be required to submit updated benchmarking information to the city each May. More than 1.6 billion square feet in the New York metropolitan area has been ENERGY STAR benchmarked in the 10 years since EPA began the program for commercial buildings, according to 2010 data from EPA.

The law is part of New York City's Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, a package of new requirements and initiatives to increase the energy efficiency of New York City’s existing building stock. Supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the legislative components of the package were enacted in late 2009 and include benchmarking and disclosure, energy audits and retro-commissioning, lighting upgrades, sub metering and energy code improvements.

The Urban Green Council, a nonprofit environmental organization, has created a compliance checklist designed to help building owners comply with the city’s energy benchmarking law.

The city has already benchmarked thousands of municipal buildings and will make that information public this fall. Other jurisdictions with similar benchmarking and disclosure laws include Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and the states of California and Washington.
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