Benchmarking pays off for NYC buildings - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency  -  August 26, 2016

Energy benchmarking pays off for NYC buildings


A 2009 law requiring thousands of New York City buildings to report their energy use every year has been effective in cutting consumption, the city said Aug. 24. 

Over the past three years, 3,000 consistently reporting buildings have cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8% and energy use by 6%, according to a new progress report from Mayor Bill deBlasio's office. The 2009 law, which applies to city- or privately owned buildings more than 50,000 square feet, mandates the reporting of energy and water use — a practice commonly called benchmarking — annually in the U.S. EPA's online tool, the Energy Star's Portfolio Manager, and use the tool to submit data to the city. The total number of buildings affected by the law is approximately 15,000, the city said. 

The full report was published by Crain's New York Business. Although some of the energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction was likely due to retrofits or upgrades, "experts said the overall numbers prove the law's basic idea: owners will reduce their power consumption if they see how much energy they are using compared with other buildings of similar size," Crain's reported. 

"Some owners have probably wondered whether all the new regulations on energy use was just a grand paper exercise," Russell Unger, executive director of Urban Green Council, which worked alongside the mayor's office and New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress on the report, said in a statement. "This report tells us 'absolutely not.' Hard data shows the new city laws are having their intended impact, and it's substantial. With the active cooperation of NYC's real estate industry, we've cut building energy use. And thanks to the data trove we have from these new laws, every year we learn more and more about buildings and where to aim our future efforts."

The report is expected to serve future work that can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the expansion of detailed benchmarking to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across the five boroughs, the city said. The mayor's office considers the task of improving the energy efficiency of city buildings an integral aspect of it's "OneNYC" commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2005 levels from 2050, commonly referred to as "80x50."

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