October 5, 2022

How to do Benchmarking in NYC? Local Law 84 Energy Compliance Instructions

New York City has given a huge responsibility to the building owners by introducing Local Law 84, which requires continuous “energy benchmarking” as part of a campaign to improve energy efficiency citywide and make the environment eco-friendlier.

In Local Law 84 which is referred to as the “energy benchmarking law” or the “energy and water reporting” law, property managers and building owners are required to report the building’s energy and water usage to the City on an annual basis but they should note that the buildings must be over 25,000 square feet.

Compliance with the City of New York Benchmarking Law, also known as Local Law 84, requires building owners to annually measure and report their energy and water consumption to the City.

The benchmarking process is known to be standardized using the utilization of the EPA’s online benchmarking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager, where you can enter and submit energy and water usage data to the City. 

It should be noted that the deadline for benchmarking data submission is May 1st.

Benchmarking compliance is known to be an important initiative as it offers data to analyze and measure how much carbon emission the buildings of New York City are releasing. There is a goal to reduce 40% carbon reduction by 2030 and an 80% carbon reduction by 2050.

Although we all know that benchmarking is important, it is by no means simple or easy.

EXPLAINED – REQUIREMENTS OF LOCAL LAW 84

As a part of the “Greener Greater Buildings Plan” introduced by the City in December 2009, Local Law 84 mandates building and property owners to file and submit comprehensive reports regarding their energy and water usage. 

The collected information and reports are submitted to Portfolio Manager (an online tool) which is maintained by the United States Environmental Protection Agency aka (EPA).

The buildings that are covered in this law, include condominium and coop associations, with gross square footage of 50,000 or more. In this law, the requirements are two or more buildings in the same tax lot with a total of more than 100,000 gross square feet and buildings (both) that are und by Local Law 84. 

Also, it is to be noted that if condominium ownership owns buildings that are 2 or more combined and exceed 100,000 gross square feet, all the buildings must be in compliance.

A look at the steps needed in the compliance process of Local Law 84

The first thing is to determine if the property is subjected to NYC Local Law 84

You have to then designate a benchmarking administrator, like The Cotocon Group

Calculate the gross square footage and break it down according to the type of space used

Including all utility usage information for the building, compile the building’s entire energy usage for the last year

Collect information and data about the space usage and property’s attributes

Tenant Information Collection Forms should be sent to non-residential tenants who have their own utility meters

Provide all the mandatory data into the online tool which is Portfolio Manager along with the confirmation that it is verified and entered correctly

For three years, it is mandatory to maintain crucial energy use records and other relevant documents

 

Since benchmarking is an important initiative, here are top 3 takeaways for making benchmarking strategy a success.

YOU MUST START EARLY 

It totally depends on the size/area of your portfolio, in which all the collected information needed for benchmarking can be a prolonged and above all, a time-consuming process. All the details like energy consumption data and other building details often require coordination and ties from individuals that are working across your organization, like energy analysts, even tenants, and facilities managers.

The benchmarking is completed annually so there may be many changes that were made in the past or recently, but to save yourself from a headache and to avoid unnecessary stress, waiting until the last minute won’t be a good idea. So, start early, give people time to respond, and try to submit your benchmarking reports to the City, minimum 2-3 weeks before the deadline so you will have some time for the updates and corrections. 

BENCHMARKING PORTAL 

Using a reliable Benchmarking Portal like ConEd can support you in uploading the whole building aggregated data automatically to Energy Star Portfolio Manager. It also provides a user guide to help you do it successfully.