Little by little, the world seems to be getting greener, and the Bloomberg administration has made greening the city one of its priorities in helping to reduce New York City’s carbon footprint. As part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, all of the city’s private buildings—including most co-ops and condos—of over 50,000 square feet are required to obtain benchmarking and energy audits by a certain deadline.
"Buildings account for 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, yet many property owners and managers do not know they can be a part of the solution and save money by making their buildings more energy efficient," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. "This benchmarking report will help us understand where we can act most quickly to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve our PlaNYC goals."
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn agrees, adding that "this benchmarking law is a significant piece of our environment portfolio and is the largest effort in the country to measure energy and water usage.”
New Local Laws
One of the major goals of PlaNYC is to reduce the city's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2017. According to the report summary, “We have analyzed the energy used by different sectors and we can see how...multifamily buildings and office buildings dominate New York City’s energy profile. Using this revelation, we have been able to estimate the potential for cost-effective citywide energy reductions.”
In order to meet the city’s goals, an array of local laws have been implemented, spelling out the steps buildings must take to reduce their energy consumption. Local Law 84 requires yearly benchmarking of energy and water usage; Local Law 85—the New York City Energy Conservation Code—establishes new, more stringent efficiency standards that apply both to renovations and new construction; Local Law 87 requires regular American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Level II energy audits, as well as retro-commissioning of base building systems as needed; and finally, Local Law 88 requires that lighting in commercial buildings be upgraded for energy efficiency and that submeters be installed in tenant spaces.