Benchmarking Your Building Clock is Ticking for May 1st Deadline

On December 8, 2009, the City Council passed Local Law 84 as part of New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings initiative. Article 309 of this law requires all residential and commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet and city buildings over 10,000 square feet to benchmark their 2010 energy and water use by May 1, 2011 and every May 1 thereafter. Inasmuch as this initial benchmarking is based upon 2010 data, this leaves only about 4.5 months to gather and publish the data for what is estimated to be 20,000 qualifying buildings. Should the deadline be missed, the NYC penalty is $500 per quarter.

What is the Process?

NYC requires the benchmarking process to use the EPA’s Portfolio Manager, which is an Internet-based database system. Basically, the process requires data collection for the entire 2010 calendar year regarding energy and water usage along with building size parameters, hours of operation (not applicable to multi-family buildings), and other pertinent information relevant to the building type.

Considering most residential units are separately and privately metered, complications with data collection are likely. However, Con Edison will provide 2010’s consumption for an entire building, broken down in a month-to-month basis, for a nominal fee of $102.50. For most residential properties, this will be the most expeditious method to collect such data. Water usage data is only required if the building was equipped with automatic meter reading equipment for the full previous year. Other energy use data includes: oil, steam, propane, and natural gas consumption. All energy use data is to be segregated on a per month basis. Once the data is uploaded, Portfolio Manager will produce a Statement of Energy Performance, which in turn will be filed with NYC.

What Type of Data Will be

Disclosed by NYC?

Following benchmarking, the Department of Finance will begin to publish information on their website no later than September 1, 2011 for city buildings. Non-residential building information will be posted no later than September 1, 2012, and residential buildings no later than September 1, 2013. Findings will be published on a recurring yearly basis for each building type following the initial disclosure.

Information disclosed by NYC will include the energy utilization index (BTU/SFG/year), water use per SFG, a comparison of data gathered from each year of benchmarking, and a Statement of Energy Performance complete with a score from 1 to 100 generated by the Portfolio Manager. Any score over 75 is considered very good and qualifies the applicant building to pursue an Energy Star rating. The energy utilization index information will be tracked and assessed relative to buildings of similar use. Since residential buildings vary depending on their size (SFG), number of units, size of individual units, unit mix, use of air conditioning, etc., discrepancies between building energy utilization index results can be expected.

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