Local Law 84 Benchmarking: The First Year in Review
The breakdown of energy use in New York City looks like this:
Small Buildings: 32%
Large Buildings: 45%
This is why NYC implemented the Greener Great Buildings Plan, and namely Local Law 84, the City’s energy usage benchmarking and disclosure policy for large buildings (more than 50,000 square feet). The GGBP plans to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5%, save 7 billion dollars and create 17,800 jobs by 2030. In order to accomplish this ambitious task, research and analysis must be done on current progress to keep things on track and improve the program over time. Recently, the initial report on LL84 was released, covering the first year of benchmarking, with interesting discoveries.
There were 3 key findings.
1. There is significant room for New York City buildings to achieve serious reductions by targeting the worst performing buildings with smart improvements.
- There is heavy variation in energy performance within building type categories, suggesting it is very possible to bring the worst performers in a given group up to par with the average.
- Improving inefficient buildings to median energy usage would reduce energy consumption among large buildings by almost 20%, if they could be brought up to the 75th percentile, 30% could be saved.
- The least efficient buildings in New York City were found to use three to five times the energy as the most efficient.
2. New York City buildings are on par with other Northeastern US building stock and actually use less than similar buildings nationwide.
- Newer office buildings seem to use a higher level of energy per square foot than older ones. In fact, going back towards the early 1900s, each 20 year period uses less energy than the previous.
- Smaller multifamily buildings use more energy per square foot than larger ones, but smaller office buildings tend to use less energy per square foot than their larger counterparts.
3. LL84 participation among building owners was high but steps can be taken to better the effectiveness of the program.
- About 75% of the properties required to benchmark their energy use eventually complied, a good figure for a first time policy.
- This first year’s data has displayed a certain amount of confusion among the participants: errors were made entering data and using Portfolio Manager. As a result, an attempt was made to remove this bad data from the report.
Additionally, the report made several recommendations for the City on how to streamline LL84 Benchmarking in future years. Such as working with utility and tech companies to provide the automatic uploading of whole building energy data for building owners, as well as clarify difficult to understand benchmarking rules and remove unnecessary steps in the compliance process.
Here at WegoWise, we're busy helping tardy benchmarkers get their 2011 compliance reports in. And we're excited for next year.