The Benchmarking Law for NYC buildings (Local Law 84) was introduced in 2009 as part of the Greener Greater Buildings Plan. All buildings covered by the law must use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager to report their annual energy consumption to the NYC government. For properties with automatic water metering, the benchmarking report must also include water consumption.
Completing a benchmarking report for your building may seem like a daunting task. However, many parts of the process have been automated thanks to the Portfolio Manager and modern metering technology. When a building has never been benchmarked before, the first report involves extra work. However, the task is simplified greatly in subsequent years: you must only make sure the building data and the report format are updated.
Make sure your building meets Local Laws 84 and 87.
What Do I Need to Start the Building Benchmarking Process?
Since benchmarking is based on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, the first step is setting up your account. No investment in hardware and software is required, since the application is free and web-based.
The other important step is checking if Local Law 84 applies for the property (or properties) you manage. In February of each year, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability publishes the Covered Buildings List online.
The list specifies what is covered by benchmarking for each building: only energy consumption, or both energy and water.
The first column identifies each building with the BBL (Borough, Block and Lot), and the second column has the text “Required to report automated water data from DEP?”
If the second column contains the text “Yes” for a specific building, water consumption benchmarking is required.
Water benchmarking is required for properties with an automatic water meter from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.
If you believe there is a mistake in the Covered Buildings List, you can file a dispute. For example, this applies if a property seems to be listed by accident, or if a property that seems to meet the benchmarking conditions has been omitted. Once you have created a Portfolio Manager account, and verified that your building must be benchmarked, you can proceed with the next step.
Adding a Building to the Energy Star Portfolio Manager
The first benchmarking report is the one that takes more work, since there are two important steps to complete:
Creating a building profile in Portfolio Manager, and adding all the property information required.
Completing the required data, which changes depending on the type of property. There is a scroll-down menu in Portfolio Manager, and the required data is listed after selecting the property type.
This step must only be completed once for each building. If anything about the property changes in subsequent years, you only have to update the existing information.
How to Configure Automatic Data Collection for Buildings
Once a building has been added to Portfolio Manager, you can configure automatic data collection for utility services - electricity, gas and water. This is not possible for energy sources like heating oil and propane, however, since they are not delivered as utility services. In these cases, the energy consumption data must be added manually.
When benchmarking buildings in New York City, the utilities of interest are the following:
Consolidated Edison (energy)
National Grid (energy)
NYC Department of Environmental Protection (water)
You must access your Portfolio Manager account and add the corresponding utilities as contacts. Once they have accepted your request, you must give them access to the building profile for which you need benchmarking. They will then access your property to configure automatic data collection from their corresponding meters.
Depending on the utility, there may be additional steps before or after connecting with them through the Portfolio Manager:
STEPS BEFORE PORTFOLIO MANAGER
STEPS AFTER PORTFOLIO MANAGER
Register at their website and obtain a Requestor ID
Visit their website again to request automatic data uploads
Register at their website
Creating the Annual Benchmarking Report for Your Building
After configuring Portfolio Manager according to the steps above, energy and water consumption data for your building will be collected automatically from utility companies. Just keep in mind that non-utility energy sources must be registered manually.
Portfolio Manager can generate your benchmarking report automatically. However, you are responsible for uploading the latest report format from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. The benchmarking format is published on their website in February of each year, just like the Covered Buildings List.
Your building information and benchmarking data must be correct, covering from January 1 to December 31. There is an Error Checker function in Portfolio Manager, to validate your data before generating and submitting the benchmarking report.
Throughout the entire benchmarking procedure, you must make sure you always use the correct BIN (Building Identification Number) and BBL (Borough, Block, Lot). You will face penalties for non-compliance if this information is wrong, even if you have met all other requirements of the Benchmarking Law.
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