A Detailed Guide For Building Owners

BENCHMARKING -  LOCAL LAW 84 / 133 IN NEW YORK CITY

9New York City has been characterized by its leadership in green construction and sustainability, not only among US cities but also globally. This is reflected by initiatives like the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) in 2009, and the Climate Mobilization Act in 2019. One of the four laws introduced by the GGBP was Local Law 84 of 2009, also known as the Benchmarking Law.

  • Buildings covered by the Benchmarking Law must report their energy and water consumption each year.
  • The law does not require a minimum performance for buildings, but penalties apply for not submitting the report.

Local Law 84 has changed since the original version was published in 2009, and building owners must be aware of the latest requirements. The latest version covers more individual buildings, since the minimum area for benchmarking was reduced from 50,000 to 25,000 square feet. There are also building types that were initially subject to benchmarking, but are now excluded.

Deadlines and Penalties in the Benchmarking Law

If a building in NYC is covered by the Benchmarking Law, the report deadline is May 1st. There is a penalty of $500 for missing the deadline, which increases every three months if no benchmarking report has been submitted.

IMPORTANT DATES

DESCRIPTION

TOTAL PENALTY IF MISSED

May 1st

1st Deadline

$500

August 1st

2nd Deadline

$1,000

November 1st

3rd Deadline

$1,500

February 1st

4th Deadline (Last Chance)

$2,000

Building owners can challenge deadlines if they believe there was a mistake. The NYC Department of Buildings provides a Benchmarking Violation Challenge Form, which must be filled and submitted within 30 days.

Steps To Comply With LL84 / 133 Benchmarking Ordinance 

  • Step 1 : Send us 1 month of electric, gas, water bills or login info to your utility accounts.
  • Step 2 : We login into your account and get the annual records from the utility company.
  • Step 3 : We analyze the annual utility usage and calculate your building performance and compliance with LL84 Benchmarking ordinance.
  • Step 4 : We submit energy and water Benchmarking report to the authorities.
  • Step 5 : We send you all documentation and energy use data for your record.
Does the Benchmarking Law Cover My Building?

Gathering energy and water consumption data for every property in New York City is unfeasible. For this reason, the Benchmarking Law focuses on buildings with the highest environmental impact. Buildings that meet any of the following conditions are covered:

  1. Individual buildings with a floor area above 25,000 gross square feet.
  2. Two or more buildings on the same tax lot, with a total area above 100,000 gross sq.ft.
  3. Two or more buildings that are part of a condominium, managed by the same board, with a total area above 100,000 gross sq.ft.
  4. City-owned buildings with an area above 10,000 gross sq.ft.

The original version of the law applied for individual buildings larger than 50,000 sq.ft., but the threshold was reduced to 25,000 sq.ft. by LL133 of 2016. The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) also includes Local Law 87, which requires energy audits and retro-commissioning every 10 years. Buildings larger than 50,000 sq.ft. are subject to both Local Law 84 and Local Law 87, while those between 25,000 and 50,000 sq.ft. are only subject to Local Law 84.

LL133 also added an exception to the Benchmarking Law. Buildings that meet all the following conditions are no longer required to benchmark their energy and water usage:

  • Real property that does not exceed three stories.
  • Attached, detached or semi-attached dwellings, where the owner of each dwelling also owns the HVAC and hot water systems, and provides maintenance for them.
  • HVAC or hot water system don’t serve more than two dwellings.
  • A registered design professional has certified that these conditions are met.

Properties larger than 25,000 sq.ft. that meet these conditions are not subject to the benchmarking law, even if the area requirement is met.

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Know if your property is required to Benchmark annual energy and water use.

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Understanding The Building Benchmarking Procedure

Benchmarking a building may initially seem like a difficult task. However, the procedure is straightforward, and data collection is semi-automatic thanks to modern metering technology. The following are the first two steps before starting the benchmarking process:

  1. Checking the Covered Buildings List, which is published each year on the Greener, Greater Buildings Program website. The list is updated every year and published in February.
  2. Accessing the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and creating an account.

You will notice that energy consumption data is required for all properties in the Covered Buildings List, but water consumption data is not always requested. Water data is only needed if the NYC Department of Environmental Protection has installed an automatic water meter for your property, and at least one full year of data is available.

You can notify the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability if you believe a property has been included in the Covered Buildings List by accident. For example, a large property could have been demolished and replaced with several smaller buildings, which would no longer classify individually. The opposite also applies: if your property meets the conditions for benchmarking but the Covered Buildings List does not include it, you can also get in touch.

Any disputes of this type should be sent to energy benchmarking department, with the following information attached:

  • Building BBL: borough, block and lot numbers
  • Contact name
  • E-mail address  or telephone number
  • Reason for the dispute

Pricing

New York Engineers understands local law 84/ 133 compliance as an important cost saving opportunity. We evaluate energy and water bills submitted by you, calculate your consumptions and submit your data to avoid penalties.

All of this in just $1500 for a year*. For assistance contact us on 212- 575-5300.

Want to Hire an Expert For Your Benchmarking Needs?

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Benchmarking a Building for the First Time

Benchmarking a building for the first time requires more work, since property information must be uploaded to the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The exact information needed changes depending on the type of property, but the Portfolio Manager site will give you a detailed list to simplify the process. The following data is collected for all properties, regardless of their occupancy classification:

  • Property name
  • Property address
  • Total gross floor area
  • Irrigated area
  • Year built, or planned year for completion when applicable
  • Occupancy
  • Number of buildings
  • 12 consecutive months of energy consumption data

The Portfolio Manager will list any additional information required, based on the type of property. In an office building, for example, the following data is required to calculate an ENERGY STAR score:

  • Weekly operating hours
  • Number of workers on main shift
  • Number of computers
  • Percentage of the property that can be cooled

If a building has already been benchmarked, you must only review the information that was previously submitted. If anything about the building has changed, the information on the Portfolio Manager must be edited accordingly.

Uploading Energy And Water Data For Building Benchmarking

1Once you have added a property to the Portfolio Manager, energy and water data can be uploaded automatically by the respective utility companies. However, an initial configuration is required, with minor differences for each utility:

Configuring Portfolio Manager for automatic water benchmarking

  • To upload water data automatically, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection must be added to your Portfolio Manager account as a contact.
  • Once they have accepted the request, you must share your property’s profile with them, and grant full access.
  • Portfolio Manager will request your BBL (Borough, Block and List) and your DEP Account Number.

Configuring Portfolio Manager for automatic energy benchmarking

To have energy data uploaded automatically by Con Edison, the Portfolio Manager procedure is very similar. However, additional steps must be completed before and after at the Con Edison website.

  • Before setting up energy metering in Portfolio Manager, the building owner must register at the Con Edison website, and get a Requestor ID.
  • The building owner must visit the Con Edison website again after the procedure, to request automatic data uploading.

In the case of National Grid, there is no previous step and you can configure Portfolio Manager directly. However, you must still register at the National Grid site after the configuration.

If your property uses energy sources that are not delivered as utility services, such as fuel oil or propane, these must be added manually to the Portfolio Manager. Automatic benchmarking is only possible for utility services.

How Quickly We Can Sort Your Issues?

It takes around 2 weeks for us to resolve your benchmarking issue and submit a report once you hand over your energy bills to us.

Submitting the Benchmarking Report for Your Building

Before creating and submitting your benchmarking report, first you must ensure the data is correct. For each of the variables being metered, the report should include the full calendar year from January 1 to December 31. The Energy Star Portfolio Manager has an Error Checker function, which can be used to validate data before submission.

Benchmarking reports are generated and submitted through Portfolio Manager, and they are filled automatically with the data for the corresponding year. However, you must upload the latest report format from the NYC government. Just like the Covered Buildings List, the report format can be downloaded from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability website.

Additional Steps in the Building Benchmarking Process

To ensure compliance with the Benchmarking Law, you must make sure your BBL and BIN are correctly added to the Portfolio Manager. If you have an incorrect BBL or BIN, you will face penalties for non-compliance even if the rest of the procedure was completed correctly.

Energy Grades For Buildings Under The Benchmarking Law

Local Law 33 of 2018 introduced energy grades for buildings covered by the Benchmarking Law, which are calculated from the submitted data. Energy data is submitted through the Portfolio Manager for each building, and a corresponding Energy Star Rating is calculated. The building energy grade is determined from this rating:

ENERGY GRADE

ENERGY STAR RATING

A

85 or higher

B

70 or higher, below 85

C

55 or higher, below 70

D

Below 55

F

Benchmarking data wast not submitted

N

The building is exempt from the Benchmarking Law, or not covered by the Energy Star Rating system.

Improving energy grades is in the best interest of building owners, since it also improves corporate image. In the case of apartments and commercial spaces, a high energy grade provides a marketing advantage compared with less efficient buildings. The prospect of spending less on gas and electricity can help convince tenants to sign a lease.

How Does NYC Use Benchmarking Data from Buildings?

By understanding how buildings use energy and water, the NYC government can develop effective measures to reduce their environmental footprint.

  • Benchmarking data has been used on reports like those from the Urban Green Council. These reports have provided a snapshot of energy consumption that had not been possible before for NYC buildings.
  • Benchmarking data was also used to develop the NYC Energy & Water Performance Map, where building performance can be visualized interactively and compared.
  • The Buildings Technical Working Group brought together industry experts to develop green building policies and programs. Benchmarking data has played a key role in this initiative.
  • The NYC Retrofit Accelerator offers free advisory service for energy efficiency improvements. Benchmarking data has been an important reference for this program.

Benchmarking is also useful for building owners, since they can manage water and energy consumption more effectively. If a property has been improved with energy efficiency or water conservation measures, the benchmarking data can be used to analyze their effect.

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