Large Building Owners to Submit Benchmarking Data by May 1
Failure to benchmark will result in a violation and a penalty of $500.
Local Law 84 (LL84) requires owners of large buildings to measure their energy and water consumption annually in a process called benchmarking. LL84 standardizes this process by requiring building owners to enter their annual energy and water use in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) online tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and use the tool to submit data to the city. Building owners are subject to a penalty if usage data isn’t submitted by May 1 every year.
The applicable large buildings include private sector buildings that are larger than 25,000 square feet, and two or more private sector buildings on a single lot that are larger than 100,000 square feet.
Violations for Failed Compliance
Once you’ve submitted a satisfactory report by the deadline, there’s no additional responsibility until the following year. If you don’t submit a report by May 1, you may aim for the next quarterly deadline of Aug. 1. Subsequent deadlines are Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 of the following year.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) is authorized to issue violations for any property on the Covered Buildings List that hasn’t provided a benchmarking report by the May 1 deadline. Failure to benchmark will result in a violation and a penalty of $500. Continued failure to benchmark by subsequent deadlines of Aug. 1, Nov. 1, and Feb. 1 will result in additional violations on a quarterly basis and a penalty of $500 per quarter with a maximum of $2,000 per year.
Take 4 Compliance Steps
LL84 gives building owners information about a building’s energy and water consumption compared to similar buildings, and tracks progress year over year to help in energy-efficiency planning. LL84’s annual benchmarking process consists of four steps:
Step #1: Check the Covered Building List for your property(ies) every year. The city has released its 2023 Covered Buildings List. It can be found at www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/benchmarking_cbl_compliance_2023.pdf. The Covered Buildings List is sorted by the property’s 10-digit borough, block, and lot number (BBL). You can review your latest property tax bill to find your property's BBL number. If your property is listed, you’re required to comply.
If you believe your property should not be on the list, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: the building(s) borough, block, and lot numbers; contact name; contact email address or telephone number; and reason for dispute with your correct square footage. Your property’s status can change from year to year, so be sure to review the newest Covered Buildings List every year.
If you’re benchmarking a building for the first time this year, you must first enter characteristics of the building (size, completion status, year built, etc.) and primary and secondary building uses into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (www.energystar.gov/buildings/benchmark).
Step #2: Collect whole building energy data (and water data, if eligible) from utilities. To obtain whole building energy consumption data for benchmarking, you’ll need to obtain tenant consumption data in addition to base building data. If your property isn’t master-metered, or you don’t have whole building energy consumption data, the best way to acquire this information is to request it directly from the utilities.
For water data, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provides all water consumption information to properties eligible and covered under LL84. Only covered properties that have had an Automatic Meter Reader (AMR) installed for at least the entire calendar year will be required to benchmark their water consumption.
If you’ve already connected and shared your property with utilities before, ensure that your property is still shared. National Grid and DEP will upload automatically.
Step #3: Measure and record your energy and water usage in Portfolio Manager. If you’re unfamiliar with using Portfolio Manager, you can study training materials found at www.energystar.gov/buildings/training.
If your building uses fuel oil or other energy that’s not provided by Con Edison or National Grid, within the Portfolio Manager platform, you would create meters under the “Energy” tab as needed, then enter energy use data into Portfolio Manager manually, by uploading a spreadsheet, or by using cut and paste from a spreadsheet. You’ll need to update your meter with new data every year. If your property was successfully shared with DEP, a water meter will be created and water use data will be uploaded automatically.
Step #4: Submit usage data to the city by May 1 through Portfolio Manager. To complete the benchmarking process, the city’s reporting template must be used in Portfolio Manager to share your data with the city. Use the Portfolio Manager Error Checker on your submitted data by clicking the “Check for Possible Errors” button on the “Summary” tab of each of your properties. You should review and resolve all alerts that are identified. You should also check the basic information and property uses in the “Details” tab for each building of a property to be sure that gross floor area for the building is not zero, and floor areas for all property uses add up to the total gross floor area.
Before submitting your report, review the benchmarking checklist at https://www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/benchmarking_checklist.pdf to ensure that you’ve completed all the necessary steps.
Once you’ve uploaded your data, submitted a response to the template, and received an automatic email confirmation from Portfolio Manager, you will have successfully complied with the NYC Benchmarking Law. For help with benchmarking submissions, you can contact the NYC Sustainability Help Center at HELP@NYCsustainability.org or (212) 566-5584, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Proposed Bill Seeks to Expand Benchmarking Law to Smaller Buildings
New York City currently requires energy benchmarking in properties with at least 25,000 square feet of floor space. However, the Department of Buildings currently has no information about energy consumption and emissions in properties less than 25,000 square feet.
The original Benchmarking Law (Local Law 84 of 2009) covered buildings starting from 50,000 square feet, and Local Law 133 of 2016 then reduced the minimum area to 25,000 square feet. The proposed bill, Intro. 237, could extend the coverage of LL84/2009 by amending the definition of “covered buildings” in the city’s benchmarking requirement to include buildings greater than 10,000 gross square feet.
Intro. 237 also changes the benchmarking requirement for groups of buildings that are part of the same tax lot. Groups of buildings are currently subject to benchmarking if their combined area is at least 100,000 square feet, but Intro. 237 reduces the minimum combined area to 50,000 square feet.
According to an analysis by the Urban Green Council, Intro. 237 increases the number of covered properties by over 80 percent, and most of them are multifamily buildings. The bill is currently referred to the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings.