New Green Buildings Legislation Expands Local Laws to Include Mid-Sized Buildings
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a package of three green buildings bills into law. “Buildings account for more than two-thirds of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, which we have pledged to reduce 80 percent by 2050,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor. And these local laws “expand benchmarking, install sub-meters and upgrade lighting systems help to provide the key information that is required for building managers to understand and reduce their energy use. This is part of a continuing effort to upgrade buildings across the city, consistent with the recent enactment by the Department of Buildings of the 2016 Energy Code, as we work to build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable city.”
The package of bills are Intros. 1163-A, 1160, and 1165. These three laws expand Local Laws 84 and 88 to include mid-size buildings, which the new laws define as being between 25,000 and 50,000 gross square feet.
This bill requires mid-size building owners to report benchmarking data on their whole building energy and water usage to the city. This information is already gathered from large buildings, and the city sees it as critical for helping building owners understand their energy and water usage and for catalyzing green retrofit projects that increase energy and water efficiency, save money, and create jobs.
According to the city, benchmarking has been shown to lead to a better understanding of energy and water consumption, resulting in the reduction of carbon emissions and energy consumption over time. Between 2010 and 2013, emissions from 3,000 consistently benchmarked properties already subject to the requirement, dropped by 8 percent, while energy use decreased by 6 percent.
“To take meaningful aim at greenhouse gas emissions in New York City, we need to focus on buildings, which are our biggest polluters. With this bill, we are expanding the number of buildings required to be benchmarked for energy and water efficiency. The data collected will help the city and building owners themselves achieve a more sustainable future,” said Council Member Daniel Garodnick, sponsor of Intro. 1163-A.
The bill requires mid-size building owners to install sub-meters in non-residential tenant spaces and report energy usage to the tenant. This is already required in large buildings. The bill also decreases the square footage of tenant spaces in which sub-meters must be installed in all such buildings to 5,000 square feet. Sub-meter energy information will help building owners and non-residential tenants understand their buildings energy usage as well as help find ways to improve energy efficiency and save money.
This bill requires owners of midsize buildings to retrofit the lighting systems in non-residential spaces to comply with the New York City Energy Code by 2025. This is already required for larger buildings.