Submit Annual Water & Energy Benchmarking Data by May 1
The energy used in America’s buildings is responsible for almost 8 percent of global carbon emissions and costs Americans more than $500 billion every year. Despite this enormous impact and expense, much about this energy use remains mysterious. Unlike our general awareness of the mileage-per-gallon performance when we buy or operate a car, most owners and managers don’t know whether their buildings are efficient. And tenants are usually even less aware.
To address this information gap, Local Law 84 of 2009 (LL84) was passed. This law requires all large buildings in the city to annually measure and publically disclose their energy consumption. LL84 standardizes this process and captures information with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) free online benchmarking tool called Portfolio Manager.
According to the first report on findings issued in August 2012, multifamily properties were the predominant property type covered by LL84 in the benchmarking data by number, square footage, energy use, and GHG emissions; followed by commercial office properties. All other uses (including industrial, hospitals, retail, and hospitality) constituted a relatively small portion of the data. Multifamily properties constituted 80 percent of the number of properties benchmarked, with offices constituting another 11 percent. The multifamily sector accounts for half the energy use, followed by offices at one-third, and all remaining uses at one-sixth.
LL84 requires owners of large buildings to comply with benchmarking regulations. These buildings include private sector buildings that are larger than 50,000 square feet, and two or more private sector buildings on a single lot that are larger than 100,000 square feet.
Gross square footages (GSF) listed by the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) are estimates solely for identifying buildings under LL84. However, when inputting information, building owners must calculate true gross square area, as defined by the Benchmarking Rule.
For water data collection, covered buildings that have an automatic meter reader (AMR) installed for at least the entire year of 2012 are required to benchmark water in addition to energy usage. The following link identifies all buildings outfitted with AMRs that are required to submit calendar-year 2012 water consumption data by May 1, 2013. This AMR list was significantly revised on Feb. 6: www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/downloads/pdf/130206_2013_water_amr_coveredbldgs.pdf.
To check if your building is covered for energy benchmarking, check the following link for the 2013 LL84 Covered Building List: www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/downloads/pdf/2013_benchmark_covered_building_website_version.pdf.
How to Comply
In order to comply, owners of buildings designated by the Covered Buildings List must use a free online benchmarking tool called Portfolio Manager to log energy and water use and submit a compliance report to the city by May 1 of each year.
If you received a violation for not submitting your 2011 report last year, you must pay the violation and submit your 2011 report as soon as possible in order to avoid additional violations.
You may want to hire a consultant or service provider to do this for you. If so, you can go to www.aeeny.org and look for the “NYC Benchmarking—Assistance with Local Law 84” link on the first page. This is a list of service providers in the NYC area, listed alphabetically. This list isn’t completely inclusive of all service providers, nor are any of these firms endorsed by the City of New York.
For example, to comply by May 1, 2013, data would be inputted for calendar year 2012 and the report would be submitted to the city via the “NYC LL84 Benchmarking 2012 Compliance Template.”
To do the benchmarking yourself, you must set up your account with Portfolio Manager by going to www.energystar.gov/benchmark. After setting up your new user account, you must add your building information.
You can get your energy data from your utility bills, or online via your utility company such as Con Edison. For example, Con Edison provides aggregated consumption data once you submit an Aggregated Consumption Request form and pay $102.50. You can find more information at www.coned.com/citybenchmarking. You must add all the energy types you use, such as electricity, gas, oil, steam, etc.
For water data, you can have your water data uploaded automatically via the DEP Automated Benchmarking Services (ABS). If your building didn’t have an AMR installed for all of 2012, then your building doesn’t have to benchmark water data.
To complete the benchmarking process, you should use the new reporting template to generate a Compliance Report that will be provided to the city to comply by May 1. The link will prompt you to log in to your Portfolio Manager account where you can create a custom, electronic Compliance Report for LL84. A report needs to be completed for each lot required to benchmark. The report will then be submitted to the city through Portfolio Manager. The link can be found on www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/plan/ll84_comply.shtml.
Deadlines and Violations
LL84 requires benchmarking to be completed by May 1 of each year. If you miss the May 1 deadline, you have the opportunity to comply before the next quarterly deadlines of Aug. 1, Nov. 1, and Feb. 1.
Violations for failed compliance. The city is authorized to issue a violation for any listed building that hasn’t provided a benchmarking report. Failure to benchmark by May 1 will result in a violation and a penalty of $500. Continued failure will result in additional violations on a quarterly basis and a penalty of $500 per quarter with a maximum of $2,000.
Benchmarking Violation Challenge form. The Department of Buildings (DOB) accepts contests to violations within 30 days of being issued a violation. Use the Violation Challenge form (www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/benchmarking_violation_challenge_form.pdf) from the DOB Web site if you’d like to challenge a violation you received for failing to submit your benchmarking report.