New York City enacts energy benchmark law

In New York City, all buildings over 50,000 sq ft must benchmark energy usage with the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.


Roughly 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City come from its buildings. In an effort to reduce the city's carbon footprint, a new benchmarking law has taken effect that requires many building owners to record energy and water use.

"By May 1, all buildings over 50,000 sq ft will have to have their energy use measured, calculated and uploaded to a portfolio manager system," says President Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "In this program, you can see how the building compares to other buildings that are the same size and have the same climate conditions."

The American Institute of Architects has worked with the city to develop the law. Owners will have to understand how much energy and water they are using and will hopefully help them find ways to cut back.

These days, the latest green technology is often found in new construction. At the Visionare in Battery Park City, for example, there is a system in place that tracks usage and creates an energy profile.

Michael Gubbins, the director of residential management for the Albanese Organization, says this new benchmarking process is also helping the group get a handle on its older buildings, so it can work to retrofit those properties.

Some experts say this benchmarking rule will be a game changer for the real estate market. Once this information becomes public record, buyers and renters can easily see a building energy usage and operating costs, and it could influence its demand.

Right now, the biggest challenge for this new law is educating owners and employees on how to record and load the data into an online portfolio management program. There are seminars and other resources available to help owners through the process.

Energy Star Portfolio Manager

Urban Green Council

- Edited by Gust Gianos, Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

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