If you’re a building owner in New York City, NYC Building Energy Efficiency scores might be a source of stress – or pride – for your building.
Buildings account for almost 70% of all the greenhouse gas emissions in New York City. The rest of greenhouse gases, for the most part, are produced by transportation emissions.
The NYC Building Energy Efficiency score is a way for the city to track a building’s energy usage and emissions over time. The goal of the energy grade is to help buildings save money on their energy bills and to reduce their environmental impact.
There are a few recent laws that have been passed that affect the NYC Building Energy Efficiency score. One of these is the Climate Mobilization Act, which requires all buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 – and 80% by 2050 relative to 2005 levels.
This Act will affect over 50,000 buildings, which is approximately 60% of NYCs square footage.
As a leader in energy efficiency technologies in NYC, we’ve put together this guide to help explain everything you need to know about NYC Building Energy Efficiency Scores – and how you can reduce your energy usage by that 2030 deadline.
NYC Building Energy Efficiency Ratings (Energy Star Score)
The NYC Building Energy Efficiency rating, also known as the Energy Star Score, is a measure of a building’s energy performance. This metric ranks buildings on a scale of 1 to 100, with the average score being 50.
The higher the number, the more energy-efficient the building is. The United States Environmental Protection Agency developed this metric to help businesses and property owners consume less energy and observe environmental regulations.
The EPA updates the Energy Star scores for all buildings every year. In order to get your building’s most recent score, you must submit your energy consumption data to the EPA through their online portal.
The Energy Star Score takes into account a building’s square footage, type of business or occupancy, fuel type, and operating hours. It’s important to remember that the energy score is not static: it changes as a building’s energy usage changes. The EPA updates the ratings annually to ensure that they reflect a building’s current energy performance. Therefore, the NYC Benchmarking law mandates that building owners show transparency by submitting every 12 months.
As of October 31, 2009, all commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet in New York City must benchmark their energy and water consumption through the EPA’s online Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool and make this data available to the public. The law was expanded in 2019 to include all residential buildings that are larger than 25,000 square feet.
Furthermore, according to Local Law 95 of 2019, grades based on Energy Star energy efficiency scores will be assigned as follows:
Energy Grade A
This is the highest energy-efficiency rating that a commercial or residential building can achieve. To get an A grade, your property must have an Energy Star score of 85 or above.
Buildings with the Energy Grade A are usually attractive to customers and tenants because of their lower operating costs. Also, the public perception that results from getting the highest energy grade is beneficial for property owners. However, buildings will lose ratings if they don’t file their energy and water consumption data for two consecutive years.
Energy Grade B
Achieving a Grade B is still impressive since it means that your building is in the top 20% of energy-efficient buildings in New York City. To get a B grade, your property must have an Energy Star score of 70-84.
Energy Grade C
This is the average energy-efficiency rating for a commercial or residential building in New York City. To earn a C, your property must have an Energy Star score of 55-69. This energy grade shows that your building is using more energy than buildings with better grades, but it’s still not the worst.
Energy Grade D
Getting a D grade means that your building’s energy performance is in the bottom 20% when compared to similar buildings in New York City. To get a D grade, your property must have an Energy Star score of 40-54. If your building receives this grade, it’s time to start looking into ways to improve your energy efficiency.
Unfortunately, many buildings fall in this category. An article revealed that almost 40,000 NYC buildings – including Trump Tower and the New York Stock Exchange building – had an energy efficiency rating of D or F. This means that these buildings are using more energy than they should be, and they’re not doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Though the number used to be almost 45%, now almost 39% of buildings have a D grade, compared to approximately 15% for B and C buildings and approximately 10% that have an A. The buildings with the lowest scores are for the most part residential buildings.
Energy Grade F
An energy grade of F is the lowest rating that a building can receive. Your property gets an F grade if you fail to submit your energy and water consumption data for the year.
Almost 60% of all buildings either have a D or F rating.
Energy Grade N
This grade is given to buildings that the Energy Star program doesn’t cover or are exempted from benchmarking. This includes properties that are vacant.
If your building falls into this category, you don’t have to submit your energy and water consumption data.
Who Does The Building Energy Efficiency Rating System Apply To?
Generally, the building energy efficiency rating system applies to all commercial and residential buildings that are larger than 25,000 square feet in New York City. According to the Urban Council Local Law No. 97, the major buildings that the law applies to include:
City Government Buildings
All City-owned buildings larger than 10,000 square feet are required to benchmark annually. Municipal buildings are held to more stringent energy efficiency standards than private buildings.
The law also requires that these buildings post their energy consumption and performance data on the Department of Buildings website for public disclosure.
Residential and private buildings that are larger than 25,000 square feet are required to benchmark their energy and water consumption. These buildings must comply with LL84 and are also described by the Benchmarking report as “covered buildings.”
When classifying buildings by use, residential buildings produce the most greenhouse gases at 36%. The next largest supplier of greenhouse gases is business properties at 26%.
Business and Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings like hotels, restaurants, and offices are within the purview of LL84. Also, industrial facilities like factories and warehouses are among those buildings to benchmark.
Many buildings in New York are mixed-use because they combine residential units, office spaces, and retail stores. These buildings are often some of the most energy-intensive because they’re constantly being used.
Hospitals are energy-intensive facilities because they use a lot of equipment, and they are open 24/7. Hospitals use energy-intensive equipment, such as MRI machines and ventilators. This can cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Efficiency Rating Requirements
NYC buildings must follow specific energy conservation requirements to achieve a high EER. Some of these requirements are:
Publicly Display EER Scores
The NYC Benchmarking laws mandate that all buildings within the Energy Star Program must publicly display their energy score. The law also requires that the building’s owner or manager post the score in a conspicuous place near the main entrance of the building.
This level of transparency aims to show the energy efficiency or inefficiency of a building.
Submit Energy Information Annually
The law requires that all buildings larger than 25,000 square feet submit their energy consumption data to the government every 12 months. The failure to submit brings an automatic Energy Grade F rating.
Set Up an EPA Tool Account
Building owners must create an account with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
The EPA launched the Portfolio Manager as part of Local Law 84. Portfolio Manager is an online database that allows NYC building owners to track their property’s energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Assist the Operating Officer
During the benchmarking exercise, building owners are required to provide the operating officer with any necessary assistance. The operating officer, in turn, will help to ensure that the building is following all of the energy conservation requirements.
How to Make Your Building More Energy Efficient
You can make your building more energy-efficient in many ways, but some of the most common methods are:
Upgrade to Modern HVAC Systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for a large portion of a building’s energy use. The US Department of Energy revealed that heating expenses consume 29% of residential utility bills.
In large residential buildings, the amount of gas used for heating can be as high as 80%. Therefore, property owners must invest in modern HVAC systems with high EER, like Alternative Sustainability (AS)’s Low Carbon PTACs and Fan Coil Units.
These units are reducing gas usage by over 80%. AS’s Low Carbon PTACs and Fan Coil Units have a built-in high efficiency PTC heating element and a UV-C Sterilization System which kills up to 99% of bacteria, germs and viruses.
They also have additional thermal and sound insulation making them quieter than other units. And they’re the only units with a two year full warranty, plus four additional years on the compressor.
Other energy devices from Alternative Sustainability include the patented Turbine Slide Frame, which can be installed in any HVAC unit or ductwork to create large amounts of power using the existing systems in a building.
Alternative Sustainability is the one and only company in the world with clean energy-producing devices that work directly inside of buildings.
Use Energy-Efficient Lights
Lighting is another significant factor that contributes to a building’s energy use. Installing energy-efficient lighting, such as LED lights, can help reduce your energy consumption by up to 75%.
Educate Tenants on How to Save Energy
Building owners must educate their tenants on how they can help save energy. Some ways tenants can save energy are by turning off lights when they leave a room and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use.
Use Alternative Sustainability Devices
AS patented products are built to reduce carbon footprints and raise energy grades in buildings. The New York Metro area trusts our carbon-lowering HVAC units to reduce gas use, and our energy producing turbines to raise any building’s energy grade.
Alternative Sustainability is the only company that guarantees its products will reduce a building’s carbon footprint and raise the energy score to above the 2030 penalty levels. With AS, building owners won’t have to worry about any LL97 penalties.
We have designed energy-producing devices that are going to change the energy production picture, reduce carbon gases, and help buildings & homeowners save money – and we can do this with an ROI of 3-5 years.
There are no other products that will help residential, commercial, or any other multi-unit building reduce their energy usage enough to meet the upcoming NYC building energy requirements. Without these options, it will be almost impossible to avoid the new fees and fines that will be placed on buildings with energy usage over the legal limits.
Alternative Sustainability doesn’t just provide products: we’re also energy consultants and building experts who can review your building and tell you exactly the changes you need to make to improve your energy consumption and lower your carbon footprint. And, we’re working with developers to design near carbon neutral buildings.
To learn more, book your free consultation with us today.