Policy Brief: New York City

New York CityAnounced by Mayor Bloomberg on Earth Day 2009, New York City's Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) was hailed as one of the nation's most ambitious efforts to reduce energy waste in buildings by city officials, environmental groups and elected officials. The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to pass the legislation on Dec. 9, 2009.

Roughly 80 percent of New York City's carbon footprint comes from buildings' operations, and 85 percent of existing buildings today will still be in use by the year 2030. Thus, the GGBP was aprimary focus of the Mayor's PlaNYC initiative to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. According to city estimates, the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan will create more than 10,000 jobs in the building and construction sectors, and save consumers $700 million each year in energy costs. It is projected to trim New York City's emissions by nearly 5 percent, the largest projected reduction from any PlaNYC program.

Key Provisions

The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan is comprised of four energy efficiency bills requiring the benchmarking and public disclosure of building energy performance and water consumption; periodic energy audits and building "tune-ups" known as retro commissioning; lighting upgrades; the sub metering of large tenant spaces; and improvements to the city’s building energy code. The package also includes new government initiatives on green workforce development and retrofit financing. 

Rating and Disclosing Building Energy Performance

New York City BenchmarkingThe rating and disclosure provision of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan requires annual ENERGY STAR benchmarking and public disclosure for city buildings as well as large commercial and multifamily buildings. Benchmarking information will be reported through Energy Star Portfolio Manager in the form of a Compliance Report (pdf below) that is filed with the NYC Department of Finance. 

The report includes a building's energy use intensity (EUI), ENERGY STAR rating and water use for multiple years. Utilities are encouraged to automatically upload utility bills into ENERGY STAR to assist in the data entry process. In the public disclosure process, all of this information is posted to an online database administered by the city. 

Public buildings larger than 10,000 SF must benchmark energy performance beginning in May 2010, to be disclosed in September 2011. Private buildings subject to the benchmarking mandate must be larger than 50,000 SF and both commercial and multifamily properties must report their scores by:

                                • May 1 each year
                                • *This year, 2013, the deadline is pushed back to May 31.

The provision will affect more than 20,000 buildings in the city, accounting for roughly 2.5 billion square feet: about half of the total floor space of the city’s building stock. The scores will be posted for public viewing on a city website according to the following schedule:

                                • September 2012 for non-residential buildings
                                • September 2013 for multifamily buildings

Document Library:

See our full list of NYC-related documents 


Informational Resources:

PlaNYC | Green Buildings & Energy Efficiency - Regulations and resources explained

Explanation of Local Law 84

Text of Local Law 84 - (2009)

NYC Benchmarking Twitter account:   @nycbenchmark


Compliance Resources: