Make Your Benchmarking Score Work For You

Originally posted for MANN Report Management June/July 2018:

A new Local Law, LL 133 of 2018 was approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio on January 8, 2018.  This is the latest initiative written into law, with the intent of increasing the energy efficiency of large and midsize buildings with the focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Starting in 2020, all buildings 25,000 square feet and larger will be required to display their energy efficiency grade near each public entrance.  This will make New York City the first city or state to require buildings to publicly post this information on-site.

Local Law 133 of 2018 is an extension of Local Law 84 which requires all buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to submit their annual energy and water consumption benchmarking data through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.  As of this year, buildings 25,000 square feet and greater have been included in the buildings required to submit annual energy and water consumption benchmarking data.  The purpose of benchmarking energy and water consumption through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager is to obtain the efficiency ratio, also known as the Energy Score number, which is the result of the comparison with like buildings nationwide. 

Specifically, the Energy Score is calculated by first examining the actual energy usage of a building compared to its expected usage.  The expected energy usage is calculated through an algorithm intended to account for many variables, including building use(s), size, business activity hours, number of workers or residents, and the climate in which it is located.  The ratio obtained by comparing like buildings energy usage is what determines the score that would relate to the assigned energy efficiency grade.  As a building owner or property manager, failure to have all the required information available for input into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager will result in a score not representative of the actual building and potentially affect the grade.

Local Law 133 states that energy efficiency grades are to be assigned as follows:

  1. If the Energy Score of a building is equal to or greater than 90, the energy efficiency grade shall be “A”:
  2. If such score is equal to or greater than 50 but less than 90, the energy efficiency grade shall be “B”
  3. If such score is equal to or greater than 20 but less than 50, the energy efficiency grade shall be “C”
  4. if such a score is less than 20, the energy efficiency grade shall be “D”

A building that fails to submit the benchmarking data, will ultimately receive a grade of “F”

It is important to understand that the grade generated from the Energy Star Portfolio Manager is primarily based on the energy and water consumed within the building and not totally related to the equipment being used in a building.  A high efficiency boiler for instance will reduce energy and energy costs.  However, as an example, the introduction of solar panels used to generate electricity are a proven method of reducing energy costs, but the panels generate energy that will be used by the building regardless if the energy was generated by the sun or by the utility.

According to Local Law 84 Benchmarking, the annual energy and water consumption data are due to be submitted by May 1 and the Energy Score will be determined at that time.  Building owners should review that energy score number and look to see how that can be improved upon.  The basic law of Heat Transfer is “Hot to Cold” and it takes energy to create the “Hot”.  The first step should be to evaluate and recognizing all areas where heat loss situations exist.

Installing new or replacing damaged insulation on all heat/steam and hot water pipes is an inexpensive and quick method of reducing energy use.  Second on the list is to ensure all exterior doors are free from gaps around the door jamb and sill.  Weather stripping is an inexpensive solution that will also reduce energy usage. This will help in keeping the heat from escaping from common areas.  Ensuring the heating and hot water systems are in top working condition will save energy.  Making sure the hot water being delivered to the tenants does not exceed 120 degrees will save energy and prevent any harm from happening to the tenants.

Excess water consumption should not be overlooked when evaluating energy waste as it is an important variable of the recorded data.  All leaks in apartments and the boiler room should be mitigated.  Simply put, eliminating all areas of energy waste will increase the score and help with the level of grade the building will receive.

One final point, performing all these tasks will help during the completion of the Local Law 87 Retro-commissioning process, as most of these items are generally noted in the retro-commissioning report.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help with the above laws as well as you oil, gas and electric needs.


Kenneth Camilleri
Kenneth Camilleri, General Manager
Original Energy
45-17 Marathon Parkway, 2nd Flr.
Little Neck, NY 11362
914-847-0267 |