New Legislation Clarifies Buildings’ Energy Consumption

Energy Use Becoming More Transparent Thanks to City Council

On October 13th 2016, New York City Council unanimously approved legislation that expanded energy regulations to include mid-sized buildings. In 2009, City Council passed Local Laws 84 and 88, requiring large buildings to upgrade light systems and report their water and energy use; today, Introductions were passed to apply those laws to mid-sized buildings. Since 68% of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, these Introductions heighten New York City’s sense of energy accountability and consumer awareness. Improving building’s energy efficiency will be one of the main ways forward to cutting the City’s greenhouse gas emissions over the first half of this century.

Buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. have been required since 2009 to report their energy and water use. Now, Introduction 1163’s passing expands that regulation to include buildings of 25,000 sq. ft. and over. Sponsored by Daniel Garodnick, Intro 1163’s new inclusions predicate future retro-fitting for energy efficiency by making more buildings’ exact energy uses transparent. Owners of buildings between 25,000-50,000 sq. ft. will now have the technical information relevant to making future energy savings plans on a building-by-building basis.

Additionally, more buildings will upgrade their lighting systems to comply with the current Energy Code. Today’s Introduction from Councilmember Donovan Richards applies the Energy Code’s lighting standards in non-residential spaces from buildings >50,000 sq. ft. to buildings >25,000 sq. ft. Thanks to an Introduction sponsored by Councilmember Costa Constantinides, building owners must now also install electric sub-metering in tenant spaces larger than 5,000 sq. ft. Both of these measures expand consumer and public awareness of exactly how the City is consuming energy, and give future building retro-fitters a clearer picture of which buildings need the most attention.

All three of these measures increase energy-use transparency, expanding sustainable precedents to include more and more buildings in the City. The Introductions stipulate their full compliance by 2025, and the NYLCV looks forward to hearing from the Department of Building regarding its enforcement plans. Since sub-metering is a priority of both Con Ed and the Public Services Commissions, the City’s implementation of these new regulations would likely be smoothest by working closely with both entities.