Building Trades

CITY-OWNED BUILDINGS NOW BENCHMARKED FOR ENERGY USE

By Neal Tepel
Benchmark Will Provide Baseline for Achieving Energy Reduction

New York City has completed the energy benchmarking of 2,790 City buildings. Every City-owned building over 10,000 square feet has been included in this initiative. Benchmarking is a requirement of the landmark Greener Greater Buildings Plan, passed by the City Council last year. Under the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan laws, privately-owned buildings over 50,000 square feet are also required to be benchmarked by May 1, 2011.  The benchmarking will help achieve the city goal of reducing carbon emissions from City government operations by 30 percent by 2017.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and benchmarking the City’s buildings lets us determine where energy costs can be reduced,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Understanding the consumption across the City’s portfolio is a critical component of meeting our goal of reducing City government carbon emissions 30 percent by 2017.  As the largest building owner in the country’s largest city, we can serve as a model for all building owners—particularly those required to benchmark next year.” The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), working with 28 separate City agencies, began the benchmarking project for City-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet in May 2009. The benchmarking was performed using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Energy Star Portfolio Manager” benchmarking tool. The tool is used in most professional energy audits and is a pre-requisite for the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating for existing buildings.
 
Benchmarking measures the total electricity, natural gas, steam, and fuel oil consumed in a building and adjusts for other factors – building type, year of construction, number of workers, gross square footage, and other operational data – so that the City can understand which facilities are operating inefficiently.  This will allow the City to prioritize buildings for energy efficiency investments, and monitor building performance over time.
 
The City is expected to break even on its energy efficiency investments in 2013 on an annual cash flow basis, and by fiscal year 2015 it is projected that the City will have saved more on its energy bills than it has spent on all the planned investments to that point. To meet its 30 percent reduction goal by 2017, the City must produce 1.68 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually versus 2006 levels.
 
Meeting the goals of the city’s energy conservation plan is significant, said Kuba Brown, Business Manager of Local 94 International Union of Operating Engineers. Local 94 has always been committed to continuing education for their chief engineers and for all our members who are responsible for building management, said Business Manager Brown.

May 5, 2010

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