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City Extends Benchmarking Deadline to May 31 After Cyberattack. However...

Frank Lovece in Building Operations on May 10, 2013

New York City

May 10, 2013

Following a cyberattack on the federal website on April 28, "The Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability received a written notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informing us of a technological deficiency in the online benchmarking tool," Sergej Mahnovski, director of that mayoral office, wrote to New York City Council and several city commissioners on April 30, a day ahead of the May 1 deadline.

Because of that attack, Mahnovski continued, "pursuant to Local Law 84 section 28-309.6, the City of New York will extend the compliance deadline until May 31, 2013."

Local Law 84 of 2009 mandates that buildings above a certain size threshold conduct an annual "benchmarking" of energy and water use. Applying to co-ops, condominiums and other privately owned buildings, it defines "benchmarking" as "input[ing] and submit[ing] to the benchmarking tool the total use of energy and water for a building for the previous calendar year and other descriptive information for such building as required by the benchmarking tool. The law directs that the bechmarking tool be the EPA's Portfolio Manager, overseen by the agency's Energy Star program.

Big Hack Attack

As the program explained, its website "experienced a cyberattack that resulted in unauthorized access to Energy Star servers. The website was immediately taken offline, and the agency began working with authorities to investigate. We are continuing to communicate with our stakeholders as we learn more about the incident."

The program added that it had not detected signs that any data was accessed, but as of today was "still investigating whether information such as energy data, names, email addresses and encrypted passwords have been accessed. We never store passwords in plain text. It is difficult to decode an encrypted password." 

The site, including the Portfolio Manager, was scheduled to be fully back online today. As a precaution, Energy Star canceled users' passwords and directed them to create new passwords at its password-reset page or its Automated Benchmarking System (ABS) page.

May 31? Better Make It May 15

Energy Star further warned that as of May 15, users, including condo and co-op boards and their managers, would no longer be able to submit benchmarking data through the program's "building import templates," in preparation for the release of a new, upgraded Portfolio Manager, set to launch July 10.

The templates, available at Energy Star's Import Facility Data page, allow users "to import facility [i.e. building] data into Portfolio Manager using a downloadable Excel [spreadsheet]. This minimizes manual data entry of large sets of [building] data," the program says.

No data at all will be accepted between June 26 and July 9 as Energy Star migrates its data to new servers.

New York City's benchmarking law applies only to buildings of over 50,000 square feet, or two or more on the same tax lot together exceeding 100,000 square feet, or two or more condo buildings governed by the same board and together exceeding 100,000 square feet.


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