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Benchmarking Deadline Pushed Back From May 1 to June 1

Bill Morris in Green Ideas on April 29, 2021

New York City

Benchmarking, deadline extension, Department of Buildings, letter grades, energy efficiency.

About half of the 17,000 benchmarked buildings in the city received an energy-efficiency grade of D.

April 29, 2021

Due to an unspecified “technical deficiency,” the city has pushed back the deadline for co-op and condo boards to submit their 2020 water- and energy-use benchmarking data. The traditional May 1 deadline has been extended to June 1. In a service update, the Department of Buildings (DOB) warned: “(Building) owners who do not submit a fully compliant report by June 1, 2021, will be subject to violations for each quarter they have been non-compliant.”

In a news release, the New York City Sustainability Help Center added: “If your property did not receive complete utility uploads, know that corrections are being updated in Portfolio Manager on a daily basis. Con Edison will notify you when corrections have been made to your account. Once the corrections to your Portfolio Manager account have been made, and everything else in your account is complete and accurate, please submit (or resubmit) your benchmarking report to the city.”

The nature of the “technical deficiency” is not yet widely known. But one consulting company, Aurora Energy Advisors, is urging its clients to file their benchmarking data before May 1 – then use the one-month grace period to verify the data and make any necessary adjustments.

“Basically we’re taking a property-by-property approach,” says Alex Zafran, senior consultant at Aurora. “We’ll check and re-check everything. We work with managers directly to confirm their building’s data, and this one-month extension gives us the chance to revisit it if there’s information that needs review.”

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The compliance departments in some management companies had submitted their clients’ benchmarking data before the “technical deficiency” and resulting deadline reset were made public. “We push toward meeting deadlines early,” says Steve Greenbaum, director of property management at Charles H. Greenthal. “We uploaded all our data last month. I assume everything’s correct.”

Under Local Law 84, the city began mandating the annual reporting of energy and water consumption back in 2009 for buildings 50,000 square feet or larger. In 2018, the requirement was extended to buildings larger than 25,000 square feet. The data took on added significance last year when it became part of the formula for computing letter grades that rate buildings’ energy efficiency.

Under this system, benchmarking data is fed into the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. This online tool generates an ENERGY STAR score, ranging from 0 to 100, that compares energy usage in buildings of similar size and use. A score of 90 means that only 10% of similar buildings nationwide are more energy efficient. In New York City, these numbers are now converted into a building’s letter grade, ranging from A to F, which must be updated once a year and posted conspicuously near the front door by Oct. 1. Failure to do so within 30 days results in a $1,250 fine. In this first year, about half of the city’s 17,000 benchmarked buildings received a disappointing grade of D – reflecting an ENERGY STAR score between 1 and 54.

Read the DOB’s benchmarking Compliance Instructions by clicking here.

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