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Mandatory policies regarding the release of energy data for the private sector are becoming more and more popular. New York City is the first to release its results consisting of 2,065 large commercial properties. This report is part of New York’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which focuses on energy efficiency in the city’s commercial buildings. According to EnvironmentalLeader.com, this plan consists of four different regulations, one of which is Local Law 84 requiring commercial buildings to benchmark their water and energy use. The data collected also goes towards the PlaNYC goal of reducing citywide carbon emissions.
This is the first time any city, state or county has released this kind of information, and I’m taking it as a step in the right direction. The report contains interesting information which may have us rethinking the types of spaces that should focus on energy efficiency.
The data displays information on energy usage per square foot, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage per square foot, and more. The New York City Local Law 84 Benchmarking report shows that large buildings are responsible for 45 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions. By monitoring energy use, that number can be reduced.
So what can we take away from this? New York is beginning to realize that it is crucial to improve existing buildings, not just new ones. Energy modeling can have a hand in improving both. While the larger buildings typically have more financial resources to take on energy upgrades, modeling can assist smaller buildings for a fairly low cost, allowing building owners to hone in on specific factors and improvements such as ventilation, solar heat gain and even building envelope.
Focusing on these structures will have a large impact on the city according to the New York City Local Law 84 Benchmarking Report, which states that if all inefficient large buildings were brought up just to the median energy use intensity in their category, NYC inhabitants would reduce their energy consumption by 18 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. And that’s just by doing the minimum!