City-wide energy use per building is on the decline, according to the third annual New York City benchmarking report.
Covering the energy consumption of the city’s largest properties in 2012, the fall 2014 report notes a significant change in energy data from the previous two years. The variance is at least partially attributable to outside factors, including the widespread outages, electrical and mechanical damage, and losses incurred during Hurricane Sandy.
However, the 2012 data does validate the success of NYC Clean Heat, a city program seeking to eliminate the use of heavy fuel oil. The initiative accelerated fuel oil conversions in buildings affected by the ban “well in advance of the actual deadlines,” helping to dramatically reduce particulate matter measurements, the study observes.
The third year of reporting also saw an increase in compliance – 84%, compared to 75% in the previous two years, with 92% of the compliant building owners from the second year continuing to comply this time. This is likely due to increasing familiarity with the benchmarking requirements and ongoing efforts by utilities to streamline aggregated data requests, the study predicts. Manhattan again had the highest percentage of compliant buildings, with 87% of its 5,705 eligible buildings filing the required information; Staten Island had the lowest compliance for the third year in a row with just 67% of its 220 buildings participating. This year’s data was collected from 20,320 private sector buildings covering 2.3 billion square feet and 3,097 public ones covering 281 million square feet.
The benchmarking law also requires water consumption for properties equipped with an automated meter reading (AMR) device for a full calendar year – in 2012, this included 5,385 properties, roughly 40% of all that were covered. There is not yet enough data to compare New York City’s water use to previous years. However, comparisons with the water data set from the EPA’s Portfolio Manager reveal that the city’s median water use intensity ratings tend to be higher than the national average, with the exception of hotels.
Future reports will include expanded building information courtesy of Local Law 87, which mandates periodic energy audits and retrocommissioning reports for buildings over 50,000 square feet. These reports, intended to shed more light on energy consumption and highlight efficiency opportunities, are required every 10 years. Additionally, Local Law 88 requires large commercial building owners to install submeters in non-residential tenant space, which will generate more data and grant greater control over energy use and costs to tenants.