In April, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Quinn announced the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan – a major package of legislation that seeks to address the greening of existing buildings. The legislation is intended to reduce energy consumption, minimize the City’s carbon footprint, save money for building owners/occupants, and create jobs.
It is a 6-point plan that includes 4 pieces of proposed legislation and 2 new programs under PlaNYC. The legislation will impact 22,000 buildings in NYC, totaling approximately 45% of the City’s floor area!
The 4 bills, described below, are expected to be approved this calendar year. Their impact cannot be overstated. While the requirements of the bills phase in over the next several years, it will surely take a great effort to educate all affected building owners. Surely, the move to green existing buildings is vital to a City that aims to lead on sustainability issues. How it will all shake out is not, however, easy to predict.
The goals of the bills are as follows:
Bill 973-A: Lighting Upgrades Bill
All buildings over 50,000 sf must:
1. On or prior to January 1, 2025, upgrade lighting systems with the standards for new systems in NYC Energy Conservation Code, and shall file a report with DOB prepared by a registered design professional certifying that such upgrade has been completed
2. On or prior to January 1, 2015, install electrical submeters for tenants; if tenant has more than one floor, each floor must have submeter; if one floor has several tenants, is permitted to only have one submeter for floor; each tenant must receive monthly statements of electrical usage
Bill 564-A: NYC Energy Conservation Code Bill
The NY State Energy Conservation Code of 2007 applies to new buildings and alterations of 50% or more of a building’s systems. The NYC Energy Conservation Code bill proposes to apply this more stringent energy conservation code to all alterations. This will close the loophole allowing many alterations to avoid meeting the greater energy efficiency requirements. The NYC ECC will be in effect January 1, 2010.
Bill 967-A: Energy Audits & Retro-Commission Bill
A bill requiring all buildings over 50,000 sf to perform energy audits and retro-commissioning on base building systems. Energy Efficiency Report is due once every ten years. Initial year is staggered based on block numbers, starting in 2013. For City buildings, capital improvements recommended in energy audit with a payback period of 7 years or less must be undertaken.
Energy Audit is defined as: a systematic process of identifying and developing modifications and improvements of the base building systems to optimize energy performance of the building
Retro-commissioning is defined as: a systematic process for optimizing the energy efficiency of existing base building systems through the identification and correction of deficiencies in such systems
Base building systems include: building envelope, HVAC, conveying systems, hot water systems, electrical and lighting systems
Bill 476-A: Benchmarking Bill
A bill required existing buildings over 50,000 sf to “benchmark” their buildings beginning May 1, 2011 and by the following May 1 annually thereafter. Benchmarking tracks energy and water use and assesses these measurements relative to similar buildings. EPA has a free, online Benchmarking Tool that is to be used. Information is to be provided to Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability.