This year, New York City became the first in the nation to publicize energy use for every one of its large private-sector commercial/multi-family buildings. Gathered through a mandatory benchmarking process, details on 2,065 buildings offer a better handle on how much energy these buildings are using, and how building energy efficiency could be improved.
Although other cities are close behind, this release of building energy use information is the largest ever of metered energy performance data from a city in the United States.
New York chose to go this route as a key part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC goal of reducing 2005 carbon emission numbers by 30% by 2030. Benchmarking this information annually will also allow companies offering energy-efficient upgrades and retrofitting services to pinpoint buildings most in need of help. New York City will also be able to examine the data and hand out rewards for buildings that improve performance. And, building owners will be able to compare energy consumption year over year.
The data shows that energy intensity varies widely among the same types of buildings; the worst-performing buildings use three to five times the energy per square foot as the best-performing buildings. If New York’s most energy-intensive large buildings lowered energy use to reach the mean energy-use levels of buildings in the report, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 9%. The benchmarking data also shows how energy use varies based on building age, location, size, fuel mix, etc.
Other interesting findings from the report:
- New York City’s buildings perform slightly better than the national average, with a median ENERGY STAR score of 64
- Newer office buildings use more energy per square foot than older ones
- Larger office buildings are more energy intensive than smaller buildings, but smaller multi-family buildings are more energy intensive than larger multi-family buildings
If you visit the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan website, you’ll find all the benchmarking data available to view. For each facility, the data includes:
- Site Energy Use Intensity (a measure of energy used at the site on a per-square-foot basis)
- Weather-Normalized Source Energy Use Intensity (takes into account generation and distribution losses)
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Water use per square foot
- ENERGY STAR scores for buildings where the ratings are applicable
To learn more about the data, and what New York City is doing to prepare for next year, check out the benchmarking report.
What do you think about what New York City is doing with its benchmarking data? Could your city benefit by doing something similar with its commercial building stock?