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PR- 192-10
May 2, 2010


Benchmark Readings Provide Baseline Support to Achieve the PlaNYC Goal to Reduce City Government's Energy Consumption 30% by 2017

Fulfills Key Requirement of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Martha K. Hirst today announced the completion of the energy benchmarking of 2,790 City buildings, which includes every City-owned building over 10,000 square feet. This represents one of the largest groups of buildings ever benchmarked. The benchmarking process provides a detailed understanding of building energy use that allows energy efficiency efforts to be targeted for the greatest impact. This benchmarking milestone is a requirement of the landmark Greener Greater Buildings Plan, passed by the City Council and signed into law by the Mayor last year. Under the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan laws, privately-owned buildings over 50,000 square feet are also required to be benchmarked by May 1, 2011.  The benchmarking will help achieve the PlaNYC goal of reducing carbon emissions from City government operations by 30 percent by 2017. PlaNYC is the City’s long-term vision to create a greener, greater New York by the year 2030.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and benchmarking the City’s buildings lets us determine where energy costs can be reduced,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Understanding the consumption across the City’s portfolio is a critical component of meeting our goal of reducing City government carbon emissions 30 percent by 2017.  As the largest building owner in the country’s largest city, we can serve as a model for all building owners—particularly those required to benchmark next year.” 

“I’m thrilled that we now have benchmarking data available to help us make strategic investments across our building portfolio to achieve our energy efficiency goals,” said Commissioner Hirst. “As we continue to target buildings for comprehensive energy audits, new retrofit projects, and simple improvements in routine maintenance, this data will show us where we can achieve the greatest gains for every dollar spent,”

“In passing the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, New York City enacted the most comprehensive green building legislation in the country,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “Today’s milestone shows that we practice what we preach—and that complying with the benchmarking law should be straightforward and useful for all building owners.”

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), working with 28 separate City agencies, began the benchmarking project for City-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet in May 2009. The benchmarking was performed using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Energy Star Portfolio Manager” benchmarking tool. The tool is used in most professional energy audits and is a pre-requisite for the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating for existing buildings.

The benchmarked buildings include libraries, police stations, firehouses, schools, courthouses, health, community, and family centers, and government offices. DCAS gathered data for 1,522 buildings, adding to an earlier initiative to benchmark the Department of Education’s 1,268 schools. Benchmarking measures the total electricity, natural gas, steam, and fuel oil consumed in a building and adjusts for other factors – building type, year of construction, number of workers, gross square footage, and other operational data – so that the City can understand which facilities are operating inefficiently.  This will allow the City to prioritize buildings for energy efficiency investments, and monitor building performance over time.

Following the 2007 release of PlaNYC, DCAS’s Division of Energy Management was designated the lead in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from City government operations and buildings.  Other related efforts include the development of a building metering and monitoring strategy to obtain and monitor real-time energy consumption data, the roll-out of a strategy to encourage energy efficient building operations and preventative maintenance, continued participation in peak load management programs, and implementation of comprehensive energy audits and retrofits.  

To date, DCAS’s Division of Energy Management has completed 84 retrofit projects with 145 planned projects in the pipeline. Together these projects will save over 87,950 metric tons of greenhouse gas from being emitted.

The City is expected to break even on its energy efficiency investments in 2013 on an annual cash flow basis, and by fiscal year 2015 it is projected that the City will have saved more on its energy bills than it has spent on all the planned investments to that point. To meet its 30 percent reduction goal by 2017, the City must produce 1.68 million fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) annually versus 2006 levels.

Case Study: 100 Gold Street

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services is currently implementing a comprehensive set of energy efficiency measures at 100 Gold Street, an office building that houses various City agencies, including the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  Using energy data from the past two years of operations, 100 Gold received a benchmarking score that demonstrated that there is great opportunity to improve its energy performance and making it a prime candidate for energy efficiency investments. 

The retrofit project includes modifications of controls, upgrades to the Building Management System, lighting upgrades, replacement of cooling towers and fourteen computer room air conditioners, and the installation of energy efficient motors. The reduced energy consumption will result in a total annual reduction of 775 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which equates to almost $183,456 in reduced operating costs annually. The retrofit design is underway and construction on the project is expected to begin in July 2011.  In addition, DCAS is working to improve the energy efficiency of building operations and foster preventative maintenance to further reduce energy consumption and waste.

The energy efficiency measures for 100 Gold Street are being funded by Recovery Act money allocated to the City, part of the $80.9 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant managed by DCAS.  The results of the benchmarking will help prioritize other buildings that offer the best opportunities for energy efficiency measures and for improved operations and maintenance practices that will save the City money on its utility bills as well as help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Mark Daly   (Citywide Administrative Services)
(212) 669-7140

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