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Local Law 33: Know Your Energy Efficiency Score, Get into Compliance

Local Law 33: Know Your Energy Efficiency Score, Get into Compliance


New York City keeps developing its building energy efficiency strategies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making the city a better place for everyone. This is the main purpose of the 4 Local Laws (Local Laws 84, 85, 87 and 88) passed under the famous Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). These laws require all building owners to carry out regular energy audits, retro-commissioning, reporting of energy and water usage, electricity submetering and lighting upgrades.

Improve your energy efficiency and get into compliance on local laws

Extending the energy efficiency policy, new legislation was enacted on January 8, 2018 - Local Law 33. According to this law, all residential and commercial buildings over 25.000 square feet will receive an energy efficiency letter grade. The law is based on the benchmarking program of NYC (LL 84) and the grades will be determined by taking into consideration a building’s energy benchmarking score assigned by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

The Essence of Local Law 33 and Why Is It Important?

To start with, here are some statistical data: about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC come from buildings and 90% of these buildings will still be there in 2050. This means that becoming energy efficient is of crucial importance for every building owner. Besides, it is also a matter of good and honorable reputation.

Every law passed by NYC municipality and directed at making the buildings more energy efficient stimulates all building owners without exception to have their contribution in the fight against global climate change and in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Local Law 33 makes things more transparent for everyone as the buildings will have to display their energy efficiency grades near their public entrances visible to everyone. Despite being passed in January 2018, the law will be enforced only in 2020 giving the building owners some time for improving their energy efficiency scores.

Building owners were already familiar with the benchmarking program under LL 84. However, it covered only buildings over 50.000 square feet. This new legislation, as already mentioned, reduces the lowest building size to a minimum of 25.000 square feet. Local Law 33 has made the grading system more stringent as well.

The grade should have two main components which are the Energy Star score of the building and the energy grade of the building. The Energy Star score ranges from 1 to 100 and is calculated according to the data provided by the building about its performance under LL84. The energy grade is generated in letters from A to F and will be based on the Energy Star Score.

It’s no news that the data collected under Local Law 84 was also publicly available. But there was an issue with public awareness - few people know that such data exists. Besides, it is represented too technically. Due to Local Law 33, this problem will be solved as everyone will be able to see the energy grade of the buildings. The grading system is as follows:

A: 90-100

B: 50-89

C: 20-49

D: 1-19

F: This means that the data submission hasn’t been carried out by the building.

N: There is also the N score indicating that the given building is either exempted from benchmarking or doesn’t fall under the coverage of Energy Star program. This grade is not displayed.

Local Law.NYCInitially, it was decided that only the letter grades are going to be displayed. However, it seemed unfair to some buildings which received the B grade but had, say, an Energy Star score of 89, while those with the Energy Star score of 50, also received the B grade. This made the performance efficiency of these buildings seem equal while in reality there’s a huge difference. In order to address this issue, the NYC Urban Green Council decided that buildings should also have the Energy Star scores displayed so as to make things clear and fair for everyone.

It should be also mentioned that the minimum score for getting an Energy Star certification is 75. Accordingly, many buildings can be Energy Star certified but get a B score under LL33. Getting an energy grade of A is quite a challenge for buildings but due to this and the other challenges set by LL33, buildings start paying more attention to their energy efficiency and Energy Star scores.

Note: Buildings will be required to submit their energy performance data each year starting from 2020 using the benchmarking system. As a result, they will receive the energy grade and put it on display.

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How to Comply with Local Law 33?

The simplest way to meet the requirements of Local Law 33 is to become as energy efficient as possible. As a building owner, you shouldn’t take energy efficiency as something required by law and forced upon you. Rather, consider it as a type of business strategy that will eventually reduce your energy costs paying you back this way.

The law is the stimulating factor so that all the covered buildings without exception become energy efficient which is beneficial for both parties. Above all, you will be able to contribute to having a cleaner and greener city and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is how to comply with Local Law 33:

  • Gather all the required data of your building’s energy performance of the previous year starting from 2020.

  • Based on this data, your energy grade will be determined.

  • Display the energy grade together with the energy efficiency score in a conspicuous place close to your building’s entrance, visible to everyone. This should be done within 30 days after receiving the grade.

You can take measures to become energy efficient and to increase your energy grades. There are many easy ways of making your building more energy efficient:

  • Realization of professional energy audits

  • Upgrading to LED lighting

  • Engage your tenants and encourage them to take ahold of energy efficient strategies

  • Make use of Energy-Star qualified appliances

These are only a few examples of how you can have a more energy efficient building. Taking these measures you will not only increase your energy grade and comply with LL33 but will also be able to reduce the overall operating costs of your building.

A couple of quick tips on how to be more prepared for meeting the requirements of Local Law 33:

  1. Work with an Efficiency Advisor in order to have a more precise and correct benchmarking data.

  2. An advisor will also help you have an approximate prediction of your future energy grade according to your current Energy Star score.

How Can Phoenix Help You?

As a building owner, you might not have much knowledge about the delicate details regarding the Local Laws and the ways you should comply with them. Especially if your building is going through this process for the first time, you will need a professional energy auditor to guide you through it all. An energy auditor will save your time and provide you with the benefit of meeting the Local Law requirements properly and on time.

If you are having a hard time trying to find quality energy auditing services then we are here to help you. Having years of expertise and a team of highly-qualified specialists, Phoenix Energy Group will help you solve your building’s energy issues as well as will make it easier to comply with the Local Laws of NYC. Trusting Phoenix, you will be able to make use of the following services that lead to the improvement of your building’s performance:

  • Provision of local energy management services to address your energy usage issues.

  • Identification of all the possible energy efficiency opportunities.

  • Finding rebates and incentives for covering the required costs.

  • Selection of the best energy supply option.

  • Energy usage benchmarking.

  • Selection of the right contractor for project assessment.

  • Management and consistent follow-up of the whole workflow process.

  • Help in leasing your unused spaces such as the rooftop for increasing the operational cash flow from your building.

  • Availability of energy management specialists for outsourcing all your energy-related needs.

  • Provision of energy procurement solutions for controlling and predicting your energy costs and becoming immune against the seasons when energy costs increase.

Phoenix Energy knows how to help your building become energy efficient and meet the requirements of the Local Laws in the best way.

As a building owner, you can have a huge environmental impact and make the world a cleaner, greener place. Every little investment and contribution in this mission counts!

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