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This local law requires all buildings on the Covered Building List (those larger than 50,000 square feet) to go through an annual benchmarking process. Water and energy usage must be measured, recorded, and submitted to the City by May 1st each year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) provides a free online benchmarking tool, Portfolio Manager, to take the measurements. This law was enacted in an effort to make building owners more aware of their energy usage and allow them to compare their usage with that of similar buildings, to encourage the most cost effective and energy efficient practices.

A revised version of the law was enacted in 2016, requiring buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to benchmark annually beginning in 2018.

To support building owners, the City has established the NYC Benchmarking Help Center. For more information about the Benchmarking Law, you can write to them at or call 212-566-5584.

Year 1 Report
Data submitted in 2011 revealed that large buildings in New York City are in line with Northeast averages but use less energy than national averages.  Energy intensity in residential buildings varies little by borough, but the most energy-intensive buildings tend to be located in the poorest and wealthiest neighborhoods.  

The majority of the residential sector uses fossil fuels for heat and hot water, and was found to contribute 60% of all carbon emissions from large buildings. More energy-intensive residences correlate with higher asthma rates in the surrounding neighborhood. 

Year 2 Report

Similar findings were drawn from 2012 submissions.  The report also found no conclusive substantial difference between subsidized and unsubsidized housing, suggesting that publicly-assisted housing status has no bearing on the energy efficiency of large multifamily properties.  

Year 3 Report

The 2013 submissions were the first year to look at water use as well. In addition, the data showed that Hurricane Sandy had a great impact on the energy availability (and thus usage) for a great many New Yorkers.

For more information, see "Related Resources" in the right-hand sidebar, or visit the PlaNYC website here.


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