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Lowering Carbon Emissions

In April of 2019, New York City passed legislation known as the Climate Mobilization Act. This legislation aims to tackle climate change by enforcing new regulations on NYC’s buildings (roughly 40,000 buildings in the city), accounting for two thirds of the city’s carbon emissions.

Local Law 33

Local Law 33, one piece of the Climate Mobilization Act, requires buildings over 25,000 square feet have a grade based on their latest annual energy benchmark data. To determine a buildings grade, utility providers working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created an online tool to calculate the total greenhouse gas emissions a building creates based on the energy usage of the building. 

A building’s grade (ranging from ‘A’ to ‘F’) is based on the previous year’s EnergyStar score.  If last year’s EnergyStar score was 90 or above, the building receives an ‘A’. Failure to comply results in an automatic grade of ‘F’.  The scores are based on the annual benchmark data collected from New York’s Benchmarking Law (Local Law 84 and 133).

According to Law 133: “buildings larger than 25,000 square feet must publicly disclose their energy consumption on an annual basis.” 

Building owners must then post their building score in a conspicuous location, near a public entrance. If businesses fail to comply, they may be subject to fines.  

A Stepped Approach

The Climate Mobilization Act has established requirements in a “stepped” approach over time, with emissions scoring starting in May, 2020. The new ‘grades’ will surely increase the interest of building owners to decrease energy consumption for buildings in their portfolio.  Some letter grades may be a surprise. Newer buildings, often perceived as inherently more efficient, can receive low grades. Older historic buildings sometimes receive higher grades, based on the efficiency of the building operation.  No building owner or operator wants to customers due to a perceived lack of concern over efficiency and sustainability.

Efficient Buildings Save Money

One important takeaway from the new legislation is that energy efficient buildings consume less energy, emit less greenhouse gases, are more sustainable, and cost less to operate.  In practice, building efficiency upgrades have paybacks in less than five years and, in some cases, as little as two years.  Most efficiency project costs have proven to be financed out of the savings from decreased energy usage.  By improving the sustainable footprint of your building, you can drive efficient operations (lower operating cost) that will leave a positive impact on your bottom line and increase the value of the property!  Plus, the letter grade by the door looks better.

Evolution Energy Partners, is a full-service Energy Management, Engineering and Consulting firm offering Best in Class Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, Procurement, and Analytical solutions.  For more information about the energy efficiency projects and cost savings through energy management contact Dailey Tipton dtipton@evolutionep.com or learn more about Evolution Energy Partners by clicking here.