Earlier this month the folks in Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability released a first of its kind report on the energy and water use of larger buildings in New York City. The benchmarking report is the result of Local Law 84, which was enacted in 2009 as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. The legislation requires all privately-owned buildings over 50,000 square feet, or multiple buildings with a combined square footage of 100,000 square feet, to measure and report their energy and water use annually.
According to the city, the law achieved a first year compliance rate of 75% (there are escalating fines attached to non-compliance), adding: “New York now has energy use data on more than 15,000 large buildings amounting to 1.7 billion square feet—an area larger than the total square footage of San Francisco and Boston combined.” Last week I talked to Laurie Kerr, a principal author of the report and the deputy director of energy in the Mayor’s office, about the benchmarking initiative:
Martin C. Pedersen: Local Law 84 doesn’t require building owners to reduce energy use. It merely mandates that they file energy reports with the city. If the ultimate goal is drastically reducing the city’s energy use, what’s the purpose of benchmarking?
Laurie Kerr: The benchmarking law is just one of four laws that address energy use in existing buildings. (Our report describes the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan in some detail.) The other laws include requirements that will directly reduce energy. We think that benchmarking will indirectly reduce energy use through the power of information to influence change. Once building owners and managers find out which properties are inefficient, many of them will be motivated to improve their performance. And because the data will be public, New York will be better able to market its energy efficiency programs to address the inefficient buildings, many of which will be able to make improvements without major capital expense.
Considered by some to be a nuisance tree, Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), which grows across most of the US, may be an important resource in the near future; it could be the sustainable replacement to rainforest hardwoods.
Black Locust Tree, Sour…