News Analysis

Energy Use, Carbon Emissions Down in NYC Buildings

New York’s benchmarking law has created a treasure trove of data on energy and water use in large buildings. Researchers are unpacking it and discovering noteworthy trends.

November 6, 2017

Surprisingly few people realize that they can look up the actual energy use of almost any large building in New York City, but it’s true. The City’s Local Law 84 has required owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to report on their energy use since 2010. It has expanded the program in various ways since then, and it makes all the data available in a slick online tool. For those who want to do their own number-crunching, the City also posts all the data in spreadsheets.

Using these data, individuals can check up on the buildings where they live and work, designers can see how their buildings are actually performing, and real estate professionals can check on properties they’re interested in buying or leasing. The most active users of these data are policy-makers however, such as those responsible for implementing the City’s “80 x 50” goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.