News Brief

Tenant Submetering Now Mandatory in New York City

Local Law 88 requires submetering and lighting upgrades for large non-residential buildings.

Electrical meters will be required for every commercial tenant space, not just building wide.

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Building owners in New York City are now required to submeter all tenant spaces and upgrade all lighting as part of the city’s ongoing streak of innovative energy laws.

Enacted in 2009 as part of the Greener, Greater, Buildings Plan (GGBP) signed by former mayor Michael Bloomberg, Local Law 88 requires all non-residential buildings over 50,000 ft2 to install electrical submeters for each large non-residential tenant space and provide tenants with monthly energy statements.

The law also requires upgrading lighting to meet current New York City Energy Conservation Code standards by 2025. That date factors in the length of most leases, at 10 years, addressing the issue now as lease negotiations take place for the period when upgrades will need to happen.

Bonnie Hagen, chief operating officer at Bright Energy Services, explained to BuildingGreen that buildings with a master meter are all too common—so tenants that leave the lights on all night pay the same as those that are more conscious of energy consumption.

Building owners generally make a profit despite the flat rates they charge—another disincentive to savings. The flat-rate energy model is under consideration for its negative impact on energy accountability, but for now, submetering will be the first step.

It’s unclear how much will the reforms will cost. Hagen believes NYC companies will come up with creative submetering packages to sell building owners. The lighting upgrades Hagen calls “low-hanging fruit,” with “minimal construction required.” The results are also easy to see in the next month’s energy bill. Strengthening the electrical grid is far more expensive than reducing energy consumption, says Hagen, who adds that NYC’s grid needs all the support it can get.

Other key initiatives passed along with Law 88 as part of GGBP include Local Law 84, which mandated the city’s first benchmarking efforts, and Local law 87, which requires large buildings to conduct an energy audit and retro-commissioning every ten years.

More on energy management in New York City

Energy Data for NYC Buildings Released

Energy Reporting: It’s the Law

NYC Reshapes its “DNA” with Building Code Revisions

For more information:

Urban Green Council

Published August 14, 2015

Fichman, A. (2015, August 14). Tenant Submetering Now Mandatory in New York City . Retrieved from

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