NYC’s Local Law 84

Reza Amirkhalili
New legislation places NYC at the forefront of municipal efforts to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings. Local Law 84, the Energy Benchmarking law, is the one that everybody’s talking about right now.

Local Law 84 aims to improve the energy (electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, steam) and water efficiency of New York City’s largest existing buildings.

All eligible property owners must comply with Local Law 84’s requirement to report on (“benchmark”) the annual energy and water use of their buildings.

How to report?

This is achieved through an online tool called Portfolio Manager, maintained by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Once the initial data is in Portfolio Manager, the tool allows you to streamline a building or property portfolio’s energy and water data, tracking key consumption areas, performance and cost information.

The Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability will publish the data online so buildings can compare their energy use with themselves over time and with other buildings of similar size and type.

Who does the new legislation apply to?

  • residential and commercial buildings larger than 50,000 gross square feet
  • two or more buildings on the same tax lot totaling more than 100,000 gross square feet
  • two or more buildings held in condominium ownership and governed by the same Board of Directors, totaling more than 100,000 gross square feet

For the vast majority of owners, this is totally new. The state has announced an initial $500 fine for properties that fail to file by August 1 and additional fines of $500 per quarter for further violations.

Whose responsibility?

  • owner
  • managing body
  • commercial tenant


Local Law 84 creates an opportunity to adopt a proactive approach to improving a building’s energy efficiency.

Benchmarking enables an accurate picture of energy and water consumption, to compare these controllable operating expenses with similar buildings and to plan for better future performance. With superior energy performance, a building could achieve an Energy Star rating.

The visibility of the published data will benefit the real estate market in the future. Buyers, tenants, banks and owners will be able to identify a building’s efficiency and the associated cost implications. The rating also contributes to the overall picture of a building's financial health and quality of management.

Analysis and evaluation of energy and water consumption is always a prudent step for any owner, irrespective of legislative requirements. Significant financial benefits can be achieved from relatively easy, low-cost changes, such as retro-fitting light fixtures, installing insulation or recalibrating major mechanical/energy consuming components.

Professional support     

Faithful+Gould has global experience of cost-effective sustainability in the built environment. Our benchmarking expertise can assist all clients nationwide. In NYC we can act as benchmarking administrator, inputting data on clients’ behalf and electronically submitting all results to the City. We are also strongly positioned to help clients in all locations, to audit and improve their overall energy usage.