Complying with LL84: Part Two – Benchmarking on your own

April 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

The Network has been looking into what it takes to comply with Local Law 84, a new NYC regulation requiring owners to benchmark their buildings that are over 50,000 square feet. Benchmarking is a great way to learn more about your building and alert you to energy waste, but the process can be complex. View our previous coverage of LL84 , or read on to learn the basics of complying with the law without using a consultant – how to determine whether you have the capacity to comply in-house, what challenges you  might run into and what trainings and resources exist to help you along the way.

Part Two: Benchmarking on your own

The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan specifies that benchmarking must be done using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager, an online tool that lets owners fill in information about their buildings – including utility bill data and characteristics of the building. To comply with LL84, you must access the Portfolio Manager tool through a special portal from the NYC Department of Buildings website. That way, the submitted building information will be forwarded to the City for compliance. You will also be sent a report based on your building utility usage and characteristics; the report will “normalize” your building’s energy use to account for its size and climate.

To determine if your building or agency has the capacity do the benchmarking on its own, the staff member who will handle the project should familiarize themselves with the program as soon as possible. There are a number of ways to do this, through online or in-person trainings (see a list of trainings and resources, below).

Once a building or agency has decided whether it is possible and ideal to complete benchmarking in-house, it is crucial to allow as much time for the process as possible, as it can be lengthy and complicated. For instance, if your building is sub-metered, ideally you should obtain data from Con Edison on individual tenant electricity consumption, which can take 15 business days or more. (Alternatively, for the first year, the city will accept preset default electricity consumption numbers, but doing this will give you less information about your building.) Another reason to give yourself plenty of time is that navigating the benchmarking tool can be confusing. New York City chose Portfolio Manager, a nationally utilized EPA program, as its benchmarking software tool for LL84. However, since Portfolio Manager was not designed for LL84 compliance, there are additional requirements specific to NYC’s law (see Part 3: Issues to consider when benchmarking on your own). Understanding these rules, and figuring out how to use the software, will likely take time.

Trainings and resources for benchmarking on your own

EPA Portfolio Manager Webinars

The U.S. EPA, which runs Portfolio Manager, holds periodic webinars to introduce users to the benchmarking tool. Look on their Webinar Calendar for events that reference benchmarking and Portfolio Manager in their names. The upcoming Portfolio Manager webinars are not specific to NYC’s LL84, and are often tailored toward other audiences, but they give the basics for using the program.

New York City’s Presentation on Submitting Benchmarking Results

You can view a presentation (pdf, 702 KB) from the NYC Department of Buildings and PlaNYC about how to submit your benchmarking results through Portfolio Manager.

Urban Green Council’s LL84 Compliance Checklist and User’s Guide

New York City’s Urban Green Council has put together a very helpful, step-by-step guide to complying with the benchmarking law. This is a good way to get an overview of the process and the steps you will need to take.

The Association for Energy Affordability’s Benchmarking Training

The Association for Energy Affordability (AEA) offers a 3.5 hour course (cost: $50) on how to use Portfolio Manager to comply with LL84. This is a good way to get comfortable with using the online tool, and it also offers the opportunity to ask questions about compliance with the law. View AEA’s course flier or sign up here.

Keep an eye out for Part Three of our series: Issues to consider when benchmarking on your own

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Benchmarking your Multi-family Building Complying with LL84: Part Three – Issues to consider when complying on your own

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