Complying with LL84: Part Five – Selecting a benchmarking compliance service

May 13, 2011 at 1:19 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.  View our previous coverage of LL84 , or read on for a list of questions you should ask when deciding on a company to help you comply with LL84.

Part Five:  Questions to consider when selecting a benchmarking compliance service

There are a number of companies that offer professional assistance to comply with LL84. Though they offer a wide variety of services, one common feature is that most companies view benchmarking as a first step on a long-term, necessary journey toward efficient buildings. Third-party assistance is an occasion to obtain expert opinion on your buildings’ performance, rather than an excuse to put the assignment in someone else’s hands and not be involved in the process.  (In addition, we suggest that wherever possible, supportive housing providers benchmark, track and evaluate energy usage in all of their buildings – not just those that are covered by LL84.)

As you speak with benchmarking providers, you should consider several questions:

Future benchmarking compliance and Portfolio Manager access

Benchmarking will be easier in future years because you will already have a Portfolio Manager account, and your building size and characteristics will already be recorded. Will you still want to work with a company to benchmark, or will you want to take over benchmarking on your own at this point? Ask whether the service gives you access to your Portfolio Manager account in the future.

Level of Guidance

Different services will provide different levels of assistance throughout the project, so if you have a complicated building, or if you think you might need help gathering your building information quickly, be sure to ask whether your provider will be able to help you with it. Also ask specifically how you can reach them and how soon they will get back to you.

Determining building size

Under LL84, you are required to report your building’s gross square footage, including sub-ground levels. This number differs from the number available on the NYC Department of Finance website, which represents the maximum square footage that could be built on the lot above ground. The correct number can be obtained from your building floor plans, if you have them, or by measuring the building footprint and multiplying by the number of floors, including basements and sub-basements. If you need help determining your building’s gross square footage, will the provider you choose advise you or help you to do it?

Post-benchmarking evaluation

Benchmarking gives you a snapshot of your building’s performance. If you are interested in improving your building and lowering your operation costs, ask whether and how the service provider will build on your benchmarking information to make recommendations about energy-saving measures. If you want to keep tracking your building energy (and water) use through online tools that draw automatically from your utility accounts, ask whether your benchmarker provides this service or can set you up with it.

 Check back soon for the final installment in our series on LL84 – a list of resources (many of which we have referenced throughout the series) that you may need as you navigate the waters of LL84 compliance.

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“Up on the Roof” workshop a success Upcoming events – May 13, 2011

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