NYC buildings are getting energy efficiency grades

Owners of properties larger than 25K sf must post letter grades — similar to those on restaurant windows


At the end of this month, the owners of tens of thousands of buildings in New York City will be required to post a letter grade based on their properties’ energy efficiency.

All buildings larger than 25,000 square feet must post a letter grade based on a federal rating system by Oct. 31. The grades — similar to those posted on restaurant windows — are based on an Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star tool, which provides buildings with a score of one to 100 based on energy consumption.

Owners were able to start printing out and displaying their letter grades on Thursday.

In a statement, DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said the system “will provide a new level of transparency for building energy emissions.”

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“The public has a right to know which large buildings are taking their commitment to sustainability seriously,” she said.

The requirement was part of a package of bills known as the Climate Mobilization Act, which was approved in April 2019. Another measure, Local Law 97, calls for a 40 percent reduction in citywide greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Various aspects of the CMA, including the grading system, have been criticized by real estate professionals for failing to take into account the number of people working in a building.

“It’s not a helpful indicator and it is actually quite confusing for people,” said Durst Organization’s Jordan Barowitz. “It is not an adequate reflection of the energy efficiency of the building.”

According to the DOB, the Durst Organization’s One Bryant Park, which attained LEED Platinum certification, scored a 41, which is a “D.”