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Showcasing the Big Apple’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

New York City has received the inaugural World Green Building Council’s Government Leadership Award in “Industry Transformation” for its “Greener, Greater Buildings Plan” on building energy efficiency.  The program targets the largest buildings that generate 45 percent of all citywide carbon emissions.  When all is said and done, the program is expected to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent and provide substantial savings on energy expenditures.

The City also released its first report on the baseline energy efficiency of its own buildings. Since 2009, the City has energy benchmarked 2,730 buildings, including libraries, police stations, firehouses, schools, courthouses, health, community centers, family centers, and government offices. As it turns out, NYC government’s municipal buildings fall on both ends of the energy-efficiency spectrum and everywhere in between. With the benchmarking information, the City will be able to identify which buildings to target for greater energy savings.

Enacted in 2009, the “Greener Greater Buildings Plan” is regarded as one of the most comprehensive building energy efficiency policy nationwide, say energy efficiency experts. The policy features energy benchmarking as a standardized way to measure and rate the energy performance of a building and compare it to other buildings.

Supporters say that benchmarking gives building owners and operators a method for improving and tracking energy efficiency. This method is being used for 26,000 of the city’s largest privately owned buildings, and was recently completed for nearly 3,000 public buildings. Seattle, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Austin are also on the list of benchmarking cities, plus the states of California and Washington.

Results of the City’s benchmarking efforts for municipal buildings are detailed in the recently released “NYC Benchmarking Report.” Here are some of the report highlights:

  • Since 2009, the City has benchmarked 2,730 buildings.
  • City buildings fall in the middle of the road on energy efficiency.
  • Benchmarking has played a key role in the selection of audit and retrofit projects in City buildings.
  • Improving operations and maintenance through benchmarking in city buildings is expected to reduce citywide energy usage 10-15 percent per year resulting in savings of at least $51 million and 185,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.


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is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.


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