One Problem with Local Law 84 for Apartment Buildings

NYC’s Local Law 84 requires that the energy usage of buildings over 50,000 SF be tracked and reported to the City on a yearly basis.  This includes tenant energy usage.  The requirement that tenant energy usage be reported may make sense for commercial buildings, but it does not seem to make sense for apartment buildings.

The typical arrangement for NYC apartment buildings is one in which each tenant/resident is metered and billed individually by Con Edison(and National Grid in some areas).  The owner or property manager has no way of knowing how much each apartment is using, so to comply with Local Law 84’s requirements, they need to obtain an “Aggregate Consumption Report” from Con Edison.  This report lumps all of the usage for the various apartments into one number for each of the last 24 months.

When it comes to apartment buildings, we have two main issues with the requirement that tenant usage be reported.   They are as follows:

It’s not useful to the owner.  There is very little that an apartment building  owner or manager can do to curb their tenant’s energy usage, and if there were, there is no financial benefit to the owner for doing so.  Yes I’ve heard the argument “Oh you can attract tenants at potentially higher rents if you can show them that they will spend less on energy than they would in another apartment.”  That’s a commercial building argument, not an apartment building argument.   In most of the buildings we deal with, the tenant provides all of their own lighting.  They purchase their own air conditioning units.  They have gas stoves, which account for an almost negligible amount of therms and cost each month.  The amount of energy they use has solely to do with their choices, purchases, and habits.

This is the reason that NYC’s Local Law 87 energy audit and retro-commissioning requirement mostly excludes individual apartments from the scope of work.   There is an acknowledgement in Local Law 87 that tenant/resident energy usage is outside an owner’s control.  There is unfortunately no such acknowledgement in Local Law 84.

It adds an extra cost and headache.  Con Edison charges $102.50 for the aggregate report.  In the case where a property might have multiple buildings on one lot, Con Edison charges $102.50 for each building on the lot.  We charge $299 per building for benchmarking and we’ve seen situations where the Con Edison fees add up to more than the cost our service.  Additionally, as one of the leading Local Law 84 benchmarking providers, we spend MOST of our time dealing with Con Edison and their aggregate consumption reports.  Sometimes Con Edison only sends half of the data for a particular building because there are additional service addresses on file.  These are additional service addresses that the owners don’t even know exist.     Each year we request data from Con Edison for over 700 buildings which means means having to keep up to date records of service addresses, account numbers, letters of authorization, etc.

When it comes to apartment buildings, we at Redocs fail to see the basis for Local Law 84’s requirement that an apartment building’s tenant usage be reported.

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