A Fresh Set of Grades Measures Energy Use in Residential Buildings

A Fresh Set of Grades Measures Energy Use in Residential Buildings

In its waning days, Mayor Bloomberg’s administration is issuing grades to rate the energy use of the city’s largest residential buildings.  Officials have released energy consumption data for large multifamily buildings, allowing residents to find out how their co-ops, condos and rental buildings compare with similar structures.

It was the first time any city in the country publicized such data, environmental groups said, and will be one of the most prominent legacies of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s environmental agenda. The city has been tracking energy use among its largest buildings under a 2009 law intended to help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, an issue that acquired added urgency after Hurricane Sandy.

The heating and cooling of buildings produces three-fourths of the city’s emissions contributing to global warming and sea level rise, city officials said; the 2009 law applies to the biggest energy consumers, buildings of more than 50,000 square feet and multiple-building properties with a total of more than 100,000 square feet.

Annual results for the city’s large office and government buildings have been released since 2011, using the scores under the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. Residential buildings are not yet rated under that program, so city officials are using letter grades, just as they do with restaurants, to encourage improvements and to guide consumer decisions.

“The benefit is a more informed marketplace,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation, a nonprofit group in Washington that promotes building energy efficiency and advises the city on its rating efforts.


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