The ABCs of Energy Grades, written by EN-POWER GROUP’s Director of Energy Management Thomas Morrisson, was featured in Habitat’s March 2020 Issue.

“Energy benchmarking, as mandated by Local Law 84 and 133, requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, including co-ops and condominiums, to submit their annual energy and water usage to the city using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. One of the results of the submission is a calculated score, known as an Energy Star score.

… The Energy Star score is also the basis for your building’s energy letter grade, which the city will begin awarding later this year. Based on your building’s energy use and corresponding Energy Star score, the city has created a grading system that translates the Energy Star scores into letter grades as follows:

  • 85 to 100: Grade A
  • 70 to 84: Grade B
  • 55 to 69: Grade C
  • 1 to 54: Grade D
  • Failure to Comply with Local Law 84: Grade F

… The letter grades are intended to motivate building owners and managers to cut their energy use and thus improve their grade. An A grade presumably will attract potential buyers and renters to a given building, while a C, D, or F grade will lower the building’s appeal.

… It’s simple: to improve a building’s letter grade, a co-op or condo board must reduce energy use. The typical first step in the process is to hire an engineering consultant to conduct a comprehensive energy audit. One of the primary goals of an audit is to identify potential energy-conservation measures, such as upgrading lighting, HVAC and building controls. Another goal is to identify operational deficiencies and low- or no-cost improvements that will result in reduced energy consumption. This is typically covered during retro-commissioning, the process of ensuring that the
energy systems in an existing building are installed according to the design intentions, are functionally tested, and are capable of being properly operated and maintained. The final goal of an audit is to develop a capital plan to implement retro-commissioning and energy conservation measures. The capital plan should be based on the cost of improvements, the potential energy savings and carbon-emission reductions, and the comfort and safety of residents.”


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