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Energy Requirements Expand

The Department of Buildings released three Local Laws changing key definitions that broaden the types of buildings required to benchmark, upgrade lighting and install sub-meters. These Local Laws amend the Administrative Code to redefine covered buildings, city buildings and covered tenant spaces.

Lighting Upgrades

The city clearly seeks to expand required energy efficient lighting systems. Local Law 88 of 2009 mandated “covered buildings” to upgrade their lighting controls, tandem wiring, exit signs, interior lighting power requirements and exterior lighting by January 1, 2025. Administrative Code Section 28-310.2 defined covered buildings as any building exceeding 50,000 gross square feet. New Local Law 134 of 2016 redefines “covered buildings” to those 25,000 gross square feet or more.

There are some key exemptions to the lighting upgrade including covered buildings in occupancy groups R-2, R-3, A-3 or any compliant lighting system installed after July 1, 2010.


Benchmarking requires building owners of covered buildings to file an annual report summarizing usage of water, electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and more. Benchmarking reports for covered buildings must be filed by May 1st of each year. Building owners are responsible for attaining benchmarking information from utility companies or tenants. The Department of Buildings issues violations to owners who do not submit a benchmarking report or submit substantially inaccurate reports. However, buildings under 50,000 gross square feet are exempt from violations.

New Local Law 133 of 2016 amends ADC 28-309.2 by changing the definition of “covered building” and “city building.” The law amends the gross square footage of covered buildings the same way as in the law about lighting upgrades, from 50,000 or more to 25,000 square feet. The definition of city buildings is also amended to include city owned buildings 25,000 gross square feet or more that also participate in the HPD program (down from 50,000).


By January 1, 2025 electrical consumption in qualifying buildings and units must be measured by one or more sub-meter. Qualifying buildings include “covered buildings” and “covered tenant spaces.”

Local Law 132 of 2016 further encourages the use of sub-meters by redefining “covered building” and “covered tenant space.” Covered buildings are redefined here to include buildings with 25,000 gross square feet or more (down from 50,000). Covered tenant spaces now encompass tenant spaces larger than 5,000 feet (down from 10,000). Spaces in groups R-2 and R-3 are exempt from sub-metering. Owners must file reports by January 1, 2025 proving they have installed the sub-meters.

The three Local Law demonstrate the Department of Building’s commitment to curtail energy usage on behalf of the city’s largest buildings.

Need clarification on the energy code? Have a project that needs code consultation or expediting? Contact Outsource Consultants here.